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What do you want/not want in a bridle?

1209 Views 34 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  DollyandAya
Hey everyone! I'm looking into selling handmade leather english and barcoo bridles and just wondering what you like or don't like to see in a bridle, or just leather tack in general.
Thanks for your replies!
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To start with I had to look up "barcoo"!!

I prefer the english style bridle in general, perhaps habit but everything is adjustable and elegant. I'm not sure when things changed but you used to buy the basic bridle with no bit or noseband, although saddleries would sometimes do specials with usually a cavesson or sometimes a dropped noseband.

I really really hate this newish trend of all bridles being sold with a flash noseband, because everybody seems to think they need to use it. grrr

I like the look of (what you call) barcoo, or some variation on it but on the few occasions I have used one I've had issues with fit, some part usually doesn't, mostly the browband.

Good leather. Flat, maybe rounded browband (and matching cavesson - although I don't use one on Sonny). I can be sold on bling for the browband. Otherwise, plain & elegant.
So you wouldn't be turned off by a bridle with no noseband? I think they're a lot easier to make and also require less leather, but I thought people might not want them since they're not "normal".
I don't like flash nosebands either. From what I've heard a lot of people over tighten them to try to force a horse's mouth shut for better dressage scores, or just because they think that's what's done.
A Barcoo is very similar to an English bridle without a noseband, just with some design differences. That's interesting about them being hard to fit, I hadn't heard that before.
I was thinking about trying some bling on the brow band on my next bridle. It could be fun to design as well!
My horse likes stability and demands a well padded, wide, comfortable crownpiece (and it MUST be monocrown, she won't tolerate other types). Stiff leather offends her. I like a wide cavesson noseband for flatwork (nicely padded, no crank - this is IMPOSSIBLE to find alongside good quality leather without spending $1000 on a custom bridle) and because she has almost no white, I favour something with white padding or piping. It would be really nice to find one that fits her properly - the one I have now is close but not quite perfect.

For jumping, we use a figure eight. VERY few of them fit her well. She has a broad, but short head, and a lot of the time, they're either too long in the cheek strap, or too small around the jaw. The one we have now has no sheepskin (just a round, gel padded leather pad where it crosses over) and I LOVE that because it's easy to clean! But would really like that round leather pad to have some white padding to match the stitching. The sheepskin version has that, but sheepskin is a pain to clean.
I'll have to look into the padding. Would you know what it's made of?
Oh I I don't like bridles with nosebands at all. If I want a noseband or a hackamore or a rope halter under a bridle I choose what and where. Thank goodness Western bridles usually don't have built in nosebands.
It's strange how rare it is to see an english bridle without a noseband - I don't think people even think about them; they just think they're part of an english bridle, I guess.
I ride English, so when I think of bridles that's what I think of.

I like everything to be really adjustable and also removeable. I don't object to a noseband being included as long as it's removable. A noseband CAN serve a legitimate purpose, IMO (keep the bit from sliding around), and also I've been told that it's required for showing in most English classes. I took the noseband off Teddy's bridle back when I was still riding him, and he preferred that. I've also taken it off Rowan's bridle.

I'd like a bridle that could be used bitless or with a bit.

Me personally I prefer a contoured browband. I really wanted one for Rowan, but I had to buy his bridle in an XL size and they didn't have them available in that size.

If I were you I'd think about selling reins separately. I think all of the bridles I've bought have come with reins, which is great, but it's possible that the reins might break or something in your bridle might wear out, and you'd want to replace one but not the other. The bridle I bought for Rowan, I didn't need the reins (I had the ones from Teddy's bridle, which I took apart completely as he's not being ridden any more) and would have appreciated being able to pay less for a bridle that didn't come with them.
The only problem with taking the noseband off a bridle is that the brow band will then be loose. Not a hudlge problem, it can just be a bit annoying.
I was thinking contoured nosebands would be fun to make! They do waste a bit of leather, though.
I don't know how you'd make a bitless/bitted bridle - I'll have to look into that.
I wasn't thinking to make reins - not to go with a bridle, anyway. I think it's often cheaper bridles that will come with reins, whereas with the more expensive ones you'll buy them seperately. Not sure, though.
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Interesting. I don't like this one at all. I feel like that thin leather would cause pressure points, and TBH I don't really like it esthetically either.
If it's fitted correctly there shouldn't be any pressure points unless the noseband is done up tight. From an esthetic perspective, the noseband is very thin, though.
Nothing english.

I want a very simple headstall, preferable with one ear, or none at all. No browband. Just very simple.

In bridles, less is more, in my opinion.
I've never used a one ear bridle (or any Western bridle, actually) but I've heard a lot of people say they come off really easily?
An english bridle can actually be very simple - they will always have a brow band, but if you get rid of the noseband there's not much too them.
I agree with you about the flash bridles that are not removable. I like a bridle to have a removable flash in case I will need it for a specific horse. (I currently don't use the flash so it just sits in the bottom of my tack trunk.) I hope I will not need to use the flash but I know I will have it if needed.
Just wondering - what would you need the flash for? I think they're meant to be purely for looks.
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Good leather is paramount in what I want....keep the cheap junk elsewhere, leather strap goods is not where you cheap on quality.
Rubbed edges and a patina showing craftsmanship the leather glows not from cheap quality but burnishes that look of quality tanning and finishing took place.

I prefer square raised, half-round brow and caveson with and without contrast stitching to me just looks dirty and uncared for {yes I have 1 hence my comment about appearance but a gift is a gift.}
A plain flat brow and caveson can be very complimentary when not overwhelming a again width choices..
Not a fan of truly braided/plaited for the amount of dirt they hold, special, special care to clean and how those tiny straps so easily break...
Round, as in really round appearing bridle except on particular horse head is not complimentary, jmo.
Browbands with small amount of garnishing, tastefully done with stones, fine chain is/can be head enhancing...keep the gaudy heavier stuff away from me. Not allowed in some show rings without acquiring point demerits though.

What I wish was more readily available...
in several length choices. I hate seeing a bridle to tight across the ears and poll area.
Caveson also needs to have sizing choices so your half-round/square not stop so far under the cheekbone but brought more to the cheek pieces...
Bridle strap-keepers....the ones fixed usually just below the buckles are truly caught and stitched well so they not pull loose and "flap"...
Several extra loose keepers so when you clean and mis-place you can still have a slip-keeper that matches the bridle...maybe just 2 extra that match that bridles patina.
One of those pet-peeves of mine is loose straps ends flapping on any bridle.
Keeping this affordable is also a needed so many more can enjoy. I do not consider $250 and up affordable, nor of the quality those prices should be dictating.... Now when you hit the $400 - $500 hundred level it better be top-notch in appearance and quality....called truly custom strap work.

Find a way to design a flash bridle to not so easily display that loop needed for the flash strap...take the flash off and its like a giant zit gathering attention to me....ugly!
In a show-ring where flash is not permitted, it is such a deterrent to me if I was judging I would score lower knowing the use of it is done and that HUS/Equitation animal should not be seen with it on his bridle.
There is a time and place for equipment used....and a time & place where it should not..and then should not be "hey I'm here seen"....:cautious:

Find a good advertising agency for marketing your prospective offerings cause much of what is seen today that is the "have to have" just a well-fit bridle someone with advertising/marketing skills is proclaiming so much better than is a bunch of 💩 ....
A well fitting bridle offers all of what those marketing geniuses spout about...its called marketing and promotion paying names to be seen using...those names also get freebie products, they rarely purchase as "normal" equestrians do.
A ill-fit bridle is what has many spending $$ trying to figure out that if they just bought a bridle that truly fit the head first, they could of saved a lot of $$$$$...

Just some of my thoughts...
Thanks for the detailed reply!
As far as leather goes, I think the leather I get is the best quality available (from Leffler's - you probably wouldn't know them since they're an Australian brand). I'd hate to sell anything made from poor quality leather.
Multiple choices on browband length is a good idea.
Ouch. Running keepers are so much easier to make than fixed keepers! Oh well.
I wouldn't consider $200 and up affordable! Let's see - the leather for a bridle costs about $75 - buckles about $25 - $100 total. I wonder how much I could charge to make a decent profit, but still have reasonable prices?
I don't like flashes. They don't even look good, imo. It's a bit harsh to say you'd take away points if you saw a bridle that had had one, though - maybe the person who owner the horse had liked the bridle, but not the flash, and so took it off when they got it and never used it! 😀
If the rules state no flash allowed, then its not allowed on being used or seen on their tack.
When judging a class of entries and riders are very similar in points, it is things like this that can move you up or down in placing.

I bought a bridle I loved with a flash....removed the flash and carefully cut the loop off.
Now its what I like and use as a caveson bridle.
It was that simple to make the alteration.;)
Oh, so it's actually not allowed. I didn't know that. I guess I'm more used to showjumping rules that don't really care about that kind of thing 😄
Something funny I only just realised: my horse's bridle that came with her actually has a loop from a removed flash. I never knew what it was before, I just resumed it was part of the bridle!
Hmmm...ideally, I'd like good quality leather, possibly with good stitching. Wider leather preferred. But in reality, I don't think Bandit and I qualify for an opinion. If you leave the rope halter on underneath the bridle and your saddle was $380 new... 😉
As the others said. Anyone with a preference qualifies for an opinion!
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