Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dressage Fashion: Bridles

I love looking at the different kinds of bridles people choose, I'm all about the fashion :)

So, I thought I'd do a round up of different dressage bridle "fashions" and see what your take is on them!

 I'm really liking the patent leather bridle trend that I think is becoming more popular. I found this bridle on ebay and absolutely fell in love with it. It's a Schumacher patent bridle and has a pearl browband. I think black bridles go really well with any kind of bling, but pearls look very classy in my opinion.

I like the shine that patent leather has, though some bridles do tend to look a little plastic-y. But it makes cleaning them super easy!

This is another patent bridle that I like. Saddlery4U has a lot of interesting and unique bridle options in their ebay store, including a patent option. This one is midnight blue, but looks black from the pictures. I think it would look really nice on a chestnut or black horse, especially if your show coat was navy. I think this company makes the most affordable patent bridles, though I did find one in the new Dover catalog that is not too spendy either.

 Another option to go with for a little extra bling is of course, sparkles. I love my curved browband with large crystals. Just enough shine without overwhelming your poor horse. This bridle is not that. This would definitely wow anyone. I don't think I've ever seen a bridle in person that has sparkles on the browband and the noseband, especially in dressage! I think this would be really fun to ride in at home (how can you not love sparkles?!) but it might just be a tad bit overkill in the show arena... Just a little bit.

Yet another option is colored padding or piping on bridles. I think you could get away with piping - I've seen some pretty ones with gold, silver, navy or white piping and I thought it looked really nice. But for the most part I think the colored padding is best left for schooling bridles. Of course white is still somewhat popular, but I'm not such a fan of bridles with white padding.

And then here's a bridle that combines a lot of different fashions. You've got the patent leather (like) and the very sparkly browband (like) and then it has rolled leather. Now this trend I'm not such a fan of. I think it looks silly to have the cheeks be rolled leather and have the buckles be on the poll with wider leather. It just looks off, not to mention that I imagine it might be a pain to adjust the bridle when it's on the horse. I guess it makes sense if you have a horse with a small head and maybe with a double bridle, where all the cheek pieces and buckles might overwhelm them, but... I still don't like. That's just me though.

IMO, if possible, it looks worse off a horse's head than on it.

Then here's a bridle that I've never seen before (at least in black) that I really like. A black bridle with white contrasting stiching. It's very subtle and pretty. Probably not very noticeable until you're up really close, but I like it. Might be hard to keep it white instead of brown though... It reminds me a bit of the fancy stitching that Antares does on their snaffle bridle. Very understated, but a nice touch.

The problem with all of these above bridles is the difficulty of finding one in these fashions without a crank noseband. Geez! I really don't like cranks and I do have a bridle with one and it's nearly impossible for me to make it loose without flopping all over the place or looking funky and I don't want to tie my horse's mouth shut! So mostly it sits in the tack room :( At least with a flash bridle you can pull the flash off and it looks fine.

Then there's the browbands. There are so many different styles on this. So, do you like them, hate them? Personally I like the clear or AB crystal ones. I don't think you can go wrong with one of those! And then there's pearls. I really like those too. They're not as showy as crystals but still very elegant. I really liked the custom one that is on the first bridle above, but custom tends to be very spendy. Another option that I would choose is the Vespucci Petit pearl browband. Bridles with beading or jewels are popular as well, but for me they're just eh. I prefer the plain crystals for the most part. As for the shape of the browband, curved ones are becoming more popular and I for one really like them. It stems somewhat from my difficulty in finding a large enough browband for Jazz who had a large quarter horse head so she didn't always fit in horse sized browbands or halters because she had a broad forehead and large jowl. But curved ones always looked really nice and fit well too.

So what do you prefer? There's always a plain bridle, of course there's nothing wrong with that. But if you were looking for a little bling, what style is your favorite? Or would you avoid all of these styles like the plague?

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