I'm currently looking for a new dressage bridle and have had absolutely no luck at tack sales or on ebay. Probably because my budget is ridiculously small, but still! My current bridle is no longer show worthy as all of the black has rubbed off on the cheeks and throatlatch... I've looked at buying just a new crown piece with cheeks, but some of them run as much as a new bridle would!
My ideal budget is under $100. Then my other requirements are that it have a padded crown and buckle ends (no hook studs) and no crank. I might be willing to drop a requirement if it's the perfect bridle, because it is ridiculously hard to find any black bridle with all of these requirements. Obviously there's not a whole lot out there in this price range, but here's what I did find:
Plymouth Elite Dressage Bridle by Smartpak
This has the padded crown, buckle ends and no crank noseband. I think this is probably the best fit into my requirements of all the bridles, but I'm dragging my feet because I would prefer something even cheaper. Go figure, right?
Horze Diamond Bridle
$65.00 + shipping
This bridle also has it all (plus a pretty browband!) and it's the perfect price. But I'm slightly worried about leather quality. I have a browband by Horze that I love and it's held up beautifully, but I'm not sure what the whole bridle would be like...
Tekna Padded Dressage Bridle
$58.00 + shipping
I actually kind of like this option. It's not real leather but it sure does look like it and it would cut down on maintenance and the worry about leather quality, but I have no experience with Tekna - better than leather or worse? It's a pretty perfect price though.
On the slightly above my budget level, we have these:
Harwich Padded Dressage Bridle by Smartpak
This bridle has everything but the buckle ends, it has hook studs instead. But knowing Smartpak it's a beautiful bridle with really nice leather, so it might be worth it to splurge just a bit on this one.
Paris Tack Opulent Series Dressage Bridle
$109.00 + shipping
This bridle is on sale, so it's a plus that I get a more expensive bridle for less. I don't think it has the padded crown but it seems to have everything else, and I like the small touch of having the buckles be rounded instead of squared. I also like that the noseband is a little chunkier because I think it looks better on Jetta's long nose.
What would I buy if money was no option?
Antares Snaffle Bridle
I'm in love with this bridle. Well make that all Antares products, but anyways - this bridle has stunning leather, a wide padded crown, buckle ends (with the rounded buckles that I like so much), no crank and I love the subtle fancy stitching detail on the browband and noseband. Sigh... when I win the lottery some day!
So what would be your pick out of these bridles? What is your favorite dressage bridle that you've ever had? And what would you buy if money was no option?