Chloe on shopping for bridles
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Chloe Bernard, Commercial Director for online retailer Shadow Horse gives her advice for shopping and fitting bridles to the dressage market..
Always check the shops return policy, in case it doesn’t fit your horse and when checking a new bridle for fit, put the straps through the keepers, as oppose to using the buckles which could mark or damage the leather. When fitting a bridle, make sure you have an even contact and that the headpiece has minimal pressure, especially around the sensitive ear area. We’ve also noticed that opting for a shaped headpiece can sometimes cause more problems if it’s shape doesn’t suit the horse! So tread carefully here. The same goes for some padded bridles, too much padding and the wrong fit can all add up to an unhappy, uncomfortable horse.
Choosing a bridle which suits your horse’s head needs consideration. Don’t be dazzled by a bling browband (This can easily be changed) or added to a different brand of bridle, which actually fits your horse better. Choosing a wide noseband will make the face look shorter and a thinner noseband will add length. If your horse has a lot of white on his face or a wide blaze then choosing a noseband without White trim and opting for something plain is a better plan.
Be careful not to get carried away with ‘trends’. For example, if your horse is not used to wearing a crank noseband then stick with a standard flash. It should always be about your horse’s comfort than what looks better or what is in vogue. Remember that a horse which moves in self carriage will always look stunning no matter what bridle you put on, so choose comfort over fashion.
One of the more common problems which we see are horses which are between sizes, which is where our brand Silver Crown comes into it’s own with it’s ‘mix and match’ on sizes and their highly adjustable design which is perfect for achieving the ideal fit. We also see a lot of horses, which are broad and deep in the check bone yet have a smaller muzzle, again making ‘off the peg’ bridles difficult to fit. We also see some horses who have a lot of length on their bottom cheek bone and chin grove, so the Silver Crown US noseband helps the flash stay positioned at a more comfortable position. Others have the opposite problem so the Silver Crown Flash 3D noseband positions the flash as high into the cavesson noseband as possible, again to help maintain the correct angle without compromising on comfort.
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