|One of my favorite photos - it shows off the color of this bridle|
very well, and it also shows just how nice and long the reins are!
Some may not know this, but I have had my eye on their bitless bridles for a while now, as I had wanted to transition Annie over to one for trail riding and road hacking just for the fun of it. I had no real motivation behind it aside from "why not" - it had nothing to do with her carrying (or not carrying) a bit, but moreso for her overall comfort when we head out to do some leisurely jaunts.
I've gotten to a point where riding Annie in a bitless bridle is not a pre-qualification for death, and for the most part I can comfortably and reliably ride her in one with zero issues.
Long time readers will remember how I converted Suzie's old (and much too big) leather halter into a bitless bridle for Annie, and at the time, it kinda worked, but it was also way too big and lacked a secure feeling on her head.
|I mean, she looks cute as heck in it, but alas the|
halter was much too big and I had wanted to "retire" the halter
for sentimental reasons.
I opted to go with the 2 in 1, feeling it gave me a bit more options to play around with what worked for Annie and what didn't. In efforts to stay with Annie's signature color, I ordered it in a beautiful purple with white stitching, and went with regular stainless steel hardware and english style reins with roller buckles. Two Horse Tack offers a variety of sizes - all the way from miniature to Draft and every single measurement in between... including custom measurements.
As for the hardware, there are a few options here for customization, such as the scissor snaps instead of roller buckles, or brass hardware instead of stainless steel, and of course a plethora of color options. If you prefer to layer your bridle, you can also do a combination of two colors or take a look at their rhinestone/bling bridles.
A short few weeks later, the bridle arrived and I immediately drove out to the barn to try it on Annie. It took a bit of fitting to get it just right, and the first few rides consisted of trying out the criss-cross pieces that run under the jaw (which Annie does not like) and bitless action the bridle offered. Annie much preferred the simplicity of the standard bitless and showed much more happiness when in the standard sidepull configuration.
|Our first ride in the bridle - I had installed and used|
the "sidepull" attachment, but later scrapped it thru the
ride as Annie preferred the feeling of the nose pressure vs jaw pressure.
My first impressions of the bridle was that the biothane was a decent thickness (approximately 3/4") and lacked a shiny finish which could cause rein slippage in rainy weather. The biothane is a more matte-finish and although the entire set up feels heavier than regular leather and buckles, I enjoy the fact it is carries some weight, especially in the reins.
I did have some issues with the fit of the noseband - truthfully tho, my measurements might have been slightly skewed which resulted in a bit too big of a noseband. However, this doesn't bother me and the excess is easily tucked into the D-ring of the sidepull. The remaining aspects of the bridle fit well, but I have had some troubles with the throatlatch section creeping upwards, causing the portion of it which rests behind her ears to "bubble up". It doesn't happen consistently, and all it takes is a simple yank downwards of the bottom of the throatlatch - I also slide the little metal divider between it and the cheek pieces over to prompt it to stay in place.
My favorite part of the entire bridle is probably the reins, which are 10ft overall (5ft on either side), which allows Annie to get a good stretch in and gives me enough rein to lead her over/under obstacles if needed. I also love that I chose the roller buckles, as it allows me to undo the reins easier than if they had Conway buckles.
|A bit too long of a noseband, but Bannie doesn't care!|
This thing fits the bill ten times over. Having dealt with biothane for a few years now with Spud's Comfy Fit Harness, I already knew how much of a beating this product can take. It's hardy, doesn't show dents or scratches and is happy to be plunged into a water trough or simply hosed off every few months as part of its irregular cleaning.
I haven't had any issues with the biothane rubbing or causing hair loss either, which is a common question when using non-leather products. Annie has gotten wet plodding through creeks and rivers and I haven't had an issue with raw skin or any sensitivity.
|We got a purple bonnet, which she shook off fifteen times|
so I ended up just stuffing it into my pocket.
The makers over at Two Horse Tack are quite generous when it comes to cost - custom measurements and color choice are calculated in the standard price and are not considered an additional cost. There are different variations of this bridle - two color combos, bling (seriously it's so adorable), specialty colors such as camouflage and reflective biothane, and even a real leather option.
This entry level bridle runs anywhere from $60 - $84USD depending on the amount of customization you do and if you include reins or not (the other styles, such as bling, camo, reflective, etc are all a bit more). For a bridle exactly like mine, you'd be looking at $77.50USD, which I think is a fair price, considering the fact it is hand-crafted, is made to your horse's particular measurements (at no charge), and the "add ons" are very reasonably priced.
There are also sales usually running on the site, which means you can typically snag a bridle for a decent price.
The last thing I wanted to mention was how awesome the customer service at Two Horse Tack is - they are fast to reply to e-mails, were more than gracious to extend their offer despite me not seeing it initially, and the bridle didn't take long at all to be constructed, shipped, and delivered. Overall, I am very happy with this product and would recommend it to those who are looking for a fun, colorful hacking out bridle that doesn't require the upkeep that regular leather does. And if bitless isn't your thing, they carry a variety of biothane bridles such as: English, Western, Halter/Endurance, Australian, Medieval, Mule and Racing bridles, all with similar options I outlined above!
Thank you Two Horse Tack for the beautiful bridle, and thank you for creating such a lovely product!