Y'all (I just love how I'm in Texas and can start a sentence with 'y'all' and it's perfectly legit), my bridles are old. They're old and they don't fit Paddy. I've been on a bit of a quest to find at least one new bridle that fits him, because let's face it, Paddingtons deserve nice things. Or so I tell myself.
Lots of fellow bloggers have Rambo Micklems and rave about them, and I admit I wanted to try one out. The ergonomic design is appealing, and if you're OK with a less traditional look, they're kinda neat. Plus I've been impressed with Horseware products, although up to now my experience has been limited to their Rambo blankets.
Let's just say both Paddy and I were disappointed in all kinds of ways.
I got a havana bridle, in Horse size, reins included. Out of the bag, the bridle is really stiff. While the leather is thick and sturdy, which I appreciate as an eventer, the stitching is quite uneven, and is a really strange reddish color that doesn't appeal to me. I'm sure it will soften with age and oiling, but quality-wise it doesn't compare to the Nunn Finer Eventing bridle I've also been eying, which is only slightly more expensive.
I took a bit of time assembling it, following the directions. I stuck it on Paddy a few times sans bit to get the fit right, and it looked OK on him. I felt like there were a lot of straps, and because the leather is fairly wide all over, it doesn't have as refined a look as some more traditional bridles. In addition, Paddy's face is pretty busy with his blaze, and all the strap work just sort of overloaded it. Also, because his face is really wide and short, I never felt like I got it to fit quite right. It seemed long from ears to noseband and too tight in the throatlatch piece. Alas, there's no photographic evidence because I managed to delete the pics I took off my phone, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
I rode in it once. Paddy HATED it. We used the same bit (Myler Baucher) as usual, but he just never got comfortable. I don't know if it pinched him or what, but he did a lot of head-shaking (not normal) and spent a lot of our lesson sucking back behind the bit. Granted, he's not super steady in the bridle to begin with, but our trainer noticed it, and at the end of the ride we both agreed that he really didn't like something about it.
The worst thing though was the reins. If you buy the bridle, buy separate reins. These things are stiff stiff stiff, and super wide. I literally rode with them for 3 minutes and changed them out. I have pretty big hands and I just couldn't hold these at all. Really not a fan.
I paid $189 for the bridle from our local Dover store. For the same money, I'd probably look at an Ovation bridle (although I don't love those reins either) or for a bit more, I'm move up to a Nunn Finer.
Sorry, Horseware. Paddy and I just couldn't get on board with this bridle. But we did find one that we both love... (to be continued!)