Enter one Paddington Bear. The brown jumping bridle sort of fit him – if I punched extra holes on the cheek pieces, used the largest hole on the throatlatch and noseband, and switched out the browband to something larger. None of my other bridles even came close to squeezing around his oddly-shaped face – if they fit in one dimension, they were horribly wrong somewhere else.
Ok, fine, I decided to suck it up and buy him a new black dressage bridle (the brown one would work for jumping). Step one – measure horse for bridle. I found a handy online measuring guide and went to work. Here’s what I found:
- Browband, noseband, and throatlatch – Warmblood sized
- Crown piece (headstall) – Horse sized
- Cheek pieces – Pony sized
And that’s when I discovered that when you buy a Warmblood-sized noseband (for a regular bridle, not a monocrown), that long attached piece that goes over their ears? That’s ALSO warmblood sized… and I needed that to be pony-sized. And if you purchase a horse-sized headstall, the throatlatch is attached to it, because it’s all one piece of leather… but the throatlatch is ALSO horse-sized, and Paddy needs a Warmblood-sized throatlatch.
I swear, shopping for a Paddy-sized bridle is worse than buying jeans for myself.
Paddy thinks his face is perfectly normal... for a Haffie.
In desperation, I contacted my saddler and begged her to see if she would make me a completely custom bridle. She told me straight up she doesn’t like making bridles, because they are fussy and fidgety and have to be done by hand. I begged some more, explaining all the measuring and shopping I had done, and she admitted that she had some spare pieces that she had been working on that might work. Lucky for me, the noseband was perfect, she had pony-sized cheekpieces, and a lovely horse-sized monocrown headstall that allowed for a throatlatch that buckled on BOTH sides. All that was missing was a warmblood-sized throatlatch and browband, so I begged some more and she agreed to make them for me. Bonus was that the price she quoted me was about half of what a fully custom bridle would have cost me from most other saddlers.
Note the monocrown, double-buckle-end throatlatch, and the perfect Haffie-sized noseband.
I did have to wait for quite a while for my extra bridle pieces to be made. I know they weren’t her highest priority – for the most part, she does saddles, not bridles. Still, it was well worth the wait. Paddy LOVES the monocrown, and I am now a huge fan of crank nosebands. Not because I crank mine down – it’s actually quite loose. But the padding under the chin really seems to make him more comfortable, and anything that my horse likes, I’m all for. The leather quality is something I like – it seems quite sturdy but it’s also nicely supple. I will say that the edges are not as well finished as my $500 double (which I bought used for $100 15 years ago), but that’s only something I see up close so it’s not really something I find to be a problem. It looks very nice on him, I think!
Craftsmanship is nice, and he loves the padding under his chin. I also love how the ring on the crank allows the noseband to sit at a slightly different angle under his chin than it does over his nose. I've always had a problem with that on a regular noseband.
Overall, Paddy gives it five Haffie stars. Wait… does five Haffie stars equal two-and-a-half stars? Does he have to give it TEN Haffie stars to make five regular stars? I’m so confused…
Whatever. We both like it!