Manufacturer: SmartPak (View all products by SmartPak)
Model: Harwich Padded Crown Dressage Bridle with Flash (View all Harwich Padded Crown Dressage Bridle with Flash reviews)
Category: English Bridles
Purchase: Ordered this bridle from SmartPak.com, they also have a product magazine. I paid $99 and used a coupon code for free shipping.
Likes: I ordered the bridle w/o the crank noseband. I was trying to decide if I wanted the crank caveson or the "regular" as cranks are usually much more padded but I have other girls who sometimes ride my mare and I didn't want to run the risk of having one of them tighten the noseband too tight, so I went with the regular caveson. I am so glad I did, it is very well padded at the buckle and does not pull hair or pinch skin. When I first opened the box(which was only 2 business days btw, as smartpak ships very quickly-even though I am in Montana)I immediately noticed how nice and soft the leather was and it smelled like "real" leather, not the cheap stiff, glossy leather you would expect at this price point. The first time I cleaned it, the leather dye did not run, which is even fairly common with the higher cost bridles these days. I used MOSS saddle soap(vanilla :-) and Passier Lederbalsam and this bridle looks and feels like my coach's $500 Otto bridles! The noseband is quite thick and really fits in with today's thick noseband fad. The padding is VERY generous.
Dislikes: This bridle runs VERY large. My mare is a TB/Paint cross and even though her head is a little on the long and narrow side, she normally goes quite well in a full size bridle. I got the full thinking that if anything I may need to just replace the cheek pieces with cob size. I could have gone with the cob bridle easily, if fact, that is what I will order soon when this bridle stretches any as it is on the last(tightest) holes everywhere now and I have no more room to punch holes. It fits for now, but will not for long. Some lucky warmblood will get this bridle when I am done with it ;-) The padded crown is nice, but it is really thick and it almost seems to create more pressure on my mare's ears, as it sits pretty snug to them. I hope the cob is thinner. I think they should have made the crownpiece ergonomic around the horse's ears to eliminate pressure points. The bridle comes with rubber reins w/leather stops, which is alright, but I would have much preferred plain leather reins. Realistically, what can you expect for less than $100.
Quality: Again, the leather is superb, couldn't really get much better. The stitching is nice and tight and beautiful. The buckles and hook and loop closures are all sturdy and straight. The padding is consistent and straight. All around, just a really nice bridle, would definitely purchase again and again.
Summary: This bridle is made more for the "everyday" schooling bridle, but I would not hesitate to take this to a show. I will purchase this bridle for as long as they make them, but I will make sure to always order one size down. I would and have recommended this bridle to friends and they have all also been pleasantly surprised at the quality. I have worked at a tack store and have seen the $100 bridles and they were always a joke, this is a VERY nice bridle. Honestly, I would still buy this bridle even if they raised the price to double what it is now. It really is that nice.
Author: Nicole Spiess
Usefulness Rating: 2.8 out of 5.
10 reader(s) voted.
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