Manufacturer: Sabre (View all products by Sabre)
Model: Cordoba (View all Cordoba reviews)
Category: English Bridles
Purchase: Purchased directly from Sabre in the U.K., and paid their standard rate which was about 150 pounds ($250AUD). Sabre bridles are naturally far superior to all the usual dogs-body brands, so the following review only focuses on direct comparisons with other top manufacturers (Stubben, Kieffer, Jeffries, Barnsby etc).
Likes: Everything is wonderful! The leather quality is superb, equal to Jeffries and far superior to Stubben. The leather is thicker than the other brands, so whilst it's creamy and soft in the hand immediately, it takes a bit of time and oil to make the leather extremely flexible because it's considerably thicker than other brands. However the thickness seems to protect it from the wrinkling and creping effect that can happen to the surface of other bridles. This allows the bridle to take a complete bashing and still scrub up like new. The leather quality is also the most consistent I have seen (equal with Kieffer). Even my Jeffries bridles aren't consistently that good, and Stubben leather is downright disappointing. I have 3 Sabre Cordobas now, and there isn't a single part of any of the leather that is of lesser quality than the other parts. The design options are somewhat conservative, as with most old English manufacturers (e.g. Barnsby), but they are all classic and beautiful, and can be jazzed up with a Schumacher browband if you need to. The Cordobas have a fully integrated padded head piece which means you don't have to thread the noseband strap in and out of the headpiece (like you do with Kieffer and Jeffries). This means you have throat latch and noseband adjustments on both sides, giving you a greater range of total adjustment.
Dislikes: The only think I don't like is their hook-stud billet system to the bit. other manufacturers have a hole with a slit. The slit expands when you shove the billet through, and closes once you pull it tight. Pretty easy really. However Sabre only have a slightly elongated hole (no slit). Combined with the thickness of the leather, you need incredible strength, a large unoccupied male, or a pair of pliers to wrestle the hook-studs open and closed. My tip is don't use the pliers, it damages the leather. I was just so frustrated each time I was ready to kill someone, so pliers seemed like the better option. I have resolved this issue now by getting a hole punch and elongating the hole so that the hook fits more easily. In reality I shouldn't have to modify a $250 bridle. Sabre should just use the same system as EVERYONE else in the world.
Quality: Craftsmanship is superb. Equal to Jeffries and Kieffer. Better than Stubben. There are tiny inconsistencies as with all hand made articles. The keepers all fit firmly but without being frustrating, and the leather quality feels wonderful. Size-wise, a full size is slightly larger than a Stubben, slightly smaller than a Jeffries, and substantially smaller than a Kieffer. The extra-full size is larger than a Stubben extra-full, and only slightly larger than a Kieffer full. The construction and quality of this bridle allows you to compete in the same bridle you train in every day without it looking 'second-hand'.
Summary: Sabre bridles are extremely well made from beautiful (albeit thick) leather. This is the perfect bridle for someone who likes to train in the same bridle they compete in, or wants to train in a top quality bridle every day. I think you could use one of these for 20 years and it would still be going strong. I would be perfectly happy to have only Kieffer and Sabre bridles in my tack room. Kieffer for the huge range and gorgeous bling, and Sabre for classic hard-wearing beauty. Unless you were unlucky enough to have a sizing problem with your horse, you couldn't possibly be unhappy with one.
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
16 reader(s) voted.
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