The re-introduction of the hackamore into Henry’s show wardrobe created a bit a predicament (ha, pun. stop groaning.) with my bridle lineup. All of my good bridles these days are monocrowns, which don’t actually work with a hackamore… there would be one extra strap with nothing on it, flap flap flapping around in the breeze.
Luckily I did have something it could go on: my old Royal Sports bridle that I had made for a hackamore several years ago. I hated that thing since the day I got it, and I still hate it, and it’s even uglier now than it used to be. I’ve just kept it around so I can ride in my sidepull sometimes without changing bridles around. I mean, the bridle technically does the job, but it’s hideous and I do not like using it in public, not to mention the fact that the crownpiece does not fit correctly around Henry’s ears. There’s no freaking way I can show up at a recognized event with that gross, flaking, orange-padded, ill-fitting nightmare. I’m pretty sure that counts as horse abuse or something. Granted, the hackamore that I picked up for cheap to use for this little non-bitting experiment is pretty ugly too.The only thing wrong with it is the color though (which ironically matches the hideous orange padding on the bridle perfectly), so my eyeballs were mildy less offended about that part than they are about the bridle itself.
If you like having cheekpieces in your horses eyes and a bridle that is more orange than brown, that setup is totally up your alley. (Fun fact from the above pics: it was so windy that day for the CT that none of the panels or gates could be put up in the cups lest they become airborne projectiles. Texas is great.)
If we’re going to use a hackamore for real, ie in public, I really wanted a true hackamore bridle with a jaw strap – like the Dy’on and PS of Sweden hackamore bridles have – to keep the cheekpieces out of his eyes and help stabilize the thing on his head a little bit. The problem is that those were the only two bridles I could find with that feature, and I didn’t want to spend that kind of money.
Ok that’s a lie, there’s this FRA bitless bridle thing that technically has the strap I want, but what the hell is up with that hideous “hook out” cheekpiece? It looks backwards. It’s making me twitchy. I cannot.
And there’s also the Barefoot Physio bridle, which would have worked, but the brown one has hideous orange padding just like my current bridle. That’s a NO. Bridle makers: STOP WITH THE ORANGE PADDING.
Hideousness is the theme here.
So the Dy’on and the PS were the only two pretty bridles I could find with that feature.
The Dy’on bridle would have worked, and it’s only $150 (sans hackamore and reins) if you buy it from Europe, which isn’t too awful. Of course, then I’d have wanted to put a nicer hack on it, like a Jin, which I could also get from the same shop in Europe for another $100 (then add $25ish for shipping to all that), or a Stubben or a Herm Sprenger. The only thing I didn’t like about the Dy’on is that Henry really needs the full size crown for the ear cutouts to fit, but the full size cheekpieces would put the jaw strap up high, above his eye. I much prefer that the strap sit lower, so that it’s level with or below the eye. The strap is fixed, though, so I wouldn’t have been able to move it to where I wanted unless I took it to a leather person and had them do it for me. That’s annoying for something that isn’t cheap to start with.
The one that I liked the design of the most, of course, was the PS of Sweden hackamore. It has the strap where I want it, and I love the wide padded crown. It comes with the matching (praise jesus) hackamore already on it, which is nice too. One purchase and you’re done. And it’s pretty (which matters a lot). But – there’s always a but – these went out of production a couple years ago, so there aren’t a lot left on the market in the size and color I want. The cheapest new one that I found from my preliminary search was around $315 including shipping.
I briefly considered trying to Frankenhack something together that would work, but that sure sounds like a royal pain in the ass to try to get everything to match.
So I tossed an ISO ad up on English Tack Trader on facebook, figuring it was worth a try but also thinking there was just no way I’d get that lucky. Next thing you know, low and behold, not only does someone have a brown full size PS hackamore, but it’s someone I actually know! She used to live near here and reads the blog and rode with my trainer a little bit. She offered it to me for a much more reasonable price than new, and I was sold. Done. Bam.
Everyone thank Teana for saving Henry from that hideous orange monstrosity that he’s been wearing. She’s done us all a big favor here.
And no one ask how many bridles I have now. Just don’t. A bridle for every bit, am I right???