From Endurance to Dressage
If I added up how much I've spent on crap bridles over the last four years, it would easily amount to the nicest, fanciest bridle available.
The problem is that I can't justify spending even a hundred bucks on a schooling bridle so I continue to buy cheap dressage bridles in the hope that one of them will finally work well.
The problem is that Speedy has a "small" head. It's not disproportionately small of course, but compared to the heads of most dressage horses, his is tiny. Finding something that fits well has been a challenge. Had I known that I would end up spending a small fortune, I would have just done a custom order eight bridles ago.
Sprinkler Bandits, please do not think that I am trying to de-throne you as ruler of the Tack Whores. I am not, but seriously, if you knew how many bridles I have purchased for Speedy G in the past three years, you would certainly grant me the title of Tack Whore Princess.
Which means, of course, that I have just purchased yet another frickin' bridle. And yes, it was another cheap one. But this time, I might have actually found one that I will keep and use.
I bought SmartPak's Plymouth Dressage Bridle ($64.95). Here's what SmartPak says about the bridle: Plymouth bridles are crafted in imported leather with fine details and stainless steel hardware at an unbeatable value. Traditional styling and unprecedented quality in this price range. Available exclusively at SmartPak.
The bridle has a five star rating and 141 reviews. I figured it was a safe bet. When I took it out of the box, all of the pieces were wrapped individually which means they were all flat, including the brow band. It wasn't quite as soft as I was expecting so I quickly conditioned it and left it in a warm place for a few hours. Several days later, I re-checked it and was quite pleased with how soft it now feels.
As far as fit, it's not quite right. But of course. The brow band and throat latch fit, which is a common problem for Speedy. The cheek pieces are exactly right, which is a bonus. The problem is the caveson; it's on the last hole. I am hoping that it will get a nice bend with some use as well as stretch out a bit. The flash is also a bit short, but it works.
SmartPak was offering 20% off all SmartPak products so I got the bridle for closer to $50 with the web reins included. For the price, I think it's a great bridle. I am thinking of ordering one for Sydney, too.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: