From Endurance to Dressage
To Customize or Not?
I have a BUNCH of cob sized bridles laying around that I went through before finding what I liked for Speedy G - the Micklem. I also have a lovely Stübben for showing. None of those bridles will fit Izzy though, and he needs something to wear.
I started him out in Sydney's Micklem, but Izzy did a lot of head tossing with it. JL thought that since it has a drop nose band, it might have been causing some of the itchy, irritated nose that Izzy was experiencing. I switched the Micklem out for Speedy's Stübben, and a lot of the itchy nose thing went away.
While the Stübben is quite lovely, it is way too petite for Izzy. The cheek pieces for the bit and caveson are both on the absolute last hole. Besides that, it was a rather pricey piece of tack at close to $300, and right now, Izzy is doing a lot of rough scratching and rubbing when we finish. I'd rather save the bridle for showing rather than see it get mangled by Mr. Green Bean.
I've found a buyer (shipping today, Sandy!) for the Micklem which means I have a little cash for a new bridle. While not the fanciest things on the market, SmartPak's brand of bridles are quite functional and fall in a price range that I am happy to pay, especially for a piece of schooling tack. I bought the Plymouth Dressage Bridle for Speedy two years ago and was satisfied with it even though I ultimately ditched it for the Micklem.
For Izzy, I am looking at the Plymouth Elite Dressage Bridle. If I am a little bit patient, Smartpack will send me a 20% discount on all SmartPak products or a Double Perks discount which I can combine with my 5% USEF discount. The bridle would only cost $93. That's a very doable sum for a piece of tack for a horse that may or not work out.
Don't get me wrong - I hope he turns out to be my next show horse, but I've been down this road before. So rather than invest two or three hundred bucks on a really nice bridle, I am willing to go a cheaper route until he shows me that we can spring for something nicer.
The bridle retails for $124.95 and has some pretty nice features for a bridle at that price point. It has a padded monocrown that is slightly contoured, buckle closures which I prefer over hooks (especially on a schooling bridle), and rubber lined leather reins (which I may or may not use). All in all, it would suit my purposes and wouldn't leave me feeling broke.
I have decided that I really, really like engraved stuff. All of it. If it can be engraved or personalized or customized, I want it. That being said, this bridle can be customized with an engraved crown piece.
I have a few concerns though. If I get the engraving done, the bridle better fit, or I'm out of luck, right?! What do I do if I ever sell this bridle or use it on someone else? Can the little plate be removed without damaging the bridle? At this price point do I even care?
I am not in a gigantic hurry to place the order, but I want to be prepared to do so when SmartPak sends me one of those little order now incentives. Any advice would be much appreciated. So, do I get the engraved crown piece or not?
First off, I would buy the bridle and the nameplate seperately, and attach it yourself (or have a shoe repair / leather worker) do it, once you confirm it fits. Because you're right, as a customized item you won't be able to send it back I don't think.
5/18/2015 01:16:14 am
You can verify with Smartpak, but I am 99% positive they will take returns of customized items. For some things like bridles I just assume that if it fits the horseI purchased it for I will keep it long term anyways (okay I do own 5 bridles...). Plus plates are easily changed out if you want to sell it down the road.
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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)
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3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: