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Ellie's Big Adventure - Equine Affaire 2019

On the last day of September, I received an email from the Vermont Morgan Horse Association asking if I would be interested in bringing Ellie to Equine Affaire in Massachusetts from November 7-10.  I became a member of VMHA this year when I decided to compete at Vermont Heritage Days; so even though I live in Maine and not Vermont haha, I made a snap decision to say yes!  
Honestly, it was 21 minutes after the email came in that I responded yes!  Then I had to figure out how to actually make it all happen hahahahaha.  Typical.
I attended Equine Affaire as a spectator a few times way back when and then for many years I ran the breed booth for the Standardbreds, including a four-day stint in C Barn with Dreamy back in 2013.  It is fun and exhausting to travel 4+ hours one way from home to talk with thousands of people, walk thousands of miles around the venue (ok, not that far but close), and ride in demos on a horse that has never seen such a huge venue (though in her defense, Ellie was …

What has happened to bridles lately?

I love tack, don't get me wrong.  I have way too much tack when you consider I only own two horses and one is retired haha.  But lately, on blogs and other social media, I have been horrified to see what is happening to bridles!  OMG!  I love the classic, sophisticated, refined look. I searched FOREVER to find a new dressage bridle last year without a flash.  Seriously, it is like never mind if your horse actually needs a flash (mine doesn't!) let's just put one on every bridle because no horse can do dress-ahhhhhhggggggge without one.  OMG.

I had a hard time looking at the Micklems, but I admit they grew on me.  I bought one once in a weak moment and neither mare liked it, so I sold it.  I still dislike the stupid drippy browbands, so I just die a little inside whenever I see one.  And roll my eyes.  

Why so drippy?  And I have seen worse, this was just the first one I saw in my googling effort.
Clearly I am becoming a curmudgeon in my young age.  But holy cow, the new fangled bridles out there are  JUST.  NO.

Yep.  Pretty much.
PS of Sweden for $342?  No thank you.

What the ACTUAL eff?  That noseband thingy is just ugly AF.
Stubben, my most favorite brand of all time, what have you done?  AND $520?  UHHHH NO.  
It only looks mildly horrific from the front, but that crownpiece and browband made me a little twitchy....
I feel kinda sad lately about the stupid fads in tack.  Not much going on with the crap winter weather and SO MUCH ICE, so yes, I have spent way too much time online lately.  

Is it spring yet?  *sigh*


  1. I agree! Bridles are doing some weird things. There are a few PS of Sweden styles I like but most are a little too "out there" for me. For most of my riding career I've been searching for muted/plain options for a gigantic medicine hat paint head. Luckily the cheaper/used options that are in my price range are still the boring styles haha

  2. I think my Micklem is ugly, but I do love the way my horse goes in it, and he's made it clear it's the only thing he likes. Completely agree with on the ugly PS of Sweden and that Stubben bridle! Yuck!!

  3. I think if Bobby likes the Micklem (as many horses do seem to), then definitely use it!! My mares both hated the strap under their jaw.

  4. I totally agree! I don't understand the fascination with all these crazy designs. If it has a function, I guess I understand. I don't like flashes so I have never liked the michlem and the PS of sweden bridles are soooo big and chunky. I have a simple rolled bridle and I don't think there is anything more beautiful!!

  5. Bahahahahahaha you would hate my bridle. It's covered in bling. And has a pirate skull on the browband.


    We weren't going for "classy" (obvs) but we definitely achieved "distinctive"!

  6. Yeah, I'm pretty much with you. I'm super boring and traditional when it comes to these things. I also have yet to see convincing evidence of biomechanical improvement for anything other than the Micklems.

  7. Some trends I like -- like the true monocrown -- but at heart I'm still fairly traditional. Give me a monocrown fancy stitch bridle and I'm happy as a clam!

  8. I sure can get behind some bling, probably even to the point of being slightly tacky, but I don't like any bridle where the first thing you notice is the bridle, not the horse.

  9. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with some fun bling and I have been known to oogle pretty western tack. Aarene, your bridle is lovely! ;-) It is the weird SHAPE thing happening lately that is beyond my comprehension!

  10. Lol I love this. Personally I'm not too picky on actual styles - to each his own. But I want to see the *horse* wear the bridle, not the *bridle* wearing the horse. And lately.... Trends have seemed to move in the opposite direction.

  11. Some of the ones you think are ugly have a purpose - usually to make them more comfortable for the sensitive horse. I'm all about that. If the horse goes well in it and seems happy, I'm 100% for it. That said, most horses don't notice much difference. As far as the fashion things like a wider noseband, swoopy browband, or bling - meh. To each their own. Shoot, lots of things that we think of as "traditional" today were, at one time, just fashion. Raised bridles, rolled bridles, and fancy stitching are perfect examples. At the end of the day, if the horse is comfortable and the rider likes it, who cares whether it's plain and traditional or modern and fancy?

  12. I have that PS of Sweden bridle and my mare loves it. Her head just didn't work for a Micklem but the PS is te same concept but way more adjustable. I forgot her bridle at home one day and put her in a traditional hunter bridle (same bit) that was in my trailer and she was way fussier. I'm also positive she would love that Stubben one because heaven forbid something come close to her ears.

    Also, I love the swoop browbands. I find it way more aesthetically pleasing than a straight line.

  13. I very much dislike the PS of Sweden bridles, but only because I don't like the leather and I don't think they're currently worth the price or hype. Like you, I'm also a fan of the traditional look.

    If you're looking for a very, very nice traditional bridle that also has a lot of padding and anatomical ear cut-outs plus poll pressure relief, the Albion KB Competition bridle is fantastic but somewhat expensive based on the options you get. Still, it's clean and refined. Mine cost around $480 but that was with a $120 crystal browband. I've used it every day for three years and it still looks great.


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