I admit I Facebook stalked this new company for several months before I reached out to them. After a dressage bridle was announced, I sent out an email to see if I could be a guinea pig and I am thrilled I was given the opportunity to try out the new dressage bridle with flash as well as the reins with hand stops from Lund Saddlery!
After several conversations on the phone with Rob from Lund Saddlery a bridle and pair of reins was on the way. I was being sent a sample bridle (not necessarily the version making it to market – there were a few adjustments to the cavesson and flash). While I was sipping the Lund koolaid (not full on downing it yet), I still had a little twinkle of doubt in my mind about how nice a bridle at this price point could be. I mean…how could it possibly be as nice as it was described at the price point? Something had to be sacrificed right?
Fast forward a few days and the box arrived! What did I think? Did it live up to the claims?
First Impressions: I was honestly blown away. It was beautiful. The bridle is significantly nicer than I let my expectations believe it would be and the stitching is basically perfect (on a sample no less). The best quality manufacturing was used on this bridle it’s quite clear and every detail was seen to. The padded bits are SUPER cushy (especially the crown piece and chin pad). I carried it around the house for a few hours just squishing the crown piece padding and repeating to my husband over and over, “Feel it! FEEEEEL IT! It feels so nice!” Yup…he thinks I’m crazy. The padding on the nose band is a little stiffer, but as I mentioned I received a sample, I have been reassured that the padding on the finished bridle will be consistent. The body of the bridle is beautiful Sedgwick leather which needs to be broken in a bit (and the quality is easily as good as my Passier double bridle). The hardware is sturdy and beautiful too. I expect it will be the last bridle Spicy will need at age 21… and will go on to another horse after that. It looks like a bridle that will last a good decade or more easily.
My first impression of the reins was “Meh. These look fine.” They are leather with hand stops that have a rubber grip lining on the inside. I thought they might be too stiff for my liking with the rubber…but I soon learned otherwise.
Fit: Fitting a bridle on Spice is always a challenge. For a fairly big guy, Spice has a tiny baby head. It’s not delicate…it’s just small. It’s quite difficult to find a bridle that fits him and that flatters his very old school Thoroughbred head. He’s really in between a Cob and Horse and the Horse is usually a bit too big and the Cob a bit too small. What’s very cool about the bridles from Lund is that an extra pair of cheek pieces (either sized up or sized down) are included so if you have a hard to fit head, you have other options! What a good idea!
I got a horse size and it actually fit pretty well! The throat latch is quite large on Spice as is typical and I have it on the second to the smallest hole on each side and I’m thankful for the adjustment on both sides. Quite handy. Got a quarter horse? You’ll have no problem with this bridle. The brow band, crown piece and cheek pieces fit him great. No problems at all.
Usually I have WAY too much flash strap and need to trim it, but with this one, it fit Spice perfect. The nose band also fit fine, however I know there was a change to this area from the version I have, so I can’t comment on how the adjusted version fits. On this one, the nose band appeared to be maybe a bit too long compared with standard dressage cranks and wrapped around the nose a little further than most, but that probably makes it more comfortable for the horse to have padding almost the whole way around. If your horse has a very tapered nose, you might have a bit of a fit problem, or then again you might not. You’ll never know until you try it.
Performance: The first ride in this bridle I felt a difference. Spice clearly appreciates the extra padding and has been softer in the poll since switching over. Once the bridle broke in a bit, it started fitting even better and was even nicer.
While not that exciting out of the box, I ended up LOVING the reins. After some conditioning and riding, these broke in beautifully and I really love them. I need a second pair for my double bridle now! They’re easily my favorite pair I’ve ever used. The only odd thing about the reins is that they have bit guards for a martingale. I honestly don’t know many dressage riders that use martingales, so finding rein stops is weird especially if you want to show in this bridle, but I suppose the eventing dressage people might use martingales from time to time and this bridle is certainly perfect for an eventer as it’s good quality but not full on dressage queen.
Style/Looks: Speaking of those DQ’s…dressage ladies are an interesting bunch. While there are lots of differing looks that appeal to different riders, Style is important. Here’s what this bridle isn’t:
- It isn’t flashy.
- It doesn’t have bling.
- It doesn’t have patent leather.
- It doesn’t have a ridiculously big/wide nose band.
- It doesn’t have a U or V or multi-strand brow band.
- It doesn’t fit in with the current market of dressage bridles in general notably because it’s NOT TRENDY.
Because of that…it might not be the most popular bridle with a certain type of dressage rider.
Here’s what this bridle is:
- This bridle is classically styled with comfort updates.
- This bridle will go with everything is is absolutely neutral while still being attractive.
- This bridle is timeless. You could ride in it 5 years ago or 5 years from now and it’s not going to stand out as out of date.
- It’s made of quality materials. If you’re looking for something that will stand the test of time and not need to be replaced in a year or two, this bridle is perfect for you.
I will admit this bridle is probably going to be more popular with the 3 Day people (and so does Lund), but there are a lot of lower level dressage riders (and maybe even some upper level ones) that are going to appreciate the quality and classic look of this bridle. You can always add a brow band that has a little sparkle and not every horse has a head that can pull of a wide patent leather nose band with a U shaped bling brow band (not every horse is as pretty as Valegro as much as we wished they were).
This leads me to the only issue with this bridle for the raging (or budding) DQ’s out there…the brow band. It’s a beautiful plain brow band with soft padding…but it is plain. Lund doesn’t have any plans to release any bling brow bands themselves. The extra wide poll pad design requires a larger brow band loop, so custom (or having your favorite one worked on) is the only solution. I did ask my favorite brow band maker Equus Couture if she could make one for me to specifications and she said yes! So if you’re looking for a brow band for your new Lund Saddlery dressage bridle, you can always call her (or your favorite custom brow band maker) and have something made custom.
I did get several compliments on this bridle, notably from clinician Brian Sabo who I try and ride with every month. My trainer also mentioned a few times how much she liked the bridle (I think she wants some of her own!) and another trainer commented on the reins and asked where I got them. I’ve been directing people to the Lund Saddlery website promising to tell them when the bridle is released. There are two different versions of the bridle coming out soon, one with a flash and one without. There are also two different versions of the reins, one with hand stops and one without.
I cannot say enough how impressed I have been with the quality of this bridle and I highly recommend it (and any other Lund Saddlery products) to the discerning equestrian looking for something of quality that will last…but that won’t break the bank. I cannot wait to see what dressage products they plan on releasing next!
If you’re curious about learning more and purchasing the beautiful leather goods from Lund Saddlery you can visit their website and follow them on Facebook or Instagram.
A new Kickstarter will launch December 1st with some great discounts on these new dressage products (and many more for your hunter/jumper/eventing needs)!
– Pledge CDN$ 95 or more – Lund reins dressage series
Lund Saddlery reins, Dressage Series, half inside rubber grip, choice of either flat grip area or flat with hand stops grip area. 60″ length only. Shipping is included, pledge rewards from USA backers are shipped from within the USA.
– Pledge CDN$ 185 or more – Lund monocrown bridle, crank
Lund Saddlery dressage series monocrown bridle, choice of with flash or without flash, all black in cob, full or oversize. Shipping is included, pledge rewards from USA backers are shipped from within the USA.
– Pledge CDN$ 260 or more Lund monocrown crank bridle/reins combo
Lund Saddlery dressage series monocrown crank bridle, choice of with or without flash, all black in cob, full or oversize comes with matching half inside rubber grip reins, choice of flat grip or grip with hand stops in 60″ length only. Shipping is included, pledge rewards from USA backers are shipped from within the USA.