I really do buy a lot of stuff. This time I'm looking at my dressage bridle from PS of Sweden.
Background: I'm a bit of a turn out snob and it was bugging me to ride in a black dressage saddle and a brown bridle (that also had fancy stitching on it and a D ring bit, such a fashion faux pas). I needed a black bridle for our dressage outings that would fit mi papi's block of a head. It also needed to have the option to have the flash removed without that annoying loop since we don't use a flash. That's a surprisingly difficult thing to find. I also wanted nice padding and a monocrown. Shopping around and blogger referrals led me to this bridle.
Product: PS of Sweden specializes in anatomical bridles. Think Micklem but higher quality leather and more adjustable. They also have bridles like this one that are legal for dressage competition. Everything is shaped for the comfort of the horse. They also feature quick change browbands with the option to buy lots of blingy styles.
It does not come with a throat latch (designed not to need one) but you can add one on so it's competition legal. It also has little elastic insets on the cheekpieces that end up under the rings of your bit. It gives the bit a little give. I'm still not sure if this is competition legal, but they're designed to be easily removed if they're a problem for showing.
I picked the Flying Change Revolution as a nice, straightforward bridle. I don't like the patent leather look and rolled would look ridiculous on Theo's clunky head. It does not come with reins and clocks in at about $300 with shipping. Also, they have a pick and mix option for their bridles. I used that to piece together something that would properly fit Theo (full size crown and cheek pieces, x-full browband and noseband). Customer service is excellent, return policy is balls so take extra measurements and contact them if you have a question.
Review: Out of the bag, this is a nice feeling bridle. The padding is generous,
the crown is wide, and the leather is a nice quality. It's not old
school Vespucci nice (not the current cr@p), but it's very pleasant to
handle. It takes some getting used to. The noseband seemed ridiculously huge to me when I was putting it together and the crown seemed so wide. Nice feature is the way the flash is attached. It slides under the padding and buttons into place so you can take it off without a dumb loop and there's nothing between the padding and your horse's nose if you decide to leave it on.
On Theo's head, it looks fantastic. The wide noseband really suits him and the browband looks very flattering with it's little swoop. It stays clear of his cheekbones and the slimmer profile on the bottom on his nose avoids all of the sensitive spots. I had to squeeze a bit to get the throat latch attached, but everything looks and feels fantastic. Crank noseband is not my favorite, I dropped the extra keeper and Theo promptly ate it, but it works fine without it. The padding under the chin is a hit with mi papi. I get lots and lots of compliments on this bridle and it's wearing well. Theo seems quite happy in it and I've had no problems with rubs or slipping.
Happy with the fit, I ordered a blingy browband.
Love, love, love the design on this browband. It's very subtle with black beads and just a bit of flash. Downside is that it slides down his face with the throat latch attached. I returned it (again, great customer service), but the replacement was exactly the same. I'm not sure what the deal is, since it's the same size as the browband that came with the bridle, but the loops on the blingy browband are bigger and don't hang on tight enough to the bridle. For now, I used some black vet wrap to keep it from sliding. I haven't heard of anyone else having this issue and I haven't ordered another browband yet, so I'm not sure if this is a fluke with this one design or a problem that people don't notice because they're not using the throat latch.
Conclusion: Very nice bridle and I recommend getting it if you're looking a mid-range bridle, good quality for the price point, pick and mix option is fantastic for oddly shaped horses, the Flying Change noseband is rather massive and probably not appropriate for delicate faces, can't recommend the blingy browbands due to issues with sliding but I seem to be the only one with this problem.