Tuesday, August 2, 2016

evolution of the circus bridle

And by "circus bridle," obviously I'm referring to my beloved hackamore snackamore, our dedicated trail and hacking bridle.

Because why not, let's drill down into the life cycle of this one particular piece of tack that started its time with me mostly as a joke, but has morphed into our go-to, everyday bridle.

memories of the good ol' days, when life was simpler and bridles were nylon webbing
You all might remember back two winters ago when I impulsively snatched up this hideous unique exquisite bright red pony-sized nylon webbing headstall and hackamore from the consignment section at Maryland Saddlery for the rock bottom price of $16.

could the mare be any more thrilled?!?
And naturally, bc I am a very sick individual with a very sick sense of humor, I added in the multi-colored reins too - just to get that full effect, ya know?

The nylon webbing had issues tho, mostly related to actually staying where it was supposed to on the horse's face. First adaptation was switching out the browband to some nasty old horse-sized leather part from yet another bridle (visible in the first pic).

regal?
When just that one change didn't seem to quite do the trick for keeping the headstall where it needed to be, eventually the whole shebang got switched out to aforementioned nasty old horse-sized bridle (alas, much too big for the horse's petite face).

beeeeeeeyootiful
Still, obviously, naturally, with the particolored reins and bright red hackamore noseband. Truly, Isabel was a sight to behold. Especially with added overly-fringed full-sized bonnet.

Can you feel the love emanating from Isabel's gaze in that pic? Doesn't she look exactly as if she feels like a million bucks?!? lol...

ok, that's finally a little better
Finally, tho, I took pity mercy on the mare. After buying the quite lovely statement PS bridle from Aimee as our full time dressage bridle, our former dressage go-to pony-sized Horseware of Ireland bridle (also bought consignment) and full-size black webbed reins were repurposed to the hackamore.

This had the dual benefit of a headstall that fit her better, and reins long enough to actually let the mare snack unfettered by the pony-sized color-blocked reins. Details, ya know?

still doesn't change mare's occasionally dopey gaze
While I didn't love that the black bridle didn't match my brown jump saddle (used in most trail rides bc sometimes a girl's gotta gallop or jump some logs and stuff), it felt like the overall picture had finally settled into something mostly fairly permanent.

aha - there we go!
That is, until the latest iteration, wherein I DIY-ed a brand new navy padded noseband.

And so it has come to pass that what started as a hideous joke (meant to test just how ridiculously I could dress the mare without totally distracting from her truly quite pretty face) has now become actually a pretty respectable everyday use bridle.

Of course the only original pieces are the hackamore plates and curb chain... and the memories are fading of that bright red nylon webbing that first called to me from across the consignment store.... But eh. Whatever. I'm pleased with the final product. And Isabel always knows that she's in for a tasting tour of the countryside whenever I pop this sucker on. So it's all good haha.

Have you ever had a piece of tack that you couldn't bear to let go of, and just kept tinkering with until it finally turned into something useful? Or are you like me - do you get a somewhat sick kick out of dressing your horse up?

29 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. ha it will undoubtedly one day reside in the hallowed halls of some museum or another ;)

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  2. I love this thing!!! Also I am seriously considering frankenbridling my PS of Sweden bridle.... Nothing is safe with me

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    1. ha i relate to that urge completely. i don't think i own a single piece of strap good tack that hasn't been cobbled together by various random pieces - even my PS bridle has a Dark Jewel Designs browband!! (which obvi i love)

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    2. Haha that is an improvement and totally doesn't count! I love mine so much and have about 50 others designed...

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    3. i know, right?!? brita just picked up a couple and looking over hers, i'm thinking.... hm what's next for me?!?

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  3. The largest improvement was the Navy IMO

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    1. yea.... i tend to agree. hard to explain tho - i was inexplicably and irretrievably drawn to that ridiculous bright red!

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  4. You can never go wrong with red. Although admittedly the navy and black looks very classy and put together

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    1. haha i definitely loved the red! the navy is maybe more our style tho ;)

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  5. Holy navy blue. I need one in every color!

    And yes. This is literally me with every piece of equipment I own. Have you seen our hideous Stubben breastplate? I think it has 3 different colored leathers on it *rofl*

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    1. i secretly love your stubben breastplate haha. also the 'one in every color' thing could probably work out - that noseband was stupid easy to make, and could probably be made interchangeable with just a few minor tweaks to the hardware ;)

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    2. Oh I immediately went over to the DIY and will be trying it. I worry about the durability with a large and powerful OTTB, but he actually respects the thing, so I'm thinking of making one in black with highlights of teal. #fancy

      And I fricken love my frankenbreastplate. Its so ugly its gorgeous.

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    3. the nylon webbing should stand up just fine to B's power. the suspender closure... would maybe be more suspicious. i'm honestly not sure. it holds up grandpa's gut, and the force is distributed quite a bit before it reaches that clasp... but an actual buckle might be wiser. honestly not totally sure. only one way to find out!!

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  6. i REALLY enjoy the progress of this.

    i havent gotten to this point yet tho, as ive only had runkle for a year so i haven't collected enough...

    wait just kidding. i just recalled our jump bridle is made out of all pieces that didn't go together originally. nevermind.

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    1. ps: where does one procure a fly swish

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    2. ha cobbled frankenbridles 4 eva!!! also. for the fly whisky thingy. you procure one by searching first on tack shops, then on ebay and what not, and then crying a little bit bc why the F are they all like $50?!? and then thanking your lucky stars when one gets left behind by a former boarder. ahem.

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    3. hm i see. i shall try.

      the frustrating thing is my frankenbridle ALMOST matches seamlessly. except...all the buckles are different colors. which irritates the shit out of me.

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    4. oooooh yea the multicolored buckles bug me too.... i have another horse sized bridle (let's not talk about actually how many bridles i have) for the eventual day when i have a horse with a horse sized face (one day!) that i pretty much love... except. those damn buckles. hrm.

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  7. I can't seem to Frankenstein anything. Everything must match and be the same!

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    1. you're definitely not alone - there's something to be said for matchy matchy!!

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  8. There was a day when someone actually said they were jealous because all my tack matched. Then I started riding with trainer. I still don't have a bridle that actually fits the wide browed, little headed, tiny mouthed, short necked monster. I think her main bridle right now is a cob smartpak eventer bridle (browband too small, everything else on tightest hole) with a cob ovation figure 8 (on the tightest setting) and Micklem cob reins, because they are super short.

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    1. yea i mean, that's what it really comes down to, right? all the matchy matchy bridles i've had don't fit in every single dimension. so annoying!!!

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  9. Hahaha the evolution of frankenbridle resulted in something quite lovely!

    I'll switch out browbands regularly to something more bling-y and rhinestone encrusted, but everything else must match or I get major eye twitch.

    Silly really as you can't even recognise frankentack unless you're scrutinising it!

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    1. ha oh i promise some of my stuff stands out loud and clear as unmatched!!! this particular piece works out bc aside from the noseband and hackamore plates, it's all one bridle.

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  10. The final product is looking so much better. I've swapped a lot of Nilla's tack around over time, but I like her teal padded leather bridle. It's the only consistent piece of tack I have for her.

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    1. teal is a very good color for her! i always kinda get a kick out of seeing what pieces i use again and again consistently, and what's more interchangeable

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  11. that was awesome. i actually love reading about it!

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