I have used this bridle twice. I ordered two, Cob and Horse, for two different horses. I have a fine-headed 15.1 Oldenburg GOV mare, and the Horse Size fit her fine, overall, but was very roomy in the noseband. The Cob size was intended for my 14.0 grade gelding (appears to be Mustang - very stocky, but with a similar shape as a Welsh Cob, hence why I ordered him the Cob size.) Both horses were right in the middle of their sizes, based on their height/head size, so I never expected fitting issues. However, the Cob flash wouldn't even close on the 14.0 gelding. I was ready to return both, until I tried mixing up the bridle parts.
I switched the nosebands on the two bridles, and both fit better. Obviously, this isn't an option for most people. The Cob flash is on the last hole on the 15.1 mare, but is plenty roomy. And the Horse noseband and flash fit the pony great. Both under-straps, on both sizes, are very short, given the sizing chart.
The mare is still in early training, but accepted the bridle well on the longe, with the bit clips. The pony, who is very sensitive in the mouth, accepted solid contact for the entire test ride, for the first time in two years! He usually curls back off the bit. I did use the bit clips, but it sounds like they aren't legal for competitions. From everything I could find online, this bridle IS legal WITHOUT the bit clips, but its always best to check the most recent rules. The leather seems nice enough to me, so far.
The Crossover Strong Bitless Strap IS NOT included. It says two (not three) bitless options are included on the description, but I didn't pick up on it. There is a patent issue in the US, so the Strong Strap can't be included on US sales. I've seen comments that the strap can be bought online somehow, separately, from Europe, but I haven't found it yet. This was part of the sales concept, so its elimination reduces the flexibility of the bridle.
The only other thing that may be an issue is the actual longing ring. My longe line clip is too big for the little ring and rubs the noseband. A larger ring would have been nice, to accommodate various clips without damaging the leather.
Overall, I think the value on this is good, but I docked the score because of the fit issues, lack of "Strong Strap", and lack of reins. That being said, I'd rather pick out my own reins. Also, my order was missing the spare set of bit straps. All of this being said, so far, I really like the way the horses are responding to the (mix-up) bridles. The bridle just seems expensive, given the issues I had, and the fact that most people can't mix two sizes. I included a photo of my mixed-up final result. The dark bay is the 15.1 mare and the dun is the 14.0 gelding (sorry for the weird photo ... I was riding!).
April 26, 2013
I bought this bridle for my 17.2 hand Irish Sport Horse. Though I bought the large horse size, it's currently on some of the loosest fittings, but that's okay by me! My horse goes so well in it! I need only a fraction the the pressure in this bridle to achieve what I was previously doing in my other bridle. Shipping said it would be 2-3 weeks, but SmartPak is awesome and had it to me inside of a week.
April 9, 2013
Nice Bridle, Very Different Design
I bought this bridle for my daughter for Xmass. She is very happy with it. Val from Smart Pak was a big help in picking it out and answering questions. We got the cob size for my daughter's 14.2 H Mustang. It fits well. We had to loosen the chin strap ( it does not have a tradtional nose band) so it could fit over his Roman nose. It needed a heavy oiling when it arrived. I find the hard wear to be a little flimsy. It's very attractive on. We got the black color and he's a RED sorrel. I like the design very much. It looks to be very comfortable for the horse. It's very different from a traditional bridle. It can also be used as a bitless bridle.
March 26, 2013
Great bridle if it's right for you.
I was very enthusiastic about this bridle based on issues with my three year old mare, and rave reviews from Ireland and England's top competitors.
I found the bridle hard to fit though this can be mastered. I bought a cob but it seemed too small. Then I bought the horse size and it was too big. I tried the cob again and after figuring out that I had the bit straps wrong it fit fine.
Unfortunately the leather is thick with no pads and she was upset by the feel before I even rode her. I gave up on it.
March 13, 2013
Fits 14.2 hand Mustang well. Looks nice on. Appears to be comfortable for horse. Needed heavy oiling when delivered.
February 25, 2013