SmartPak Beta Bridle is rated
Rated 4 out of
Practical and functional
I wanted a bridle that was up to trail riding, including the occasional dip in the river, and something easy to clean after sweaty summer rides. My leather was getting ruined, and between the fly spray and sweat on my horse's neck making it hard to hold the reins, and the leather molding in my trailer, I decided to try a non-leather bridle.
The material this bridle is made out of is really soft and supple right from the start, it's more rubbery than plastic-y like some other synthetic bridles I've seen. It feels like it will be really durable, and in the time I've had it there is absolutely no signs of wear. The matching reins have a better grip than leather when sweaty because they do not absorb the moisture, so they dry almost instantly, but the grip is still less than something like normal rubber reins because they are smooth. The reins are also narrower than regular reins, more like a curb rein.
The reasons I can't give this a full 5 stars - I was really hoping that because this is SmartPak brand (which I have had great luck with in the past!), and a bit pricier than some of the alternative brands, that the quality would be very high. While it's not bad, there is some of loose/messy stitching, which I'm guessing will ultimately be the downfall of this bridle when it starts to fray. Also the keepers are not the same rubbery beta material, but instead a plastic. They do not keep very well, and have just a little bit of an edge to them that I'm watching carefully as it's against my horse's cheek. So far it hasn't rubbed, but on a sensitive horse that could be an issue. The noseband could use an extra keeper, I use one of the smaller holes and there is a long strap of extra material that sticks out all the time. The throatlatch as well has only one keeper right by the buckle, if you used a higher hole all the extra would be flapping. These little things keep this bridle always feeling a bit messy - even if I tuck everything in neatly when I tack my horse, it won't be long until there are straps flapping everywhere.
Fit - My horse is an Arab/warmblood cross so she is always right between cob and horse. After doing careful measurements and reading the size chart, I ordered her the cob, and it fit really well except the throat latch was WAY too tight. So I sent that back for the horse size. This one fits ok for browband, cheek pieces, and around her nose (on almost the tightest holes for each - room to go bigger but not much room to go smaller). The throatlatch is almost as long as it can go (only one hole to go longer available). So it works for us but might not fit a horse with a full horse-size head.
Overall, a very decent bridle. Excellent for hot weather, trail riding, or anywhere durable and easy to clean is a factor. This bridle rinses right off and requires no maintenance beyond that. If the stitching and keepers were improved, this could be a favorite all-around bridle to fully replace my leather one.
Date published: 2021-09-11
Rated 5 out of
Soft material & true to size
I bought the Cob in black. New horse, beginning endurance training on the trails. It's soft and seems well made. The keepers are a hard plastic material and that would be my only negative. Doesn't affect use. Noseband needs a second keeper for excess after buckle. Some twist of throat latch but all synthetic bridles do this.
Date published: 2021-08-12