Our reviewer liked the look of this bridle and found it highly adjustable, good quality and good value for money
There’s a certain feel to decent quality leather that you just can’t replicate with the cheap stuff, and it’s a hard quality to assess — particularly when shopping online. This bridle does not disappoint on the quality front.
The horse it was tried on is a 15.2hh warmblood, whose head seems to fluctuate between cob and full, dependant on the brand. The cob size bridle was far too small for her, so I’d recommend anyone wavering between the two to bear that in mind.
We went for a full size in the end, which was an excellent fit.
Some double bridles I’ve tried have been bulky behind the horse’s ears and ended up pressing on the base of them. The way the Swindon is shaped behind the horse’s ears means it sits well behind the sensitive bulbs of the ears and remains clear of them even after a ridden session. The section over the poll area is wider, to distribute the pressure more evenly.
The browband is very sparkly, with two rows of large, clear crystals. They’re well set with strong clasps which don’t catch in the sponge when cleaning. Running a damp cloth over the crystals (no saddle soap) brought them back to a brilliant shine.
I used the bridle for eight months both for everyday and competition use and it has stood up to the task really well. No stones are loose or have fallen out and the construction of the whole bridle feels sturdy.
However, the BR website states that the throatlash is rolled, but it isn’t in the picture or in reality. I like how the throatlash buckles up at the bottom, leaving clean lines on the horse’s face on both sides. There’s also a little flap of leather to protect the horse’s cheek from the buckle of the throatlash. The rolled elements refine the overall look and the rolled leather feels durable and well made.
The noseband is wide, which helps out horses who don’t have the most beautiful face, but not so wide that it swamps them. The white padding option is great for horses with no or little white on their face.
The browband is gently curved, another bridle feature that I feel helps horses to look more attractive. It slides up and down easily on the headpiece, so you can position it where you want.
The padding around the noseband – including on the back of the crank – is lovely and soft. The noseband is shaped, being a bit thinner on the sides than over the bridge of the nose. This means the horse isn’t pinched below it when the rider takes up a contact and the bits lift in the horse’s mouth.
I’ll admit that I didn’t clean the white padding as carefully as I could have every time I used the bridle, but before shows I gave it some TLC and the white leather came up very clean.
Bridles where the keepers don’t fit properly drive me mad. Luckily the Swindon’s keepers are all the right size and you don’t find yourself fighting to push a strap through a minute hole or with flapping bits on the cheek pieces where they’ve fallen down during a ride.
The patent leather on the noseband has a robust finish and has not worn or scratched, unlike some cheaper patent-look nosebands I’ve used. Still, I would not allow my horse to rub her head on anything (her own leg included) while wearing the bridle!
All in all, this is a quality bridle that works well anatomically, is highly adjustable and looks great. It’s not cheap, but it feels like a product that would last and last, making it good value for money. I’d definitely look to this model and brand again in future. Just remember that it doesn’t come with reins