Affordable dressage bridle showdown

I’m looking to buy a <$200 dressage snaffle bridle with quality leather and stitching. I know I won’t get top of the line at that price point, but “good” seems possible. I’d like something that has a shaped monocrown, is not patent leather, has either a removable flash or no flash, and is not outrageously wide in the nose band. I’ve narrowed it down to Eponia (Classic Improved Anatomical), Solo (Sakari), and Lumiere (Madeline). Does anyone have experience with these brands and can give me an idea of a quality comparison? They are all similarly priced and fit my requirements, so I’d like to opt for the best quality if I can figure out which one is best. Or, if anyone has any suggestions for other, possibly better brands that fit the bill I’d love to hear them. Thanks!

I have the Solo Sakari. I’ve had it for a month and I really like it so far. For the price, it’s pretty nice leather and the padding inside the noseband and the crownpiece is great. I will say that the noseband IS wide. I was definitely not expecting how wide it was, but it looks good on my horse. She has a dishy, delicate face. I had to punch more holes in the flash so it would tighten enough. The original browband also looked great on her, but I swapped it out for a sparkly one. The flash is removable, but I don’t believe the flash attachment is removable. The monocrown is also only moderately shaped, so if you want a more dramatic shape, this is probably not the bridle you want.

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I just got a Solo bridle for Christmas - really nice, high quality and reasonable price. Definitely nicer than other bridles I’ve seen with a similar price point!

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Solo all the way. Fantastic quality for the price and absolutely superb customer service. And even better value for Americans because pricing is in CAD$

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Have you considered flexible fit? You can build your own, they have lots of cavessons to choose from.The quality is really fantastic.

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This hits most of your points.

https://www.dressageextensions.com/kieffer-perseus-snaffle-plain/p/X1-120392/

I LOVED this bridle. Good quality, good size for my Connemara cross face. Removable flash with no obnoxious loop, monocrown. It cleaned up well, broke in well. I think the Kieffer brand is very underrated.

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I have a Solo Simplicity and I am a little less enthusiastic about it. My main complaint is how stuff the noseband is. I also wish it had 1/2" instead of 5/8" cheeks as it looks rather clunky, especially in a cob size.

My Lumiere Mila bridle just shipped a day or two ago, not sure how long it will take to get here so I can compare the quality side by side. It does look like it has a crownpiece more like a PS Sweden, whereas the Solo is padded, but not very shaped.

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From Lumiere here are two that fit your description (black, not patent, completely removable flash) and they will swap out nose bands and mix part sizes to meet your needs. The website pricing is in Australian dollars so they are even more affordable than some of the others you mentioned. I have one on the way and hope the leather quality is as good as others have said. :crossed_fingers: I think the nose bands are probably not quite as bulky as the Solos.

The Abigail

The Anastasia

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I have had the Eponia Outlaw for about 3 years now and I have no real complaints about it. It’s decent leather that’s held up well and the padding is still lovely and soft. It’s flattering on my TB whose head is handsome rather than delicate but IIRC you can get it with a thinner noseband. I like how many options are available with Eponia bridles and I’d definitely buy another one.

ETA the bridle was still fairly new in this picture, the noseband is a bit less shiny now that it’s fully broken in.

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I have Solo Stellar and the leather is lovely. However, it isn’t my favorite bridle. The patent leather was not breaking in quickly, so it was still hard to tighten the noseband after a few months. The fit was also a bit weird on my horse (but that’s not necessarily a knock on the brand). I ended up replacing it with the Kavalkade Ivana to get the cheek pieces back away from the cheekbones on my particular horse, and he seems pleased.

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Schneider Saddlery sells a very nice bridle in your price range it’s called the Joseph Sterling, it’s made of leather from England, and the quality is just very nice. I have one - it conditioned up beautifully and is soft and supple.

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Solo Simplicity here in cob. I did opt for the patent, but the quality seems nice enough. Bought it this fall and it’s what I use for every ride. The nose band was a bit stiff at first but seems fine now.

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I bought a Flexible Fit on Black Friday because I was looking for something
very specific and basically impossible to find elsewhere (brown leather, cut-back monocrown, no noseband at all—to be used with a Myler combination bit). The customization options are really nice but the leather is only okay IMO.

Also, I was surprised by the foreign transaction fee. Their website has a Virginia address but I was charged in Australian dollars and would have used a different credit card if I had realized that. Not a huge deal but I think companies should be upfront about what currency you’ll be charged in.

You should contact them. I’ve bought things recently and not paid any fees. Maybe there was an error.

Huh, that’s interesting! Actually when I called my bank to figure out what transaction the surprise fee applied to, my bank refunded it as a goodwill gesture so I’m not out any money. I just would have liked to know upfront. That’s so strange that I was charged a fee and you weren’t! Thanks for letting me know in case I want to shop there again.

Thank you for the links. Let me know what you think when you get yours in the mail. The Lumiere bridles look so beautiful.

That bridle really suits your horse. My guy has a similar “handsome” head. I’m leaning toward Eponia because they have the truly plain (no bling, no patent, completely removeable flash) bridle that I seek, but I cannot find a size chart and they are not responding to my emails. I’m loath to order from a company that can’t do even basic customer support. Did you have service issues with them?

I had a smooth transaction and had my bridle in about a week IIRC. I didn’t have to contact them with any questions, though. If it helps my TB is a standard full/horse size in everything but if I need to I can make an O/S fit. All the buckles are pretty much on the middle holes. I can try to get you better pictures if you’d like! I do really like it for the price.

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Try contacting Eponia through their Facebook page. They have been very responsive whenever I have sent them a message with questions.

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I was able to get an Eponia size chart through FB Messenger. Thanks for the suggestion!

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