Affordable dressage bridle showdown

Eponia was super responsive to me - I ordered a horse-sized bridle and the noseband was way to big for my guy who has a long face and teeny tiny mouth and nose. They allowed me to swap out just the noseband for a cob one. The quality is great and I love that you can remove the flash without that stupid loop on the noseband.


I ended up ordering the Eponia Classic Anatomic bridle. I’ll let you guys know what I think when it arrives. I’ve included the Eponia size chart that they sent to me. They don’t have it on their website for some reason and I figured others might be looking for the info.

Headbands are drop-shaped to follow the contour of the horse’s forehead. Xfull 45 cm, Full 43 cm, Cob 41 cm

Noseband measured third hole from the end: XFull 66cm, Full 62 cm, cob 58 cm Pony 52 cm.

Crown: Xfull 109cm, Full 97cm, Cob 92, Pony 88. They also provided measurements mixing different size crown and cheek pieces, so contact them if you need to do that to fit your horse.


My husband has some rubber gripped Lumiere reins which are beautiful quality. Especially for such a good price.

I have a Mila bridle on the way to try on my Friesian mare who head shakes in the walk but doesn’t do it any other time.

The Eponia bridles are lovely. I saw them at the Kentucky 3 day a few years ago and wanted one so badly.

For future reference (or anyone else reading), check out Henry James bridles from the UK as well. This is what I ended up ordering after tons of research. I’m quite happy with it. The leather is still not quite as soft as I’d like after a year of use but I haven’t conditioned it as often as I should. I’m guessing it will soften up to my liking after some more abuse and will end up lasting forever. The dressage noseband is thicker but they have other options as well, super easy to mix and match to get a perfect fit. And their reins are amazing!!

I also found these options while looking that are all around the same pricepoint.

I just looked at the Lumiere bridles, and they look beautiful!

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I’ve had a few SD Design bridles - the oldest for about 3 years now - and been very happy with them.

The Eponia bridle arrived about a week after I placed the order. I’m still working on getting the leather conditioned, but it seems pretty smooth and supple. The stitching is tight and finished correctly and the padding is very soft. The padding is so soft that I wonder about its longevity - it seems like it would be very easy to scratch and even tear, but that is yet to be seen. The monocrown sits very nicely on my horse’s head, leaving space around his ears. The noseband design is lovely, with the fully removable flash, soft padding all the way around, and slightly wide but not massive width that suits my horse’s head. The reins are rubberized nylon with leather stops that work well for schooling. I’ll probably switch out to full leather ones for shows.

There are a few surprises about the bridle, mainly because it is described and photographed on the website either incorrectly or incompletely. The throatlash is adjustable on both sides, which I like but was not expecting. My horse is usually a horse size in everything but the throatlash. The ability to adjust on both sides mean I can get it to fit my horse correctly and even replace the throatlash if needed. The website depicts and I was expecting hook stud cheek pieces, but the bridle I received has buckle bit attachments. This was a disappointment as I much prefer the look of hook stud. I am thinking of contacting Eponia to see if I can exchange for hook stud.

Overall, I think it is a nice bridle for the price and my horse seems to like it. Please excuse my wooly winter beast in the photos. Without daily doses of purple shampoo he is basically a walking poo stain.


My Lumiere Mila arrived yesterday, and I’m really pleased with it. I just included a note in the order that I would prefer a full size browband and oversize reins with my cob bridle, and that is what I got. The browband is quite generous for a full, and has black stones, where I was expecting gray. However, this is a happy accident because it is more suited for my larger horse who has a wide blaze. The bridle is nice and supple out of the box, all the edges are smooth and stitching is tight. The noseband is soft, and looks like it will conform to my horse’s face quickly. The crown piece is nicely shaped and padded, but if I could make one small complaint, the length between the splits should be slightly longer, so for a larger cob, a Full size crown might be better. I also purchased some rolled reins and they look quite nice and will complement my rolled Otto Schumacher bridle. Both sets of rubber reins have stops, which I wasn’t expecting, but it might be that I didn’t read carefully enough. I’ll try removing stops from the reins that came with the Mila. Usually I don’t expect to use the reins that come with a bridle, so it’s a bonus that these are closer to what I’ll actually use.

Here is a pic, though my mare wasn’t super into modeling, and I am still fiddling with the adjustment. The browband is one I had on hand, not what came with the bridle.


Thanks for updating us @catchcan and @outerbanks77! It’s always nice to see photos of products from actual people, rather than the stock photos.

Eta: here’s a photo of my mare in her Henry James bridle.


That looks really nice! I looked pretty hard at those bridles a while ago but at the time they didn’t have all the pieces I needed in stock. I really like the design of the throatlatch and side buckles on their bridles.

My snaffle from Lumiere arrived a couple of days ago (covid has delayed express delivery so it took about three weeks, but I did have tracking info that kept me updated). The leather quality and workmanship are quite nice. Unfortunately they shipped me a stock bridle instead of swapping out the browband to one I preferred and putting cob sized nose and cheek pieces on the full bridle as I requested. I received a prompt response to my email with an offer to ship me a correct new bridle and a return shipping label. Bummer that I can’t start using the new bridle yet, but I do think the quality for the price is worth the wait and Eliza at the company has been quick and helpful responding to my initial sizing questions and now with my exchange issue. Fingers crossed that this will all be sorted out soon.


Well…Lumiere’s second shipment arrived yesterday with a completely wrong bridle (rolled, patent, and wrong browband, no idea of the size) and no prepaid return label as promised to return the first erroneous bridle. I’m hoping they can sort this mess out. The bridles a beautiful, just not what I ordered.

Hoping third times is the charm… :crossed_fingers:

Any luck Badger?

Outerbanks - is the noseband generously sized in cob? My horse is currently in full sized crownpiece and cob sized everything else and the noseband just fits on the last hole. (Solo Equine)

The owner of Lumiere contacted me directly, apologized for the delays, told me to start using the first bridle and to keep it even after and they sent me the correct sized noseband and cheek pieces and the different browband I’d ordered. The replacement parts arrived this weekend. I’m delighted with the bridle. The combination of full sized head stall and browband and cobsized noseband and cheek pieces are a really good fit. I only had to punch holes in the flash to get it tight enough. I like the padding and the workmanship and think it’s a very attractive bridle for the price. The company also sent me a prepaid DHL shipping label to return the second bridle but their local shipping partner wouldn’t take the package as a drop off. So I’m still working on that bit.

Here’s my mare. She has a wide jowel and forehead with a tiny muzzle. The flash and the pointy bit of leather that holds is are completely removable. Reins were included. $168 included shipping.


MSM just email Lumiere with the measurements you need and they will tell you which size noseband will fit best.