Budget bridles that feel expensive

My mare has finally decided that being a dressage horse is not a fate worse than death and has earned herself a custom saddle and now needs a black bridle.

I’m looking for a budget friendly bridle, anatomic would be great. Doesn’t need to have a crank, and we don’t use a flash. Doesn’t need to come with reins as I have quite a few. Needs to be available in cob size. Bonus for a patent noseband. I have my own browband.


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Solo Equine for sure if you want patent and cob size! I love Passier and my Vespucci as well which is not budget-friendly new but used was $50. It’s worth a quick glimpse through ebay or your local tack consignment to see what’s out there.

Also check out this thread:

My Solo Equine is gorgeous, but the noseband never really broke in so the fit on the horse was funky. I ended up putting the horse in a Kavalkade Ivana that I adore.

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I had similar requirements and got the Kalvakade Ivana patent bridle a few months ago. Flash is totally removable including the tab (drives me crazy to have the tab dangling there.) The reins that came with it are pretty flimsy, so I replaced them with a set I already. It seems to run big, I got it in cob which my horse always wears and I’m a hole or two up from normal. Leather felt pretty stiff and cheap to start but has actually softened up quite nicely. I like the noseband - it’s not a crank but has padding under the chin. Definitely a struggle to use the noseband until it broke in (and I chopped one keeper off, there were and aggressive amount of them) but now I’m really happy with the bridle. If you can get over the initial stiff leather it breaks in quite nicely.

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Joseph Sterling is great quality for the price. They don’t have a lot of styles, but if they have what you want, could be a good choice. Sold through Schneider’s.

I’ve been quite happy with my Lumiere bridle after about a year. I wouldn’t say it has a high-end feel, but good for the very reasonable price.


I love my Henry James

Everyone that’s handled my Eponia Equestrian Bridle loves it. I have the Great Gastby model which has worn and maintained beautifully through not always meticulous care. There are patent noseband options, though it isn’t my preference.

I recently received the Solo Sakari - Can’t speak to longevity, but I was impressed with the quality for the price point. The leather is soft, the stitching is even, and looks great on my horse.

My mare’s snaffle bridle is the Joseph Sterling Anatomic Monocrown and I’ve gotten a number of compliments on it. The leather quality is good (caveat, I never used the included reins so can’t comment there) and they seem to be always having some sort of sale. The flash is a little weird in that it’s mostly rolled so if you want the rolled part on top you need to buckle it under the chin but if you don’t use it, that’s moot.

How is the fit on that one? I’m considering buying it for my mare who runs towards the large size of cob. The crown on her cob Lumiere is a little small, and one review said the JS in cob was small, so I’m leaning towards full. Will probably wait for a sale though, since I don’t NEED it.

If your mare is the large side of cob, a full probably will be fine. My mare is cob in some measurements, full in others (Stampede had to put together a custom combination for her double) and the only part of the full J Sterling bridle that is large is the muzzle area so the crank and flash are pretty much as small as it can go. You can see the full on her in the reviews on the the schneiders tack - the paint mare.

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Another vote for Joseph Sterling. I can’t say enough about the quality for the price. As far as my experience has shown they fit true to size


I bought a Schockemuhle bridle, not expensive, and have been very pleased with the quality. It has a monocrown, and the cavesson is padded under the chin even tho it’s not a crank. It does not get proper care but is holding up nicely!

Has anyone tried the new Bobby’s anatomical bridle (https://bobbystack.com/shop/anatomical-bridle/)? I have had good luck with their products (decent quality for a fair price) in the past but wanted input. I can’t really see the crown piece, so don’t know how/if it is shaped. I’m also checking (request sent to the company) to determine if it is legal for USDF shows. They are having a spring sale, so I’m a bit more willing to take a risk but would love some thoughts :wink: Thanks for any information!

The thing about Bobby’s dressage bridles is that they all seem to come with buckles. I hate buckles -
it my opinion they are clunky and distacting. . I much prefer hook studs. . .

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Mare in question.


Hmm, I’ve been thinking about trying my 6 yo in a Micklem. This looks like a pretty exact copy of the design, so I imagine it would be legal. The jaw strap looks to be high enough that you wouldn’t need a throatlatch per the rules. With the sale I’m tempted to give it a shot!

I love my Kavalkade bridle. This is my second one. The leather is lovely and it is padded. I also just picked up some of their leathers. They too are lovely.

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I have a Kavalkade and it has not held up well over time. It stretched and my horse is on the last hole of each strap. I can’t imagine what they think a horse-sized head is, and I don’t condition it to facilitate stretching. It’s my least favorite bridle The crank leather is fantastic, though.

Love your coat!