Ergonomic/anatomical bridles?

I like the idea of anatomical bridles and I think the general idea makes sense (less pressure on facial nerve, reduce pressure around ears, etc etc) but I was curious what other people’s thoughts are?

Andddd a spin-off question- I do Eventing I have lots of flexibility on the style of my bridle. I have a 4 yo who goes nicely in a Schockemohle delta that is intended to be his jumping bridle. I don’t necessarily want to purchase the same in black because I don’t think the quality quite matches the price point. Currently he doesn’t need a flash, crank noseband, etc. but I’d like to get him something nice in black that will go with his dressage saddle. What brands/styles do you all like?

I got a Passier anatomic ( for my horse. Previously he had a Bobby’s which had the contoured ears and monocrown, but not anatomical. He would occasionally stop to rub his face on his leg, and liked to rub his face on me after our ride, so I was wondering if an anatomical one would change that. It did not, but I like the Passier. It is nice quality, not buttery soft out of the box but is aging nicely. It has a removable flash, though then you do still have the loop on the noseband which I know some people don’t like.

If you want proven, go with Fairfax.

The rest is just marketing mumbo jumbo.

Wait a few years for a non Shockemoehle option to come out. The Delta has the right idea with the cheek pieces affixing to the noseband piece. But the price point for quality, like you said, is quite poor. Mine broke on me almost instantly.

There is the Stubben Freedom, but the price point is also pretty high and at that point I’d go with Fairfax.

Some design considerations will make any bridle more comfortable: generous browband, padded mono (not single) crown, adjustable noseband on both sides (for even tension disbursement), cutback crown, wide noseband, and nosebands with metal o rings on each side.

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I have a few PS of Swedens, a Schockemohle, and a Kavalkade Ivana. The Kavalkade is the cheapest, but also my favorite. My horse has prominent cheek bones, and the curved connection point keeps the noseband out of the way.

What is the significance of the metal rings on the noseband? And are the benefits lost if you ride without a noseband?

I am basically a trail rider, but I have a dressage saddle and need to get a new bridle, my favorite Stubben is 15+ years old and showing it’s wear. I liked the Stubben Freedom, but I also always like your opinions!


There are some interesting British possibilities beyond the Fairfax. I’ve recently been looking at ergonomic bridles in black for my mare, so I’ve spent way too much time looking at websites!

The Quantum bridle looks very cool. It incorporates some of the same ideas as the Stubben Freedom (the cheek pieces that sweep back away from the eyes). They are pricey, though, and don’t seem to have a U.S. distributor.

Jeffries has a Gentle bridle that is more conventional looking but seems to be addressing some of the same issues in terms of avoiding pressure on the sides of the head. Also pricey, also I have not seen a U.S. distributor.

EvoEquine is a smaller manufacturer based in Britain. It too does not have a U.S. distributor (hmm, I wonder if there’s a pattern here?), but they produce a wider range of bridles, most of which are ergonomic/anatomic, at a lower price point. Not cheap by any means but less than the Fairfax, Quantum, and Jeffries.

I’ve actually ordered a bridle from EvoEquine in the past few days, so I obviously haven’t received it yet. But I’m hoping that my optimism will be rewarded!

Good luck on your search! I constantly kept coming back to COTH as I searched to see what the collective wisdom was on various bridles. Priceless, if also time-consuming!

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Metal rings on each side help distribute pressure better and more evenly. A single strap of leather does not have much give or ways to go.

Riding without a noseband is probably the most comfortable thing if a bridle and bit have to be worn, from the horse’s perspective. But not legal in many disciplines.


You will have to let us know what you think of the EvoEquine bridle @Posting_Trot! I had them on my list but ended up getting a Henry James instead.

I’ve been pining after these bridles, but they don’t ship to the US :sob:
I like how they can pass as a traditional bridle but still provide the horse comfort with the shaped crown and the throatlatch design.

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i ordered a couple of bridles yesterday, one of them is this. Having Equiture make a custom megabling browband to replace the one that comes-with however. Since I don’t like to use a flash, this little puppy on this bridle is gonna come right off.

edit: damn! i just saw this bridle for 30$ less at another store :frowning:

My horse really seems to like the Acavallo Amazzone. I like that the noseband isn’t quite so overwhelming on his face as some of the other brands (Thoroughbred here).

I wish someone at usef would get back to me on if it’s legal for usef/usdf shows though, it’s been at least a month since i emailed to ask and crickets. I switched back to a regular snaffle to go to our last show and definitely felt a difference in the contact

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There’s no reason it wouldn’t be legal, looking at the rulebook, but it would be nice to see an answer.

It has all the necessary prerequisites – crownpiece, throatlatch, browband, noseband attached to the crown piece, independent cheek straps for bit… The only thing I see that makes it a departure from a traditional bridle is that the cheekpiece strap to the noseband goes into a metal ring versus being stitched onto the leather of the noseband… There is nothing in the rulebook that says the leather cheek piece must affix to leather versus a ring. Grackle (figure 8) nosebands are a prime example.

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How do you like the leather quality of the Acavallo bridles?

Agreed. I just looked at it and I would have no qualms about showing in one of those.

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It’s not a metal ring, it has metal “prongs” that insert into the noseband itself to act as an attachment point. Further, the crown piece is not a continuous piece of leather, it has a kind of thin foam pad where the leather padding is cut away.

I just took the bridle off so pardon the dirt!

I had meant to find the TD to ask about it but a 7:30 ride time precluded that.

Thanks for the close up! That is a very clever set up. It is legal in the spirit of the rules but, as we know, sometimes the USEF is very particular and selective about what brands are permissible… They didn’t want to approve any sort of ergonomic bridle after Micklem, it took PS of Sweden forever to get approved.

The headstall is legal. A few lines from Stubben, PSoS, Antares, and Arion have that headstall.

About what you would expect for a $200 bridle. Not $h*t but not totally drool worthy

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Yeah, it’s a lovely concept and my forever fussy in the contact Thoroughbred is definitely happier in it than his admittedly very regular and non-anatomic snaffle or the double and i have been very impressed for the price point. But that damn metal in the noseband wants me to get an official word on it.

Thanks for letting me know about the headstall! I had given up on googling all the randomly “approved bridles” to try and find something that matched, but you’re absolutely right, if the noseband ends up being an issue perhaps I’ll try one of those instead. Some of those are just way out of my budget!

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yes. that would be the issue.

“2. For Training, First and Second Level tests and FEI Pony tests, a plain snaffle bridle is required with a
regular cavesson, a dropped noseband, a flash noseband (a combination of a cavesson noseband and a
dropped noseband attachment) or a crossed noseband. Except for the FEI Pony tests, a crescent
noseband is also permitted at these levels. Except for the crescent noseband, buckles and a small disk of
sheepskin, which may be used in the intersection of the two leather straps of a crossed noseband, the
headstall and cavesson/noseband of the bridle must be made entirely of leather or leather-like material. A
padded cavesson/noseband and crownpiece are allowed. A browband is required, and except for the
parts that attach to the crownpiece or headstall, is not required to be made of leather or leather-like

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sorry, what’s a crescent noseband?

A crescent has one strap over the front of the nose, but two pieces that buckle in back - one up where a normal noseband would be and one down where a drop would be. The straps are connected by a piece of metal.

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