Ovation or KL Select- another bridle thread

APPARENTLY the hunters don’t love when we show up in a figure 8 even though it’s a local janky schooling show. They still let us compete but we get ~angry glares~.

So! I have decided to but Sunny his 5th bridle. We already have the Schockemohle for dressage, the Pure Harmony figure 8 for jump/xc (amazing bridle btw), the royal figure 8 for trails, and the Horze for lessons.

This bridle will replace the Horze (as it is falling apart) and also function as a bridle for hunter shows.

I love the look of a slightly wider, square raised cavesson, but not a padded one since Suns has a delicate face TB face. I also love fancy stitching. This bridle DOES NOT need to feel or look like a New Canaan (god I wish). It just needs to take conditioner well and hold up. Hopefully it will darken a tad as well.

I am looking at 2 bridles specifically.

Option A: Ovation Fancy Raised Comfort Crown Wide Noseband Bridle with Fancy Raised Reins

I really like the look and sound of this one. It comes with reins so that’s nice and it is fancy stitched. It says it will take oil and I def support that. I like the padded crown as well. My secret source has them for $109 in cob size. I have heard good things about ovation.

Option B: Black Oak by KL Select Spruce Hunter Bridle

This one is also really pretty. I think I prefer the color in this one. My concern is the leather. It looks kind of plasticy in the picture and I’m curious about how it takes oil/conditioner. It doesn’t have a padded crown. This bridle is $134.99. Is it worth the slightly higher price? I feel like I recall hearing negative things about the KL Select line.


I just got one of the Ovation ones and it’s pretty nice. The leather is nothing like any of the fancier bridles, a little stiff (I also haven’t conditioned it much though, I’m sure it will get better), but it looks good and makes sense for the price.
Honestly, I would recommend it, but this is with no knowledge of the KL select ones.

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I picked up an ovation for a sales horse that didn’t fit in any of my nicer bridles. I hate it. The leather feels very cheap and flimsy.

I haven’t see. KL Select’s black oak line in person. Their more expensive products have really nice leather, but I suspect that’s the difference in price.

Have you looked online to see if there’s a nicer quality bridle available used? I’ve found Vespucci and other brands on eBay before for a fraction of the price and with a lot of life less.

I’m also a fan of the smartpak Welfleet wide noseband bridle. Though I’ve heard they’ve changed it since I first bought it, so I don’t know if the quality has taken a hit or not.

The Wellfleets are depressingly gross now. :frowning:
I have looked at ebay. Unfortunately, I can’t find many of the “derby style” bridles in my price range, even used. They are either Beval heritage bridles (which I’ve heard had a huge drop in quality) or are oversized/warmblood.

I’m not really a fan of either of those options, but will throw out a couple of other ones at similar price points that I have owned and liked. Aramas has a non-padded wider noseband one that I like, as does Nunn Finer. Both come with reins and I liked both better than the Ovation one for the price.


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I just ordered and returned a ton of bridles. Dover’s nice line (not Indulge) was garbage, and the crown piece was pencil thin. Schokemoele (how ever you spell that) was absolutely not worth the upped price - stitching and leather were iffy. I ordered the ovation you’re looking at. STIFF, but a nice looking bridle - I was looking for padded though, so it got returned. I’m sure with conditioning and wear it would supple nicely.

After ordering and returning so many, I ended up sticking with the cheapie padded Ovation. The increase in quality did not match the increase in price for the brands that I tried. I had a few others in mind, but when I can’t get a response on a question from their customer service, they get nixxed.

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That’s disappointing :frowning: I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the bridle turned out to be, especially since I got it on close out so it was super affordable. But I’ve heard from several people now that the Welfleet line took a hit. Such a shame.

What about Bobby’s? Again, I haven’t seen them recently, but they’ve been decent for the money in the past.

I’ve also found that buying from Europe means you can find a lot of nicer brands cheaper. I’ve seen Dyon bridles, for instance, in the same price range as the Ovation if you buy overseas. Even including shipping costs.

I love the quality of my Butet bridle. I honestly have gone through all the brands listed and when I bought my Butet bridle used off FB marketplace for under $200, I was hoping this would be “the” bridle. I was right! The leather is UNREAL! Saving to order the same one in black- downside is they are insanely expensive new. But worth every penny.

I also really like Dy’on and Edgewood bridles if I could not get a Butet.

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Why not just buy a new noseband for your figure-8 bridle you already like?

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I contacted a friend who did that with her pure harmony. She said since they were broken in at different times, the colors didn’t quite match.

I was just bridle shopping to replace an Edgewood (my daughter bit the noseband with her first tooth, and for sentimental reasons I don’t want it to be my every day).

Here’s what I found:

Smartpak Harwich - I returned because I was not impressed with the quality. The leather looked painted and cheap.

KL Select (Italia Middleburg line) - I am surprisingly very happy with the quality (being an Edgewood gal). I will note that the Black Oak is their lower level offering, and I’ve heard that it’s on par with Smartpak’s offering.

I went with a Hadfield’s because it was 50% off, so it might be worth giving them a call. It wasn’t advertised; I just happened to email them about another bridle, and it was mentioned.

If I was purchasing a new bridle, I’d spend it on a better bridle (Edgewood or Hadfield’s), adding reins later if I was trying to save money. I’m a firm believer in buy it nice or buy it twice (or don’t let your kid near nice things).


Check out the classic collection. I believe they are going for 115 Euro, but there are other models as well.

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I have a slightly higher price point Ovation (I think it was $200ish, with the Wickett & Craig leather) and it’s looking great on year 5 of use. It’ll never be Dyon or old Beval soft, but it’s really holding up well.


I normally do buy much nicer tack! The only reason I had that Horze bridle was that it was my first bridle for Sunny (when I knew nothing about tack) and I’ve had it almost 4 years. I absolutely baby my tack so even the lower quality stuff lasts a while. If I was using this hunter bridle at shows that I actually cared about I definitely would be getting a nicer bridle. I pretty much just need to replace the schooling bridle and have something hunter legal. I was originally going to get a bridle from bridlesandreins.com since I got Sunny’s first fig 8 from there. But, it seems ovation is better for the money.

If that’s the case, I might go post an ISO listing on English Tack Trader on Facebook and see if you could pick up a nice used one for even less than a new Ovation one. Bobby’s would also have some less expensive options, but I seem to recall their stuff mostly being padded which wasn’t what you were looking for.


I have a KL select red barn Tryon for a couple of mine and I love it. The leather feels nice and shows up the correct color so you don’t have to soak it in oil to make it look nice.

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Bobby’s quality has also dropped big time, even the high end lines.

I have always liked all of the Ovation products I have owned, including my bridle. I would compare my Ovation bridle to my HK Americana, which I also consider a nice bridle. Mine is about 10 years old though, so I’m not sure if the quality has changed.

I haven’t been impressed with the Black Oak bridles I’ve seen, personally. They seem to have a plasticky, painted on finish that seems like it would develop that wrinkled look over time. I personally think Ovation is a much better value.

I also think the comment about looking for a used bridle is smart, too, as I’ve found some REALLY nice used bridles for a steal. A barely used show condition older Crosby for $50, an ancient England-made Crump for $20, a brand new Hadfield’s for around $90 (albeit without reins, but still a great deal considering the retail price), a nearly new Crosby XL Excel for $25 (also without reins, but I purchased a nice set for cheap with it), a nearly new Beval New Canaan that I believe was around $120, and a brand new gorgeous Northrun for $65, for example. From what I’ve seen of Ovation, I don’t think you can go wrong for a solid bridle that looks nice and will do the job and is good quality for the price, though, especially if you’re looking for a particular look with the unpadded slightly wider square raised noseband.

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Damn! You’re a good deal hunter!! Where do you shop? My best deal was a barely used voltaire girth for $95, but I sent it to a friend.

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