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Have you ever considered using alternative tack? I’ve always been attracted to the easy care of biothane. When I saw it in purple one day, I jumped on it – just because I thought it would be fun! I went for a set: bridle, reins, and breastcollar.
The first time I put these on my horse, I had EVERYONE’s attention!
The bridle is delightful! With buckle adjustments at the bit and the cheek, I can really customize the fit of the bridle. It came with a noseband, but I found that it didn’t actually seem to make any difference, so I started riding without it. In an emergency, I discovered that the noseband was perfect for hanging a 5-gallon water bucket in a stall at a horse show! If that doesn’t attest to strength and durability, I don’t know what would!! Next time, I would get a separate full cavesson. On the other hand, I feel like a horse is perfectly capable of riding nicely and on the bit without the use of nosebands or cavessons, so that is no real loss. It just means that there is more of my pony’s delicate face to show off!
Fancy Pony is known for her adjustability in the neck, and the reins I need to free walk are much different from the reins I need for dressage work. My reins came in a standard length, and as usual, we had moments where the looped end could fall around my toe (yes, this happened once on a hunter course – I quietly lowered my hands and swung them forward in time with the canter, never taking my eyes off of my next fence). Since my reins have Conway buckles at the bit ends, I just punched a hole 8” up the reins and moved the buckles! Wa-la! Now, they are 4” shorter on each side! The material is easy to punch (as easy as leather, anyway), and I could not have made that simple adjustment on any of my traditional English reins! I found these reins to be a perfect compromise between the smoothness of leather and the grip of rubber reins. They don't feel bulky in the hand as some rubber reins do. The don't slide right through my fingers like other plain leather reins, either.
Surprising to me, the breastcollar was the prize piece in this set! I’ve never had a problem with my saddle sliding back, so I knew the breastcollar would be just for show. Or would it?
Fancy Pony started taking control over the jumps. Coach would watch her blow through my aids and charge into the grid, horrified. She told me, in her tactful style, “If she were *my* horse, I would put her in a running martingale before that nonsense becomes a habit…”
So, I took my running martingale and put it on the biothane breastcollar in the schooling ring before taking it cross-country. Every horse has a different shape, and breastcollars cannot be universal to them all. The buckles on each shoulder let me find the perfect fit for my narrow-chested pony. There is another adjustment near the girth. The scissor snap on the wither strap makes the entire thing easy to put on without unhooking a cross-tie!
|Functional and safe!|
I could have ordered (and still might) a separate cavesson in place of the included noseband, which would give me more adjustability on noseband placement and would sit more traditionally under the bridle. I could also get these pieces in black or brown, which would look more traditional but still stand up to every day abuse. I like how the material works against the skin like neoprene: it slides over sweat rather than stick to it. Fancy Pony offers no complaints and charges around the cross-country course with confidence in our wild-colored biothane!