Finally I bought Gabe a new bridle! I've been using a bridle I cobbled together from pieces parts in my tack trunk and not only did it look funny (black noseband with white piping paired with a havana browband with decorative stitching and cheek pieces in a really light brown. Oh, so attractive!) but it didn't fit very well. This boy has a BIG head! He has a 17" browband measurement but all I could find was a 16" browband. It fits, but it's a tad snug. I'm hoping it stretches a bit with oiling and use.
Everything else fits nicely and it looks fabulous on him. It's a dark chocolate brown, raised noseband and browband with decorative stitching. I really, really didn't want the raised leather or the decorative stitching but the only bridle my local tack shop carried that was flat and plain in dark leather was a Passier that cost $270. I'm not quite ready to drop that kind of money on a bridle! Maybe once we start showing and winning or I win the lottery, but until then, I'll have to be happy with raised tack. Ugh. I just want a nice, flat, wide bridle. Why is it so hard to find simple, plain tack?
A couple of weeks ago I bought a new bit for him because none of mine fit him. All of my bits are 5" mouths...he has a 6" mouth. Yes, I measured it three times, he's just big! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a bit with a 6" mouth that isn't a draft horse driving bit? Holy moley. I found a full cheek snaffle with a 6" mouth and 5.5" cheeks. So I got the keepers, fitted the bit and the keepers onto the cobbled together bridle and stuck it on him. Oh. My. He absolutely HATED that bit. HATED. I'm guessing he really disliked the poll pressure produced by the long cheeks and the keepers. He reacted rather violently and was kind of scary. I pulled that bit off FAST! There goes $30 on nothing. Did you know you can't return bits? *sigh*
So, back to the drawing board. I finally found a 5 3/4" mouth eggbutt snaffle. Not exactly what I wanted...I was looking for a 6" D-ring with a copper mouth. No luck. So, I brought the eggbutt home, stuck it on his new bridle and gave it a go last night.
He loved it. He chewed and chewed and chewed that bit, reached his head down, responded softly and beautifully to the pressure. Very pleased, I am. Forward progress continues.
My next big purchase will be a new saddle for him. My current Collegiate Eventer doesn't fit as well as I'd like. Because he has such a high, wide wither I need a saddle with "wither panels" to fill in that space. And I'd like one that's a bit wider. But that's a ways down the road, I think. I can't afford to spend $1,000+ on a saddle right now, but I'm saving my nickels towards one!
All the beasts are shedding like mad, Gabe most of all. I think I was wearing just as much of his hair as he was after our grooming session! Only 13 more days til spring! YAY!!!! And the time change is this weekend, meaning there will be MORE daylight at the end of the day again. Double YAY!