* Prices may differ from that shown
Years and years ago I remember buying a wonder bridle for my then horse and I remember it simply because I went with my mother to choose it (birthday present) and apart from being the most wonderful Havana colour with matching padding it had emblazoned on a large green oval situated on the end of the browband with the name 'Rhinegold' in regal gold lettering. At the age of 13 I thought this was beautiful the fact that it would look perfect on my horse made the day. It had been on order for several weeks and I literally counted down the days until I could pick it up - sad, yes but if you own horses you'll know exactly what I mean! A bridle to a horse owner is like a new handbag to a non-horse owning lady!
Fast forward quite a few years (lol!) I still get incredibly pleased about my horses tack and when my new boy arrived in January a bridle was a necessity (obviously) and although I didn't want to spend a fortune as I needed something for everyday use I still wanted something to be comfortable and hardwearing as I didn't want to replace it in 6 months time due to the poor quality of leather and fastenings. I went with the bridle I knew I could rely on as I own several for my other horses which is the Rhinegold Comfort Bridle. The exact same make which I had used all those years ago has come to my rescue many times since.
Rhinegold is a brand known for its low prices. I myself don't particularly like a lot of their items such as their rugs simply because they don't fit big horses well and by big I mean all over the 16.3hh mark but when it comes to their bridles I can't fault them. Best of all is that Rhinegold offer their comfort bridle a lot cheaper than other 'comfort' makes of bridle but in my experience (and use) Rhinegold are no different whatsoever. Rhinegold is a very accessable brand therefore most tack shops will be able to order their products in easily and they can easily be found online.
The Rhinegold Comfort Bridle is called a comfort bridle simply because of two things. Firstly, the headpiece of the bridle which lays flat on the top of the horse's head is nicely padded and the crank noseband is again padded which goes around the back of the horse's jaw line. The whole ideal of these padded pieces is to relieve stress and pressure that can be put upon the horse by a bridle. Obviously, the free needs to fit correctly and properly in the first instance otherwise it defeats the whole objective of the bridle. Many companies have brought out these 'comfort' bridles but they are all aimed at doing the same thing, making the horse more comfortable by relieving any un-needed pressure.
Basically to look at the bridle looks just like your average black leather bridle. It has all the components you'd expect a bridle would have (browband, head piece, nose band, throat lash, cheek pieces etc). It has silver buckle type fastenings which are pretty standard and it comes complete with rubber grip black reins. The bridle is made of actual leather and not synthetic types which can be used for bridles. It comes in three sizes, pony, cob and full which again is very standard therefore when buying this particular bridle it is beneficial that you make sure you buy the correct size and just like clothes not all sizes are the same brand to brand. Some come up bigger and some smaller.
What I first noticed about this bridle when it arrived (I ordered online) was how soft the leather actually was. There was a time that you had to oil a bridle so many times to get it supple enough before actually using it and now this bridle was ready to use immediately. I was really impressed at the leather and just how soft and supple it actually was especially when I only paid £45! The leather has a lovely shine to it which although not glossy just makes it look a bit more expensive than it actually is! The one item which can be a right pain to use when the leather is not supple are the reins as they tend to fix themselves and don't bend easily but the reins which come with the bridle are supple and completely flexible.
One thing I hate on a new bridle are the buckles as they can be incredibly stiff and when trying to adjust them (especially if adjusting on the horse's head) it can be a right nightmare especially when not just are the buckles stiff but also if the wholes in the leather haven't been hole punched wide enough so you struggle to get the buckle adjusted. Fortunately, I didn't have the amount of problems I have done in the past with a new bridle although the throat lash (this goes from one side of the bridle and does up on the other under the horse's throat) and I did have to re-punch the holes in the leather and I did have to do this on the noseband but this is hardly a major problem and it was a lot easier than previous bridles I have owned!
When on the horse I have always gone by if the buckles are all at eye level (noseband and cheekpieces) then the bridle fits (that's how I was taught at the grand age of 5 being left to tack up a pony!). Fortunately my new horse didn't need it adjusting too much for it to fit correctly (I won't go into the ins and outs of how tight everything should be!). Because he is a large (as in tall) horse sometimes the nosebands and browbands can be a little narrow and look quite odd but on the Rhinegold Comfort Bridle these components are actually a decent width so they don't look out of place. The leather is of good quality and even though I have owned this one for only a few months I have others that I've had a few years now and the leather doesn't stretch so even better as the fittings don't stretch.
When riding my horse I have noticed that he isn't uncomfortable as he will happily lower his head and relax through the neck and back. If the bridle was uncomfortable he'd certainly make damn sure that I knew about it but so far he has been going really well in it, clearly not causing any pressure anywhere. Even when the bridle has been taken off there is no rubbing or no marks where the bridle has been on his fur. So no complaints from me, I really do think the padded noseband and the headpiece really do help keep a horse comfortable and considering when I tried him before I bought him he did shake his head a lot (he was wearing a basic bridle no 'comfort' areas) and now there is no head shaking whatsoever, he hasn't done it once.
Being leather the bridle is easily cleaned simply wipe over with a damp cloth to get off the excess dirt and grime and then condition with a suitable leather product and its back to looking as good as new. Overall, I have no complaints whatsoever about the Rhinegold Comfort Bridle. It has suited my needs perfectly, fits my horse well and doesn't cause any unnecessary pressure or stress. Definitely a bridle I can recommend, suited for anyone's budget and best of all it doesn't look cheap!
~ Useful Info ~
Sizes: Pony, Cob and Full (may have to order Extra Full specially)
Price: From £45 upwards depending on where you purchase
Availability: Most tack stores and online shops