Ah, my first review! I’ve been looking forward to this part of my blog, because I love reading reviews from other riders and finding/sharing budget items for fellow equestrians is awesome.
At the beginning of May I sold my funky event bridle and used the money to purchase 2 O/S bridles from Jeffers Pet: the Uniquely English Deluxe dressage bridle and the Uniquely English Deluxe fancy stitched snaffle bridle. I was only planning to buy the dressage one as a show bridle, but the adorableness of that palomino model wearing the havana one totally nailed me, and I would get free shipping if I bought both. Duh, obvious decision here. I’ll review them based on first impressions – I haven’t had them long enough to speak to their longevity.
*Also a note to mention that I generally have really low expectations for tack (and other items I buy) and the cheaper the better, so this is all very much my personal opinion and others with more “refined” tastes might not agree. I also turn over tack pretty regularly when I find an “upgrade”, like in this situation. I went from 2 bridles to 4 when I bought these UE ones, so I’ll sell one of my older ones. Probably. Maybe?
Price – 10/10
The price was what originally caught my eye – as mentioned, I am a really budget spender, and almost never buy equestrian items brand new if I can help it (not having a full time job really affects this). Each bridle is approximately $60 CAD, which is an excellent price that you wouldn’t find locally even for a lot of used bridles, let alone brand new with extra padding everywhere PLUS a set of laced reins each. I have never come across a bridle that boasts all of the features of these ones for anywhere near this price. By purchasing 2 bridles, I qualified for free shipping within the USA, and I very handily live 20 minutes from the Canadian/US border, where they have tons of parcel drops for us Canadian shoppers. I spent $108 to get them to my parcel drop (10% discount for first order), and $6 to use the parcel drop. Plus gas to get there and back, but I don’t count that. That’s $114 for 2 brand new bridles – or $57 each. I believe that the cheapest bridle you can buy at our main local tack shop is $70 and it’s super basic (no padding, no monocrown, etc).
Presentation – 8/10
I don’t particularly care how my parcel shows up when I order online, as long as it’s in good condition when it arrives. Also maybe no demon-summoning spells written on the box in blood, or whatever (none of that this time, well done Jeffers). See disclaimer above re: low standards. Both bridles came in individual plastic bags with cute little snap tops and logos. The bags ripped as soon as I started to open them, but they went in the garbage anyway. I did consider keeping them in case I ever rehome the bridles, but the rips put an end to that thinking. The bridles were presentable and tidy when I pulled them out with everything intact. I also received 2 free 6oz containers of Perry’s Potion leather conditioner which was a sweet, thoughtful addition (the stuff is great, I used it on my half chaps, paddock boots and the bridles already).
- Extra points for the free leather conditioner
- Only reason the score is not higher is that I’ve seen product reviews by other bloggers like this one by Amanda where the stuff arrived with the cutest presentation and therefore I apparently have higher standards now about that kind of thing
- I took photos of the newly-opened box but they’ve disappeared into the void… So just picture a long brown cardboard box with bagged bridles inside
Quality – 7/10
My first impression was that the leather was pretty soft, albeit on the cheaper side (I recognize that for $60, I’m not going to be getting Sedgwick or CWD-level stuff), both of which I expected based on the one review they had on their website. The padding is super nice and squishy and was exactly what I was hoping for; it caught my eye right away. The noseband, browband and monocrown are all thickly padded which I adore. The fancy stitching on the snaffle bridle is super cute – it’s on both the browband and the noseband.
The havana colour is just like in the website photo: a warm, dark brown that goes with almost any horse coat. I did notice that after playing around with the straps, the ones on the dressage bridle were already showing a bit of mild cracking, so I lotioned them stat with the free conditioner I received… I expect I’ll have to keep that up regularly to maintain them.
The reins are made of the same leather as the bridles, but I don’t like laced leather reins on a good day, especially not ones that haven’t been broken in yet (rubber grip for the win, yo) so maybe I can rehome them for a bit of cash. The buckles are lightweight and I think stainless steel.
Fit – 5/10
This part was oddly the worst part of the whole bridle. Vesper is 100% a WB (aka O/S) size in bridles, as horse sized is too snug and she’s always got some extra room in a WB – every time. Except this time, apparently. This is the risk of ordering online, but I figured O/S is O/S across the board. The bridles fit her well everywhere except for the nosebands, which couldn’t even be done up on the largest hole. This was pretty shocking and frustrating, because the super wide nosebands were one of the big selling points for me. Even on a horse sized bridle, I can get the noseband done up on the longest (or second longest hole) – I just prefer her to have the extra wiggle room that an O/S one provides. So I would classify this O/S noseband as fitting more like a cob size?!, which is a huge discrepancy. I was able to have the nosebands extended by a local saddler, but that cost me almost half of what each bridle was priced at and took a week to get them back. This really put a dent in my excitement about receiving my new tack.
- Monocrown is anatomically shaped around her ears
- Browbands are a little snug, but this is normal as she takes a draft sized browband. Good reason to get some snazzy blinged out ones which I’ve been craving for ages
- Monocrown fit great, all other straps fit great
- Noseband fail HARD
All that math adds up to a final score of…
30/40 = 75%!
That’s pretty great overall in my humble opinion. Obviously the noseband issue really took a chunk off the score, but now that I’ve gotten them back and have actually used them I’m feeling more magnanimous about the whole situation.
Things to love:
- Super padding
- Extra wide nosebands
- Anatomic monocrown
- Removable flash
- Soft leather
Things to not love:
- Too-small nosebands
- Easily cracking leather
All that to say: I highly recommend these bridles for budget riders who want something that looks and feels like a much higher end bridle without breaking the bank (or even denting it, apparently). Just be sure to ask for some measurements from customer service before ordering a size to be sure the fit will suit your horse.
It’s also maybe a good thing that Jeffers is only in the US, because their prices in general are so absurdly awesome and if they had a location nearby, I would probably be homeless and sleeping in my horse’s stall.