A western product made it out here on Review Wednesday! Since last week I wrote about the Ovation bridle this week I will write about a western bridle I’ve had for about a year or so. Today we’ll go over the Cashel Rawhide One-ear Headstall.
There were a lot of things I liked about the bridle: the rawhide, the intricate buckles, how easy it is to change bits, and the fact that when I saw it in the store it was $40. Now it is about $45+ depending on where you find it. This was a bit of an impulse purchase when I bought it – I wanted a western bridle that didn’t require too much maintenance, but would end up being a training bridle before I’d switch out the bits to my show headstall. And as many pictures I posted can attest – the bridle actually ended up becoming my show bridle.
The fit is what I usually expect for a western bridle. It’s a little big on her, but I didn’t need to punch any holes and it’s not on the tightest holes, either. Her head is cob-sized, so I’d say this would fit most western horses from maybe 14.3 up to 16.2-ish hands.
There isn’t too much to say except for $40 it’s a nice bridle that does it’s job. English bridle works have spoiled me to really quality leather, so I won’t say that the leather is really good because I’ve felt much better. The leather is a bit scratchy and not the most supple. I’ve tried softening it with neatsfoot and Passier lederbalsam, but it’s only softened a little. The rawhide is nicely done, and despite rawhide being pretty much impossible to clean it really hasn’t gotten dirty despite Amber’s propensity to sweat buckets. The leather has lasted this long without a problem, but then again while I rode in it nearly every day for a few months, I was also not switching bits which could potentially wear out the thinner leather where the bit is attached faster than other parts of the bridle.
I actually started to show in the bridle due to the rules of the Ranch Riding and Western Dressage classes that were part of the requirements to win a buckle. In those classes it is against the rules to have any type of sparkle on your gear. This was an open and local show, and considering that horses were competing in numerous other classes (pleasure, horsemanship, trial) back to back we were allowed to wear bling shirts (though I did dress down for WD) and have bling on our tack if that’s all we had and we didn’t have a break to change. Since my saddle doesn’t have any silver and I had a nice looking bridle that matched pretty well, the Cashel one-ear became my show bridle.
Other than that it was very easy to clean and keep clean, and held up to all of Amber’s sweat and my abuse – which is to say that I never kept it in a bag or in a very climate controlled area so it got the intense heat of Vegas summers and the chill of the winters as well. I’d throw it over things in the tack room, or it’d get tossed with all my other things in the back of my truck, so it took a lot of abuse and still looks good. I’ve also hardly even cleaned the thing – I probably cleaned it before the November show and didn’t even bother to clean it before then.
Despite the leather not being the same quality of my English bridles, again for $40 I think it was worth it. Plus, the bridle has functioned really well for me in the shows and just riding at home, and it’s proven so far to be a very hardy strap good despite the cheaper price. I definitely don’t regret buying it and think it’s a great starting or even long term bridle for those that want a good-looking headstall without (seriously AT ALL) breaking the bank.