Any keen-eyed readers might have already spotted the Transcend double bridle in a few prominent photos on Bitless Blog. It is certainly a very photogenic piece of equipment. I hope to eventually summarise most every type of bitless bridle and their mechanisms in a more formulaic and sensible manner, however for the time being sporadic reviews will have to suffice. Of course, while I explain the mechanism of any bridle, I will need to have tried the mechanism in question in order to review it! Let us begin with the bridle I bought more than a year ago and haven’t stopped raving about since.
Bridle from £130, noseband from £85
The ‘snaffle’ rein attaches to a broad, padded noseband, while the ‘curb’ rein attaches to a little strap that sits in the chin groove. Made in the UK from English leather, these bridles have exceptional quality. This bridle could easily be mistaken for a conventional snaffle bridle, and is elegant enough for the show ring. Transcend also makes a simple sidecue bridle, which will fit into slightly smaller budgets. Both versions come cheaper if you buy the noseband alone to attach to your own bridle.
I love this bridle. Looks aren’t everything, but it is just so smart. If you have the cash to spare, you can even get it with coloured padding or metal studwork. Sidecue bridles work just like a headcollar, meaning any horse will understand this cue. The ‘curb’ looks a little like a scrawbrig, but is not intended to tighten or squeeze under the chin. Instead, this rein gives a cue to the chin groove, which asks for softening of the jaw and provides additional finesse. The rather fashionable quarter disc simply prevents any possible poll pressure.
This bridle could be perfect for any discipline. Its lack of squeeze factor or leverage makes it suitable for riding with a sustained contact, so I have used this for dressage in the past. Some horses struggle with ‘squeezy’ bridles that do not release immediately – also a problem in training, as the release part of ‘pressure and release’ is subsequently poorly timed, giving the horse the impression that its relief was earned later than intended by the rider. This bridle has no nasty hidden surprises, and worked as I had hoped from the word go. I would particularly recommend this bridle to bitless newbies, or those wanting to show their horses or train in dressage. If you have ridden your horse in a headcollar, they will understand this bridle easily.
In summary, I would recommend this bridle for its comfort and looks. Please check back for more reviews and chats, and don’t hesitate to comment if there is anything you would like to discuss further.
Keep bossing it.