Every horse owner needs at least one bridle, sometimes two if the horse is involved in more than one discipline. Some riders choose to have multiple bridles, such as for everyday wear and a smarter, more expensive version that they keep for the show ring/competition. The basic bridle design remains unchanged, but there are many different things you may wish to add or change, depending on what you are doing. Most horses work every day in a plain leather browband, but this can be changed to something quite exotic and sparkling for the show ring or other competitions.
The noseband of the bridle can be altered to a different type or simply an alternative design, which may be more contoured for greater comfort or produced in a different material. The noseband can be removed altogether for daily use because if you just use a cavesson then it is largely decorative anyway. Reins can be swapped to a version with greater grip for secure control, such as rubber covered or stockman’s reins. There are a variety of fancy stitched or laced reins for competition. If you are showing your horse, in hand, then it is preferable to remove the reins and attach instead a smart leather lead which finishes in a gold chain attached to the bit rings. This is the accepted turnout and looks much nicer and more professional than just taking both reins over the horse’s head. A change of discipline might require a different noseband – one that offers more control – and perhaps a breastplate or martingale or both. Martingales are used for jumping and faster work and to prevent the horse from putting its head above the point of control. The breastplate is designed to keep the saddle securely in place.