What’s not to love about beautiful tack? Particularly when it’s well made and economically priced.
At this point in my Horse Nation career, I’ve probably made it pretty clear that I am a tack addict; I absolutely love the smell and feel of quality leather and (almost) all things that glitter. Unfortunately for me, I am not independently wealthy, which means I tend to be a ferocious bargain hunter (yes, I do get some sick pleasure out of a good deal, much to The Husband’s dismay as my definition of “good deal” and his aren’t always aligned).
Enter the Solo Swerve bridle. I was hunting around online for a new bridle for a client horse and I stumbled upon the Solo Equine website. Solo Equine is a Canadian company run by Stephen Forbes, an actual dressage trainer (bonus when someone making a product also uses said product)! The bridles all looked lovely and well made, so I thought I pretty much had to give them a try.
Although all the bridles looked super, the Swerve offers an anatomical crown that I was interested in trying (although I did lust after the Solo Splendor). It also gave me a nice chance to compare it to the PS of Sweden bridle that I have with a similar crown.
When the bridle arrived (quite quickly I might add), my initial impression was that I’d found some sort of Unicorn bridle – the leather was ridiculously nice for the price point and the bling pretty much blinding. I can honestly say that the quality of the leather and craftsmanship on the Solo bridle is on par with the PS of Sweden double that I have. It may even be possible to say that it is of higher quality given that the pad on the crank of my PS of Sweden bridle broke after less than a month of use (and no, I do not strap my horse’s lips together).
The Swerve bridle is nicely padded at the poll, and well cut back away from the horse’s ears. The noseband itself is also quite soft, with good padding. The hardware used is nicely sized and well made, giving the bridle a really polished look (unlike some of those FSS bridles you see on eBay that come in fun colors and designs, but have large, gaudy buckles made of questionable metal).
The bling browband was also well made, with a finished backing and crystals that seem very secure. I have had a few bling browbands that had felt, or even twine, along the backside which while not particularly noticeable while riding, does seem somewhat flimsy. The Swerve browband seems to be solidly made, and it is undoubtedly sparkly (and who doesn’t love glitter?).
Certainly my initial impression was positive, but what’s likely more significant is that my opinion hasn’t changed after the last month or so using the bridle on at least three different horses, almost daily. While a month isn’t a long time, swapping a bridle around on multiple horses for a month will put some wear on it. I’m happy to report that the bridle continues to clean up well, the leather breaking in nicely and the browband remaining just as sparkly. The patent leather is also holding up well, which I know from past experience can be a bit of an issue given the bit can rub against it.
Overall, I am very happy with the Solo Swerve and impressed by the quality, especially for the price point; you won’t find a nice, more fashionable bridle for the money. If you’re looking for a well made bridle that’s functional, elegant, and won’t make your bank account weep, you should check out Solo Equine’s line!
You can see Solo Equine’s full range of products here on their website (they just introduced a double bridle too!), as well as connect with them on Facebook to see more product pictures and receive sale and contest notices.
Go Riding! Look fabulous while doing it.
Morgane Schmidt Gabriel is a 34-year-old teacher/artist/dressage trainer/show announcer/ who still hasn’t quite decided what she wants to be when she grows up. A native Floridian, she now lives in Reno, NV, where she’s been able to confirm her suspicion that snow is utterly worthless. Though she has run the gamut of equestrian disciplines, her favorite is dressage. She was recently able to complete her USDF bronze and silver medals and is currently working on her gold. Generally speaking her life is largely ruled by Woody, a 14.2 hand beastly quarter horse, Willie, a now beastly 7-year-old Dutch gelding, and Stormy, her friend’s nearly all white paint gelding with a penchant for finding every mud hole and pee spot in existence. Visit her website at www.theideaoforder.com.