The Manly Browband Search

When I was a teenager I don't remember there being so many 'customizing' options for horses. Things typically came in one of five colors: blue, hunter green, red, black and white. I tried to get as much purple as I could but there just wasn't the market for it back then, I think. Plus internet shopping wasn't a thing. I just got the horse shopping Bible a few times a year (State Line Tack, before it became the crap it is today). I would pour over the catalog and circle everything I wanted which was pretty much every item on every page.

GPAs became popular in my later high school years and I bought a striping kit and striped the helmet myself. Most people had our barn's colors but I had two shades of purple (you know, to mix it up). I had an obnoxious neon purple helmet cover before that, something that was a piece of contention at my very conservative barn.

But now Smartpak exists, and Dover, and Etsy, and there's a new obsession people are delving into.

Blingy browbands.

I love the amount of options and the creativity of both the buyers and the sellers involved in these. You can get all your fancy colors with little cross or skull charms, or wings, and they're classy enough to wear in the little white box but so cute you have to use them schooling as well.

I know everything I own is purple, but I don't really want to emasculate Runkle with a sparkly princess browband (you're welcome, bud). I feel like the purple is one thing but how can any self respecting gelding do horsey prancey dancing wearing this?

Let's be real, that's a tiara.
That doesn't mean I don't think they're gorgeous, I do, I just don't want to do that to him.

For dressage he has this awesome rolled leather bridle that I'm in love with. The browband is rolled leather and I'm perfectly fine with him keeping that. This might come as something of a shock but I am very particular about my equipment and I don't think there is room in the dressage arena for fancy colors or other shenanigans (yes, I said shenanigans).

Pimp My Bridle: coming soon to a 'music channel' near you.
That still leaves my jumping bridle though. Right now I just have the plain browband that came with the bridle and that's fine, but I'd love to have something cute and ours. So I've been on the hunt, and I have some contenders to Pimp Runkle's Bridle. No Xzibit included. Meet the contenders.

The Standby

Classic eventer status.
Tried and tested, the brass clincher browband. I discovered brass polish last summer and let me tell you, shiny brass is FREAKIN' AWESOME. It adds just enough je ne sais quois without being stupidly over the top. It's also pretty much eventing canon to have one of these on your horse. I think back when the serfs of England weren't harvesting peat in 1066 they had brass clincher browbands on their event horses. You can't really go wrong with the classics.

The 'Little Something Extra'

Simple Irish-chic (that's a thing)
I forget how I found this browband, but I think it's really cute. It's really unique but nowhere near over the top. Plus it's Celtic which I'm all about. I love how the white stitching looks on the brown leather, and I almost wish my bridle was black because the black one looks even better! I do worry that I'd totally wreck it with conditioner though, because how do you condition that thing without getting it into ALL the stitches and rotting it?

The 'Let's Rep Our XC Colors Without Gemstones'


Etsy to the rescue, once more (by BlackMareDesigns). This one is really simple but I like the versatility of it and also care would be a cinch. It uses that vinyl gimp rope (you know, the one you used to make shitty keychains out of at camp) to create a woven pattern on a plain browband. She has both an event and dressage horse modeling it, and I like it on both. Plus to clean it you just wipe it off because it's plastic. They're priced extremely reasonably, and you can get your cross country colors all up on that. What's not to love?

Pony model is cute and stylish!

The Dragon

Is this too over the top? It might be too over the top. Then again, who cares. It's a freakin' dragon. How could you not feel badass coming out of the start box with that decorating your horse's brow?? By Uisce Saddlery.

So what do you think? Which is the Runkliest? What kind of browband does your horse wear? Do you think I spend too much time worrying about one of the tiniest tack details? If your answer is yes, shut up I do not this is very important the browband holds the whole bridle together YOU BUTT.

Or I'll just get him this and say screw it.


  1. I ordered a couple of custom Dark Jewel browbands for a friend for Xmas and they're really cool. I like that you can change out the bead strand (one browband comes with two strands). Most of her stuff is probably blingier than you want, but since they're custom you could easily choose beads that would tone it down. Otherwise I'd probably go with the clinchers. It's a little bit 1990's, but the other ones just look a bit cheap to me.

    1. oh man I went and looked at dark jewel... those are positively gorgeous. maybe i can get a custom one that just doesn't have sparklies on it.

      or maybe he will just wear sparklies.

      and the 90's were a good decade ;P

  2. ha this subject is currently near and dear to my heart! i have the brass clincher browband for our jump saddle and am quite happy with it (tho that dragon medallion is sweeeeeeet, and i kinda love the 'irish-chic' too). idk about dressage tho... we're currently dealing with browband fit issues anyway bc i splurged on a PS bridle but a normal sized browband sits too low on the mare's face so i'm trying to find one with loops that accommodate a double so i can push it up over the padding closer to her ears... so yea, the options are somewhat overwhelming lol

    1. who would think a 15" piece of leather could cause SO MUCH conundrum...

  3. I have a clincher browband, but it's the silver colored version. I absolutely love that dragon though, and am now envisioning a row of smaller ones for my next pony browband! (Short answer: I pick the dragon one!)

  4. ohhh, and a quick suggestion, check out Equus Couture as well - they have some less blingy, but amazing looking browbands.

    1. oooh i'll have to check it out! thanks for the tip. and ya the dragon is schweeeet


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