If you’re a regular follower of our social media channels, then you will have seen us posting about four exciting new bridle designs! They are the latest evolution of the Elevator brand and the result of years of research and development by our director Jo, who is committed to the concept that we can improve horse performance by ensuring comfort and wellbeing. As many of you will know, Elevator is the home of the very first ever anatomical bridle, developed for a sensitive warmblood mare (called Elevator, hence the name) who wouldn’t tolerate a traditional non-padded bridle headpiece. Her owner Lorraine worked tirelessly to create a bridle which she was comfortable in, eventually realising that poll pressure was the issue.
Since then, there has been increased focus on the impact of bridle fit on horse performance. Whereas we used to generally check that the bit fit and height were right for the horse and the noseband was fitted correctly, it’s now vital to check the position and pressure of every element of the bridle. That’s because there are so many complex nerve pathways running under the skin on a horse’s head and face, and those pressure points are vulnerable when a bridle is worn. Research shows that a poorly fitting bridle can impact many areas of a horse’s performance, limiting its flexibility and range of motion from its nose all the way to its hocks. Even poor hindleg engagement has been linked to pressure on facial nerves – that might sound a little outlandish, but it’s proven to be true. There’s also a welfare element to the issue of bridle fit. Even if a horse shows no outward signs of discomfort, now that we know those nerves on the face are so easily impacted, isn’t it our responsibility to make sure they aren’t impacted by the tack we fit?
That’s why Jo has been busy working away in her studio and building on that much-loved original Elevator Performance bridle design. She’s used all the latest information about pressure points on the horse’s face and head to create four bridle styles which promote horse comfort and will ‘elevate’ performance as a result. Each style is designed to do the same job as the four most popular bridle/noseband combinations so that riders can choose the Elevator Elite bridle which suits their horse best. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at them – the Burghley, Ascot, Hickstead and Olympia Bridles.
The Elite Ascot Bridle
The Elite Ascot Bridle combines our new headpiece, which is cut further back from the horse’s ears than other anatomical styles and has soft padding for ultimate comfort. The Ascot noseband is designed to stop the horse crossing its jaw to avoid the action of the bit and has a replaceable Velcro sheepskin nose pad. It’s similar to a Grackle noseband in its action but is carefully designed to avoid the sensitive pressure points on the face and padded in all the right places to make sure the horse is comfortable. Take a closer look at our new Ascot Bridle here:
The Elite Burghley Bridle
The Elite Burghley Bridle also features our new anatomical headpiece which is shaped to ensure it’s well away from the horse’s ears. It’s made with soft padding to alleviate pressure on the sensitive poll area, but not over-padded and bulky behind the ears. This design features the Burghley noseband which is designed to avoid pressure on the facial nerves and teeth while keeping the mouth shut and the bit stable in their mouth – a little like a modern and kind take on the flash noseband! Jo has given the noseband smooth curves and soft padding across the nose and jaw straps for supreme comfort. Shop the Burghley Bridle here.
The Elite Hickstead Bridle
Our new Elite Hickstead Bridle is a new and anatomical take on the drop noseband bridle, but with unrivalled adjustability and comfort. The cut of the noseband is designed to avoid putting pressure on the teeth and facial nerves, and the jaw straps are generously padded for comfort. The innovative Hickstead noseband can be altered in three places, meaning it can also be worn as a cavesson noseband and making it ideal for young horses during their training and development. The Hickstead Bridle also features our new headpiece design, so why not take a closer look here?
The Elite Olympia Double Bridle
The Elite Olympia Bridle is our brand-new double bridle design, and Jo has packed it with design features to make sure it offers total comfort to the horse wearing it. As well as our new anatomical headpiece, which is soft, padded and has heaps of space for the ears, the Olympia also features an extra-padded and carefully shaped cavesson noseband. This means it is padded in just the right places to avoid and pad the sensitive facial nerves. We’ve also added in a superior padded jaw strap to provide comfort to your horse when they’re strutting their stuff. Shop the Olympia Bridle here.
The new Elevator Elite bridles are all designed here in the UK and crafted from strong and supple English leather. The headpieces and nosebands are totally new designs and you can purchase them as part of a new bridle in its entirety, or as part of a build your own bridle – and there’s a handy tool on each product page of our website for doing just that!