Review: ECP Contoured Correction Saddle Pad

Because there’s no such thing as too many saddle pads, am I right? Especially if they come in a million colors, are XC shape, and have a built-in half pad.

Behold. Also please ignore the fact that my stirrup leathers have literally worn through to their core.

Typically on XC I use my regular jump Ogilvy pad on top of their XC pad, which is more of a euro-cut than a contour. The setup has always worked well for me functionally, but I was interested in the idea of an all-in-one pad, especially in this slightly smaller contoured shape. Because streamlined. JK mostly because lazy and one pad is easier. The Contoured Correction Pad from ECP is very budget friendly and has built in memory foam (Henry’s favorite) shims… I figured it was definitely worth a shot!

The shims to me kind of feel a little bit more like a regular foam than the dense Ogilvy memory foam that I’ve become accustomed to… it’s lighter weight and more open-cell than theirs, but it does have a good “spring back” quality to it like you would expect from memory foam. The pad has four pockets total, one in the front and one in the back on each side, and each pocket contains three shims of varying thickness. That’s 12 total shims to play with.

front shims
rear shims

Since I was using it as an all-in-one pad, and since Henry’s jump saddle is meant to fit with an Ogilvy under it (ie a bit wide), I left two shims in the front and all of them in the back. Together they make something that is about the same thickness as my Ogilvy. I like having them as shims though, it offers a lot of leeway for fit with a horse that might be uneven or is still growing and changing a lot. It takes all of 2 seconds to just unvelcro the pocket and put shims in or take them out. It would also be very easy to use shims of a different material if you wanted (Thinline devotees, I’m looking at you). The pockets offer lots of options.

The shape of the pad fits my saddle (17.5 extra forward CWD) pretty perfectly, and the contoured spine means that it stays up off of his withers. It has a bit of an upward contour in the back too, so it doesn’t sit down on the spine… a problem I had with my PRI contoured pad. Princess Henry has lodged no complaints thus far and has deemed it to be of sufficient padding for his delicate-flower needs. It washes well (take out the shims) and seems to be very well made. The fabric is sturdy, as is the stitching.

It also comes in a metric crapton of colors. Riding Warehouse has all of these:

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not gonna lie, I kinda want the green one too, to go with his green bonnet

Plus I think there are a few more that they could probably order for you if you smiled and asked nicely (burgundy and purple?). The price is super reasonable at $55, and I bet you could find a friend *AHEM* that has a coupon code or two floating around somewhere at any given time. ECP also has a dressage pad and a regular square pad too, if you’re not into the XC contour shape.

Overall I think that if you’re looking for an economical all-in-one pad, or have a need for something shimmable, this is definitely a good option!

Review: Kentucky Bridleworks leather halter

Just like bourbon and thoroughbreds, it’s hard to compete with Kentucky when it comes to leather halters.

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This beautiful creature is from a relatively new company called Kentucky Bridleworks. As the name implies, they are made right here in the USA in Lexington, Kentucky from American steerhide. The construction is very classic, with wide sturdy leather, a rolled throat, double buckle crown, and English chin. What these particular halters have that’s a bit different is a trigger snap at the throat, which you can swivel to face in or out, and it’s probably my favorite feature. It’s much more sturdy, and IMO makes them a bit safer. I always get nervous about regular clips snagging on something.

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Currently Kentucky Bridleworks offers two options: black with chrome hardware or brown with brass hardware, both of which come with an engraved plate. I was really tempted to go with the black and spice things up a bit, but in the end was persuaded that black looks a little too dressagey, and let’s be honest no eventer wants that (just kidding, DQ’s. Kind of.). It arrived quickly, was beautifully packaged (great for gifting!), and pre-oiled, so it was ready to go right out of the box. I opted for the horse size for Henry, since he’s normally between cob and horse. I probably could have gone either way, but since he doesn’t wear a halter in turnout I prefer a looser fit. They seem to run pretty true to size.

A+ for presentation!

The halter is absolutely gorgeous, broke in quickly, and is holding up great. The hardware is solid and the stitching is perfect. Kentucky Bridleworks makes all of their halters by hand, which takes one hour per halter. There’s no machine cranking these out in a matter a minutes… an actual human (in the US, no less) is putting these together piece by piece, which I definitely appreciate.

still a pretty halter, even when it’s on a grumpy face

Kentucky Bridleworks also offers a money-back guarantee for returns within the first 30 days, or free repair of any defects within the first year. Always a good thing to see a company willing to stand behind their product and their work!

At $84.95 including US shipping, I think these halters are a good value. They’re built to last, yet still beautiful enough to look right at home in a show barn. Check them out facebook and Instagram for more pics and videos!

Review: Lund Four Point Collar

I’ve been waiting not-so-patiently to review this, because it’s something that I really didn’t think I wanted, yet it’s become my favorite piece of Lund tack. Why? I’m not totally sure I can explain it… I just really love it. Alas, for the sake of an actual review, I’ll try to explain.

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The leather is the same Sedgwick as all the other Lund stuff. Pretty, with fancy stitching, Italian leather padding, and the little bit of elastic is navy, which is obviously a plus. I think part of what makes me like it so much is the look. It’s essentially a classic polo style breastcollar, just with additional snaps to the saddle dees (or dee savers, which it comes with). When I first got it I thought that while it was reminiscent of the breastplates that literally everyone used to use, I hadn’t seen any exactly like it before. But the more I started looking, the more I noticed how popular this style is, especially amongst eventers. Michael Jung, PDutty, Sinead Halpin… I’ve seen a breastplate like this on at least one of their horses at some point or another. It seems particularly common in Europe (what do they know that we don’t?).

And now that I’ve used it for a while, I get it. At first I was worried that just one simple leather strap across the chest would be restrictive, but because this one a) sits above the point of the shoulder b) has little elastic inserts, I’ve found just the opposite. Henry goes really well in this thing and has tons of shoulder freedom, which makes me think that maybe it’s really the piece that runs between his front legs on a regular breastplate that can feel more restrictive to a horse. Or to him, anyway. Henry seems to really go well in the Lund four point, with a big open stride and plenty of freedom to stretch when he needs to.

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Yet it also does a good job of keeping my saddle in place. It has less straps than the 5 point, so it looks cleaner and is less fussy to put on, but I’ve not had any sliding issues, either side to side or front to back. It’s really just a nice, simple, classic breastplate that does exactly what it’s supposed to do. The only complaint I had was that when I first got it, the leather straps to the girth felt a little thick under my leg. While that feeling did go away as the leather broke in, I believe Lund is going to make a change to have this strap be nylon and therefore less bulky. Generally this style breastplate is more common with eventers in the dressage ring (you see them All The Time in eventing dressage), so I think they’re going to make it available in black at some point, too.

As of right now the Lund four point collar comes in brown and retails for $137 USD, or $185 Canadian. They’re giving one away to one lucky winner this month too! If you’re on the fence about it, I strongly encourage you to try it. Everyone I know that has one loves it, myself and Henry included.

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Trust me, this is his “Love It” face

Review: SleekEZ grooming tool

I usually do a full body clip every year, so it’s been forever since I had a horse that was shedding a winter coat. Like… maybe a decade or more. Practicality-wise I love the Irish clip that I did this year on Henry, but now that we’re into shedding season OMG HAIR. He grows a coat like a wooly mammoth.

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hairy butt

I’ve been currying Henry’s hairy ass for a month now, and it’s seemed like a lot of work for very little reward. I thought surely there was something out there that could get all the hair off more quickly and easily but didn’t cost an arm and a leg? When I saw that Teddy’s Tack Trunk is now carrying SleekEZ, I knew I wanted to try it. Toi only carries stuff that she likes, and she has yet to steer me wrong on a grooming tool.


I had the SleekEZ in my hands a couple days later (because TTT always breaks land speed records when it comes to shipping, I’m pretty sure they’re bribing the US postal service or something) and immediately took it to the barn. Much to my delight, the hair just showered right off with the SleekEZ. I’m a little obsessed with this thing, no lie. I love watching long gross winter hair pile up on the floor. I especially love that I don’t have to stand there and curry forever, stopping every once in a while to clean the hair out of the curry comb. Using the SleekEZ is as simple as using a sweat scraper, and the hair just falls away. Quick and easy (just like Bobby).

LOOK AT IT

Besides just being a really easy, effective way at removing all that shedding hair, the SleekEZ also pulls dander and dirt out of the coat as well. It has a unique blade with tiny, closely spaced teeth that enable it to really get all the way down to the base of the hair. Henry had one particular flaky spot that I’d been picking at for a while, trying to get the scaly stuff off, and the SleekEZ pulled it all right out. It’s really easy to clean, too, just a simple spritz and then wipe down with a towel.

I’ve liked it so much that I’ve let a few other people use it as well, and everyone has been equally impressed. One person had been using a shedding blade and said that the SleekEZ gets way more hair out in way less time. I like the Large size to cover more surface area on the body, although I’ve also been using it (gently) on his legs too with no problem. Henry is a delicate flower with lots of opinions and has yet to complain about the SleekEZ.

At under $20 the SleekEZ is one of the cheaper shedding tools on the market, and IMO totally worth it. It’s made shedding season so much more bearable (and kind of a little fun…)!

Review: Ovation Aqua-X breeches

I have a few items in the queue for review that all have everyone’s favorite thing in common: stuff I didn’t think I’d like that much and actually ended up loving. It’s always fun to be pleasantly surprised.

My quest for great breeches seems to always be ongoing. I have a couple of brands that I really like but you know how it is… everyone always needs more breeches and more breech options. I especially have been on the lookout for something a bit similar to my Aztec Diamond breeches. Those have been my favorite pair for a long time, but they’re now going on 3 years old and I’m not sure how much life they’ve got left in them. Sadly, ADE changed their fit after that season, so I haven’t been able to get any of their other models to fit me as well. But I do love the fabric of those, and the silicone knee grips. They were kind of like my lower budget version of my very beloved 5yo pair of Animos.

Enter the Ovation Aqua X. They have 3 of my most favorite features: 1) fantastic, comfortable, quick-dry tech fabric 2) more of a mid rise 3) silicone knee patches.

I had a pair of Ovation breeches many many years ago, back when they were a mostly cotton blend. They were ok then but I didn’t have them for very long before I sold them, and that was the last time I really even looked at Ovation breeches. I’ve had several other Ovation items that have served me quite well… schooling helmets, bridles, breastplates, a couple saddle pads, etc. For a low budget brand, I’ve had pretty good luck with them over the years. I’m just such a breech snob, I guess it never occurred to me to circle back around and check out some of their newer models.

When I got the Aqua X breeches I was immediately impressed with them. The fit is really excellent on me–I love that the rise isn’t too low (no worries about needing a belt!) and they are SUPER flattering in the saddle. When Trainer first saw them that was one of her first comments: “They’re so flattering!”. Which I think translates to “You look less fat in those pants than you normally do.”. Whatever, I’ll take it. The fabric is nice and light without being too thin, and they dry really fast. I think these will be fantastic in the summer when I start sweating buckets in some very unflattering places.

full seat version

I also find them to be extremely comfortable. They’re nice and stretchy without getting saggy, and have the ever-so-popular euro seat and mesh sock bottom, because velcro is literally the devil. These breeches are marketed as summer breeches, although here in the South they’re quite suitable year-round. They’re made from MIPAN Aqua-X material, a “cool-to-touch” nylon/lycra blend (no cotton to fade or sag!) that also offers UV protection… this same fabric technology is also used for items like cooling sleeves that are so popular with cyclists and golfers.

My only minor complaint about these is that I would like the silicone on the knee patch to come a couple inches further forward toward the knee, just to give them extra grip in the saddle. They aren’t slippery, but they aren’t as grippy as my Animos (which, granted, are like weary sticky spray in pants form). Otherwise I haven’t come across anything else that I don’t like. In fact, I’ve been wearing these things almost non-stop since I got them. I also wish they came in a huge rainbow of colors, but apparently they’re working on that. 😉

Image result for MIPAN(R) Aqua-X
New color, Aegean Blue. These are next on my list!!!

Price wise, the Aqua X are very budget friendly. They come in both knee patch and full seat, and retail for only $116.95 from Riding Warehouse. Currently only beige and gray are in stores, but Aegean Blue and Navy should be arriving by late March (rumor has it that black and hunter green are coming in the fall also). Plus there’s almost always a coupon code floating around for RW (message me if you need one!) and they have free shipping over $50, making these breeches an even better deal.

If you’re looking for a lower budget, comfortable, light weight breech, especially for summer or a warm/humid climate, I definitely recommend giving these a try!

Review (and giveaway): Lund Saddlery Figure 8 bridle

The current item on the docket for review from Lund Saddlery is their Figure 8 bridle!

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Despite his facial expression, Red was a willing participant in this review.

If you haven’t read any of my previous reviews of the Lund pieces, check out the 5 point breastplate, the flash bridle and rubber reins, and the 3 point breastplate. The leather on the Figure 8 bridle is the same as on all the other Lund pieces, so I won’t repeat myself too much there. In short, it’s a nice sturdy Sedgewick leather with soft padding, fancy stiching, and sheepskin on the nose. Like all of the Lund bridles, it has a contoured, padded monocrown to provide extra comfort for the horse. The styling is very classic, and the sheepskin is fluffy enough to provide some comfort without being Way Too Fluffy (a personal pet peeve of mine).

After I got my initial impressions of the bridle, I passed it off to my trainer for her to try out. She’s been using it on one of her young horses, and it even made the trip with them to AEC last fall. It’s sturdy enough for everyday use but it still cleans up nicely for shows, which makes it a great buy if you don’t want to have to purchase a separate show bridle.

HAI!!!!

As far as sizing goes, if you have a horse that is typically in-between sizes, it might be a good idea to size down. Red is a pretty average sized thoroughbred and Trainer had to punch some holes in the noseband for him. The full works, but a cob might have worked better. Otherwise all the straps are nicely proportioned and it sits well on his face.

As with all of the Lund pieces, the Figure 8 bridle is priced very reasonably at $215 CAD (approx $159 USD).

Lund Saddlery is giving away a free Figure 8 bridle to one lucky winner this month! Click here to enter.


PS – I have not forgotten about the logo contest! We got so many entries there at the end that in order to make sure everyone’s gets looked at thoroughly and fairly, they’re taking the weekend to decide. I’ll have contest results bright and early Monday morning, I promise! Sorry for the slight delay.

Review: Leistner Premium Collection (and flash sale)!

Fans of fancy brushes, put on your seat belts – Leistner has outdone themselves this time!

I’ve carried on quite a bit on this blog about how great the Leistner line is in general, so I’ll spare you all of that weird grooming-product worship again. But, uh, for real though… they’re amazing. Yes, brushes can be amazing, I promise. Everyone else in Blogland that has bought some (*cough* Aimee *cough* Leah *cough* Karen) can back me up on that. So when Toi at Teddy’s Tack Trunk contacted me about something new from Leistner that she was carrying, I got really excited. And well, it was warranted, because omg these things are insanely beautiful. I can’t even get a photo to capture how pretty they really are in person.


The Premium Collection from Leistner basically takes their standard (awesome) brushes and makes them super fancy. They have an upgraded finish and gorgeous padded leather handle. If you’re looking for a gift for that hard-to-shop-for horse person, look no further. This is where art meets practicality, and for under $40.


Currently Teddy’s Tack Trunk is stocking a few different Premium Collection brushes (although you can special order any brush with upgraded straps). I got two – the Satchmo and the Beauty. The Satchmo (a 100% horse hair medium-soft bristle brush) has a glossy black finish and padded black leather handle with lots of real Swarovski crystal bling. I’m pretty sure this should be required equipment for every DQ. Not only is the brush itself very functional, the finish is perfectly executed with luxurious leather, soft padding, and very firmly-affixed rhinestones that are set down into the leather. As soon as Toi told me that the Satchmo is Emma Ford’s brush of choice for quarter marks, I was sold. It’s now got a starring role in my fancy-pants show brush collection.

tttsatchmo

My other Premium brush is the Beauty (100% horse hair medium-soft brush with a lifted edge), with a rich brown wood stain and padded brown croc-embossed handle. The Beauty is very similar to my beloved Prinz brush, but a bit bigger, making it the perfect go-to brush for every day use. May as well have a super fancy brush for daily use too, right? Every day is Treat Yo Self. BTW, apparently the padding on these is elk leather… who even knew that was a thing? Life lesson: elk are apparently very soft.

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Here’s the fun part: TODAY ONLY get 10% off the Leistner Premium Collection brushes from Teddy’s Tack Trunk with code PREMIUM10!

Review: Lund Saddlery 3 Point Breastplate

Another month, another Lund Saddlery giveaway, and therefore: another item up for review! This time we’re looking at the Lund Saddlery 3 point breastplate.

Me Red. Me famous model.

I already reviewed the Lund 5-point breastplate, and the majority of my comments from that piece also apply to this one. The materials are the same – Sedgwick leather, SS hardware, and strong navy (yay!) elastic. It has the same fancy stitching details on the wither strap (or as I like to call it, the emergency “oh crap” handle) as well as super soft padding on the wither strap and chest strap. There are snaps at each point for quick and easy on/off, plus a snap-on running martingale attachment. Like the 5-point, it comes with dee savers if you’d rather use those instead of your saddle’s permanent dee rings.

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The cob size is a little bit snug on Red and Henry (both average sized TB’s) so I would say the sizing runs pretty true. As with all of the Lund tack, there are size charts available with exact measurements, so if you have any sizing questions it’s as easy as sending them a message and asking for assistance.

As far as breastplates go, the 3-point design is probably the simplest and easiest when it comes to every day use. Less straps = faster tacking up = happier lazy person. Another perk for lazy people – no skeepskin to keep clean! This design is also ideal if you are particularly sensitive to having any extra leather or straps under your calf.

My Lund 3 Point has been in regular use now since August (it even made a trip to AEC’s with my trainer) and is holding up beautifully. The leather has broken in and softened up nicely, and it still looks just as gorgeous as it did when it was new.

Now for the best part: price point. I’ve had a lot of breastplates over the years (some even purchased from France because I’m insane) and the quality of this one is up there among some of the best, while still only being $175 CAD (about $130 USD). There are a few similar breastplates near this price point, but it’s the details on the Lund that really make it stand out from the rest: the soft Italian leather padding, the top wither strap with fancy stitching, the dee savers, the SS hardware, the hardy Sedgwick leather, etc.  If you want high end beauty and quality and a mid-range price point, look no further.

Want to win your own Lund Saddlery 3 point breastplate? Go to lundsaddlery.com and enter your name for the December giveaway!

Review: All Ears app

This is a fun one… and it’s cheap!

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When the creator of the All Ears app contacted me a couple weeks ago on Instagram asking if I’d like to try the app, I almost didn’t reply. I’m kind of an old lady curmudgeon when it comes to apps. I don’t like the clutter on my phone, so I don’t download very many, and while I thought the idea behind this app was cute, I didn’t really think it would work.

Basically All Ears is a photo and video app that plays sounds while you have the camera up to catch your horses ears for photos. It’s called a “selfie” app, but it works either way. I don’t really do selfies, so I’ve used it primarily to just take regular photos. There are currently 29 different sounds (and it says more will be added), you can take photos or video, in portrait or landscape. and you can play the noises one time or set them to play continuously.

some of the different sounds
press and hold the button for a particular sound to select continuous mode if you’re taking several photos

Ah, but does it work? Amazingly enough, it works REALLY well. So well that I can’t really stop playing with it because I get such a kick out of it, and I’ve told all my friends to download it. It’s a really basic interface that is easy to figure out, easy to use, and has lots of options. I’ve played around with all the noises for Henry and found several in particular that he always responds to. He even neighed back to it one day, trying to figure out what kind of witchcraft had managed to trap a horse inside that tiny box.

two for one

Video of the app in use:

There are also squeaky toy and car key noises that work really well on my dogs (uh… except for the deaf one, obviously), making this app even more useful. I’ve gotten to where I take pictures of all of my animals through the All Ears app.

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Stewie even pauses in the middle of murdering his monkey when I use the squeaky toy noise. Quinn remains blissfully deaf in the background.

I really wish I’d had an app like this while Sadie was growing up… it was impossible to get her ears up for photos. Usually lots of jumping up and down, bribery, and throwing things was required just to get one picture where she didn’t look like a bored mule. This is obviously way easier and it works a lot better. Technology, man.

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The All Ears selfie app is $2.99 and can be downloaded from the App Store here. Normally I’m kind of a grump about paying for apps, but trust me, this is more than worth the 3 bucks just on entertainment value alone. It’s currently only available on iPhone but an Android version is coming soon. If you want to keep up with new releases and updates you can follow All Ears on facebook or on Instagram.

Review: Lund Saddlery flash bridle and rubber reins

It’s a two for one review! Not just because it’s two products, but also because you get the opinion of two reviewers. I’ve been using the flash bridle and Trainer has been using the rubber reins (they went with her to AEC’s on the Lund figure 8 bridle) so I recruited her to do a write-up with her opinion of the reins.

I talked about the Lund Saddlery brand and leather in general in the last review, so I’m not going to keep repeating myself on those counts with every product from this line. Their strapgoods all use the same leather and hardware, so everything I said there applies here too. Too lazy to go back and read the other review? Short version: Sedgwick leather takes a little longer to break in but is extremely sturdy and long-lasting. The hardware is all solid SS, nothing cheap or plated.

Lovers of classic tack – the Lund line will make you happy. There are no gimmicks, no fads, just well-made items constructed from sturdy leather. I appreciate the general simplicity of the flash bridle, and the fact that while they have certainly made efforts to keep the line very classic-looking, they have not shied away from adopting modern design features when it comes to horse comfort. Specifically what is, IMO, the best feature of modern bridle design – the monocrown. The crownpiece is shaped to allow space for the ears, and it’s well padded for optimum comfort. The noseband and browband are fancy stitched, too, (h/j-ers, rejoice) which is a nice touch. I found the workmanship on the bridle to be just as good as on the five point breastplate; all the details are executed perfectly, with nary a stitch out of place.

I got Henry the full/horse size bridle. He’s usually in between cob and full, but his forehead is a fairly broad so I didn’t want to risk a too-small browband. Lund does have sizing charts for all of their tack, so if you’re unsure about what size to get, I would just ask for the chart and do some measuring. The fit on him is pretty good everywhere but the noseband… I had to punch two holes there to make it fit. Pretty typical for Henry.

❤ that padded monocrown

I have the same minor complaint about the color that I did with the 5 point breastplate (still not an Australian Nut fan on my horse) but the bridle is holding up nicely and has taken my abuse well. I accidentally left it in the bed of my truck for a few days (don’t ask) where it got rained on and then baked in 100+ degree temps, and it didn’t even look dirty when I finally rescued it. Generally I’m the type of person to lean more toward a flashy bridle as opposed to a more classically-styled one, but for day-to-day use I really appreciate a good, basic, sturdy bridle like this. It’s a true workhorse – one that can take abuse, is inexpensive, and still looks nice.

I like that the Lund bridles are sold without reins, so that you get to choose exactly what reins you want, or keep the reins you already have. There’s nothing more annoying to me than being forced to buy reins you don’t even like (I’m looking at you, laced reins) so IMO having the option is nice, plus saves you money if you already have reins you like and don’t want to buy more. Or, if you already have a bridle you like but need new reins, you can buy those separately as well.

When I asked Trainer for her thoughts on the Lund rubber reins, she really had nothing negative to say: “I am very pleasantly surprised. I have small hands and generally don’t like thicker reins. They are supple, yet sturdy. I’ve ridden in them with and without gloves, never gotten blisters from them, and do not find them to be at all slick. Even when the horses get very sweaty or the Texas humidity kicks in, they keep their tackiness. The fancy stitching is just an added bonus that my diva side loves!”

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reins in action!

The retail price for the Lund Saddlery flash bridle is $200 CDN (approx $150 USD, depending on exchange rate) and the rubber grip reins are $90 CDN (approx $68 USD), making them suitable for just about any budget.

Want to win the flash bridle and rubber grip reins? Go here to enter the November giveaway!