Nowadays, horse welfare is becoming more and more important and it is also shown in current equine trends. Leatherwear is one of the most obvious as more and more anatomic shapes and new innovations are displayed to the public and also I was straight away going for an anatomic bridle when I first got my mare. During my studies I learned a lot about pressure points, nerves and the sensitive ear area of horses and it was clear for me, that my horse needs some horse friendly bridle.
During the last year I swapped my flash bridle with ear cut outs and a padded neck piece for a drop noseband bridle, as she grew stronger and more sensitive at the same time. And it worked at first but further in, my mare seemed to try but was restricted in some way, so we got her checked by a vet and an osteopath, who then told me that her head needed a little more space and that her neck is very sensitive.
Alright, I had my anatomical bridle but it wasn't enough. Talking through the issue with Team EquiZone, we came to the conclusion to try out the Dy'on Difference Bridle as it allows more space to the neck area with its far back head piece and due to the crossed throat latches it has an even pressure distribution. It was developed together with the Swedish international 5* rider Peder Fredericson and used in shows by Eric Lamaze with his Olympic mare Fine Lady 5.
Knowing about the looks of the bridle, I always found it a bit odd and it is something to get used to. However, top level riders and scientists actually thought about the bridle and were highly satisfied, so I gave it a shot.
Putting the bridle on was relatively easy as it is very self-explanatory. The crossed throat latches are easy to close and easy to adjust. In the beginning, it all looked too tight, but after double checking, I had two-fingers space on each part of the throat latches. The noseband closes like a normal one and can be adjusted just like on every other bridle. However, the crossed throat latches are combined to it, so the horse has to stick its nose through that first before taking the bit in.
Of course the first time riding was a change for my mare which is why it didn't work as well in the beginning. She was shaking her head and working against me a bit but after 20 minutes I could see her relax and her ears started to hang on the side, she started chewing and was easier to work.
The most obvious part is of course the cut back neck band that is supposed to give freedom to the first vertebrae of the horses neck, as well as take of pressure of the parotid gland. I was afraid that the neckband might slide forward towards the ears and loses its benefit, as I have read some reviews were it happened. However, for me it stayed in the spot I put it while tacking up. Also all other parts stayed in place and my mare seemed to enjoy the freedom behind the ears.
During the next three weeks I tried the bridle while riding, lunging and jumping and I can really feel a difference between the Dy'on Difference Bridle and my other bridle. My mare is relaxed, easier to handle and overall more easy to ride. Also, her sensitivity behind the ears while brushing got better and she does not seem to mind it anymore.
Further research showed that the Dy'on Difference Bridle is actually allowed on shows and matches the FEI Standards as well as (for me important) the FN German Equipment Rules.
The only little pitfall is, that the browband cannot be changed and I cannot add a little sparkle to the bridle, but that does not affect any part of the great horse welfare benefits. The cream coloured stitching adds some design to it, so the bridle does not look completely bland but it would be nice to have maybe a bridle-browband option that comes with rhinestones.
Considering the way my mare accepts and works with this bridle, I am for sure continuing riding with the Dy'on Difference Bridle and would recommend it to any horse-rider combination that struggle with sensitiveness behind the ears, that feel like there might be too much pressure on the neck and the parotid gland. Even for horses that rarely chew as the parotid gland is part of the saliva production.
If you feel like the bridle could be matching your horse, it is available in sizes Pony - Cob - Full and Oversize and it comes in three different options that: