KL Select: The Last Bridle You'll Ever Need

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If you asked us, "What's the highest quality brand of bridles you carry?" We would without a doubt tell you KL Select! They're on the pricier side, but if you want a bridle that maximizes equine comfort and will outlast your other bridles, then KL Select is for you! Tune in as we dive into what differentiates KL Select, explain how KL Select designs for maximum steed comfort and provide you with an RW customer's review. Plus, we give you a sneak peak of the Red Barn Arena Ergonomic Bridle (coming soon) and spell out why we think it's the one of the best, if not the best, anatomic bridle on the market.

What Makes KL Select Stand Out

All About the Leather

The biggest reason why KL Select bridles, especially premium line bridles like the Red Barn line, will outlast the other brands in your tack room is the sourcing, tanning and dying process of the leather. Red Barn line bridles are made with Grade A quality vegetable tanned Sedgwick's Leather. Based in England, Sedgwick & Co. has been specializing in traditional bridle leather since 1900. If you want to geek out on their dying and tanning process, check out their website!

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KL Select's careful manufacturing process gives their bridles incredible color and long lasting quality that's hard to match (while also making your horse look like a model).
Why vegetable-tanned leather? As opposed to using heavy metals and salts, vegetable tanning conserves raw hides and turns them into durable, exquisite leather with the help of vegetable ingredients and natural tannins. This process is much more labor-intensive, but it produces superior leather that's full of character. It's far more eco-friendly, too! Red Barn leather is also drum-dyed, which means the leather is immersed in dye and tumbled in a rotating drum. This gives the leather a supple, pliable feel and a deep color finish. The end result? Buttery soft leather that, with proper cleaning and conditioning, will last for years!

The Difference is in the Details

Attention to detail and impeccable craftsmanship is another area where KL Select is a clear standout. From the tapered ends on the cheekpieces to prevent the keepers from falling down to the holes being punched from the inside out to make the hardware easier to buckle, KL Select leaves no stone unturned. We've also always been blown away by KL Select's impeccable stitching, especially on the Red Barn Ocala bridle. All Red Barn bridles average a whopping 10 stitches per inch, and feature a finer stitch for a more elegant look.

"Our manufacturers take great pride in
their skill and craftsmanship. Attention to
detail is as important to them as it is to us
,"
- Brian Carters, KL Select Founder​

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Close up of the fancy stitching on the Red Barn Ocala...it's craftsmanship you can't beat

Styling for Trends and Comfort

KL Select has earned a quite reputation for staying on-trend while keeping comfort for your horse at the forefront of their careful design process.

The Red Barn Ocala bridle, for example, is the quintessential show bridle, with impeccable styling, stitching, and leather that will outlast most. However, the Ocala also has an ergonomic headstall, forward cut around the poll and cutback around the ears. This allows for freedom of movement for the neck and ears while reducing pressure on the Nuchal Ligament and Poll-Atlas Junction. Due to the Nuchal Ligament's connectivity to the spine, the poll comes under a lot of pressure. Anything we do to alleviate this downward poll pressure increases comfort for our steeds.

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A well designed ergonomic headstall will avoid irritating the cranial nerves at the Poll-Atlas Junction

Customer Review: Ocala Hunter Bridle

RW customer and East Coast amateur hunter rider, Taylor Bodson, was kind enough to share her review of the KL Select Red Barn Ocala Bridle. Taylor shows in the 3'3" and 3'6" AO hunters with her two bays, Cam and Tater.

"I love the KL Select Ocala bridle! It was surprisingly soft and supple right out of the box, so much so that I didn’t feel the need to oil it like I normally do to soften a new bridle. The monocrown headstall is padded and fits wonderfully, as does the tapered wide padded noseband. I was in desperate need of a new show bridle for my boys and this bridle is so beautiful and perfect for the show ring, or just everyday to look super sharp! Quality is top notch - I am for sure now a KL Select believer!"

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Cam looking like a model in the KL Select Red Barn Ocala bridle

"The only thing I'd say for the sizing is that it runs slightly big, so if you have a finer boned horse I'd size down. Cam is a 17.1h warmblood and he wears a warmblood sized halter, but the horse size KL Select Ocala fit him fine, even though I had to put the noseband cheekpieces on the last hole."

To keep up with Taylor, her equine friends, and their horse show adventures, follow Taylor on Instagram!

Coming Soon: Arena Ergonomic Bridle

It seems like everyone is coming out with an "anatomic" bridle these days, so it takes a lot to get us jazzed about a new one. That being said, there are two reasons why we so excited about the arrival of the KL Select Red Barn Arena Ergonomic Bridle.

First, the quality and craftsmanship of Red Barn Arena Ergonomic is unbeatable. Although the rise of anatomic bridles is well-intentioned, we have admittedly had some craftsmanship issues with other brands. No matter how nifty your anatomic bridle is, it's gotta last! You don't need to worry about cracked leather or breaking pieces with Red Barn bridles.

For example, the flash straps are sewn onto D-rings that are hidden within the noseband. Unlike other brands, the D-rings are held into place by webbing, and the webbing is stitched in across the top of the noseband; not just the rings are stitched in. This sturdier craftsmanship keeps the D-rings, and thus the flash straps, from moving and breaking with too much pressure.

Second, KL Select doesn't just slap on nifty "anatomic" features to be trendy; they have an innovative design process that carefully considers the horse's complex facial anatomy.

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The new Red Barn Arena Ergonomic Bridle, co-designed by Olympic Dressage rider Sue Blinks

Co-designed by Olympic Dressage rider Sue Blinks, the Arena focuses on avoiding and alleviating pressure the horses' sensitive cranial veins and nerves, which may curb habits such as head shaking, teeth grinding, and resistance to contact. Below we discuss how key features of the Arena Bridle lead to the highest degree of comfort for your horse, AND how the Arena is designed differently from other anatomic bridles.

1) Softly padded, extra-wide crownpiece: Like the Ocala, the forward cut crownpiece alleviates pressure on the Nuchal Ligament, while the cutback around the ears allows for more freedom of the neck and ears. In addition, the soft padding and extra-wide design also more evenly distributes pressure over the Poll-Atlas Junction.

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The forward cut of the crownpiece strategically alleviates pressure on the Poll Atlas Junction, or where the Nuchal Ligament connects with the skull at the back of the Occipital Bone.

2) Ergonomically shaped and curved noseband: The curved shape of the noseband strategically bypasses the largest and most sensitive facial nerve, the Nervus Fascialis. One distinguishable feature about the noseband is that it's more heavily padded than other anatomic bridles across the front of the noseband between the flash strap attachments. This brings the front of the noseband away from the horse’s nose, again alleviating pressure on the main facial nerve.

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This digram shows how the shape of the noseband bypasses the main facial nerve (orange), points out the extra padding on the noseband between the two flash straps, and illustrates the horse's facial circulatory system (red and blue for veins and arteries)

Like some other anatomic bridles on the market, the noseband straps are angled forward so they don't close underneath the chin, strategically avoiding pinching the main facial veins and arteries (red dashed arrow in the above diagram). However, unlike most anatomic bridles, the noseband on the Arena has a slightly deeper curve and more open angle, bringing the split from the noseband and the cheekpieces further away from the main facial nerve (see below).

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This diagram shows the forward angle of the noseband straps and reveals how the deeper curve and more open angle of the noseband bring it further away from the Nervus Fascialis.

3) Bit connects to cheek pieces, not noseband: The Arena features ½” cheek pieces, rather than the bit connecting to the bottom of the noseband. This is because traditional cheek pieces are sturdier pieces of leather than straps that connect the bit to the noseband, as seen in other brands.

4) Curved browband shape: the curved shape of the browband avoids pinching on the sensitive veins and nerves around the eyes and ears.

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KL Select Red Barn Arena Ergonomic Bridle in brown...in this photo you can really see how the bridle avoids the horse's main facial nerves and arteries!

So, why do we think this is one of the best anatomic bridles on the market? The Arena's design choices are backed by a deep understanding of facial anatomy AND the quality of Red Barn bridles is unmatched. These two things combined make the Red Barn Arena Ergonomic Bridle an absolute standout on our website and the anatomic bridle market. Visit us online to see our selection of KL Select bridles, and stay tuned for the arrival of the Red Barn Arena Bridle!
 
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