Schockemoehle: For a Better Ride

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It's super easy to get lost researching various tack and bridle brands, especially when brands are constantly releasing new features that are supposedly better or more comfortable for the horse. These days, "anatomic" bridles are all the rave, and while they're supposed to be more comfortable for the horse, many of us only have a surface level understanding of why. If you're like us, you want to know exactly how these features work and why they translate to a happier horse. Schockemöhle Sports, renowned for Anatomic Line of bridles, does this and much more. Tune in as we dive into the functionality, purpose, and design behind Schockemöhle's Anatomic bridles and discuss how that translates to a better ride.

Schockemöhle Anatomic Line

Schockemöhle has 4 lines of bridles: the Anatomic Line, Premium Line, Classic Line, and Neo Line. We are focusing on the best-selling Anatomic Line, as these were specially designed with the horse's complex face and neck anatomy in mind, making them hands down the most comfortable.

Before we dive in, a little background on the buttery soft leather (because we're all obsessed with leather here). ALL of Schockemöhle's bridles are vegetable tanned. As opposed to the conventional methods of using heavy metals and salts, vegetable tanning conserves raw hides and turns them into durable, exquisite leather products with the help of vegetable ingredients and other natural tannins. While this process is much more labor intensive, it produces superior leather that's full of character, and it's far more eco-friendly, too!

Now, on to the good stuff. Below we discuss the key features shared by all bridles of Schockemöhle's Anatomic Line and how this company's deep understanding of the horse's facial anatomy leads to the highest degree of comfort for our four legged friends.

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One of the key features of Schockemöhle's Anatomic Line of bridles is the pressure reducing crown piece. The forward cut allows for freedom of movement around the neck and ears and relieves pressure on the Nuchal Ligament.

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Schockemöhle Sports also prides itself on its attention to detail. For example, all throat latches are uniquely angled and designed to sit where they belong instead of falling forward along the cheek bone.

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Bridles from the Anatomic Line also feature tapered zones on the noseband as it passes over the cheekbones to avoid pinching.

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Nosebands on the Anatomic bridles are also uniquely angled so that the straps of the nose band do not close over the throat latch area as they do in traditionally designed bridles. This allows for undisturbed circulation to the head, as the main facial veins and arteries pass through this area (shown by the red and blue lines).

We currently carry 4 bridles from Schockemöhle's Anatomic Line, including the top-selling Equitus Alpha, Stanford, Tokyo, and Montreal. All of these bridles come with matching Schockemöhle reins (they are sold separately on most other sites), but you may still be wondering if the Anatomic Line is worth the price. Read on as we analyze the engineering behind the Equitus Alpha (and give a little lesson in equine head anatomy, too), discussing exactly how this translates to maximum comfort and a better ride.

Spotlight Design: Equitus Alpha

The design patented Equitus Alpha is one of Schockemöhle's newest and most innovative models. Part of the best-selling Anatomic Line, the Equitus Alpha focuses on avoiding the most sensitive areas on the horse's head. Check out the diagram and corresponding bridle features below to learn how specific design choices of the Equitus Alpha minimize pressure and maximize comfort for your horse during your ride.

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Anatomy of the horse's face, including key ligaments, nerves, veins, and arteries. Read on to learn about the features corresponding to each number.

1) Softly padded headpiece: the anatomical, forward cut shape of the headpiece allows for freedom of movement for the neck and ears and avoids irritating the Nuchal Ligament and Poll-Atlas Junction. This may not seem like a big deal, but the Nuchal Ligament, which attaches to the poll at the occipital bone, travels along the top of the neck until it turns into the Supraspinous Ligament over the back, so we can begin to understand that the poll is already coming under a lot of pressure just from its connectivity to the spine. Plus, the head alone accounts for 10% of the horse's body weight!

Bottom line, anything we as riders can do to alleviate this downward pressure in our tack decisions translates to more comfort for our horses.

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Closeup of the unique forward cut shape of the crown piece on the Equitus Alpha

2) Unique browband shape: the wide design and curved shape of the browband avoids pinching by the sensitive veins and nerves around the eyes and ears.

3) Curved caveson: the curved shape of the caveson strategically bypasses the largest and most sensitive facial nerve, the Nervus Fascialis, and minimizes pressure on the nasal bone.

4) Fixed button rivets: multiple fixed rivets along the cheekpiece allow for quick and easy adjustment to fit multiple horses.

5) Positioning of flash strap: the sideways positioning of the flash strap allows for unrestricted breathing without constricting the respiratory tract.

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Closeup of the noseband and cheekpiece design of the Equitus Alpha, pointing out the fixed button rivets on the cheekpieces, curved shape of the noseband to avoid the Nervus Fascialis, and uniquely angled flash strap.

6) Cheek pieces mounted directly on noseband: because the cheek pieces are mounted directly onto the noseband, the bit is stabilized in the mouth, making the contact more comfortable for your horse and allowing for a better connection between horse and rider. Additionally, the aids applied through contact with the bit lead to a gentle pressure on the horse's nose, better optimizing communication between horse and rider.

7) Closure of noseband straps: the straps of the noseband are angled in such a way that they do not close underneath the throat latch (as they do in traditional bridles), meaning they strategically avoid pinching on the main veins and arteries on the face and as a result do not disturb circulation to the horse's head.

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The Equitus Alpha was designed so that the noseband does not close right underneath the throat latch area, where the main veins and arteries of the face circulate blood around the horse's head as shown in the diagram above.
Who would've known that the horse's vascular face anatomy was so complicated? With bridles especially, a lot of the nifty features are often for visual appeal only, which is why we have such a deep respect for Schockemöhle Sports' design process. Every single design choice on their bridles is backed by science and reasoning, helping us as riders understand why a particular feature translates to more comfort for our horses. To us, nothing is more important than this. Yes, Schockemöhle bridles are expensive. There's no denying that. However, it is hard to name another brand that puts as much innovation and care into the design process as Schockemöhle Sports. You simply cannot beat the impeccable quality and comfort they offer for your horse, and a happier horse translates to a better, more connected ride!

As always, thank you for tuning in! To see all the apparel and tack we carry by Schockemöhle Sports, be sure to check us out online.
 
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