Thursday, March 9, 2017

Tack Review: Two Horse Tack Buckle Nose Halter

*Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest, unbiased review*

Since apparently I’m the last blogger to get my review written and posted about my Two Horse Tack product, I’m going to try to avoid being super redundant! When I was contacted by Jacke about trying a Two Horse Tack product, I was initially kind of skeptical. As with any product I’m thinking about trying (whether for free for a review, or to purchase), I ran a quick Google search. While there didn’t seem to be any major issues with the quality of the products, it looks like there have been past problems with sizing and customer service in terms of dealing with those issues. I'm not getting into all that, ya'll can Google presumably.
I browsed the website to decide what I wanted, and was immediately drawn to the buckle nose halter. I have a few friends who swear by this design, but it's not super common in the US. I think this could be a really useful design when bridling Cinna away from home, as sometimes her default during tacking up is annoying giraffe who wants to go on walkabout. 
Nose buckle conveniently located on the side most people bridle from.

 
I currently have nylon halters for daily use and some inexpensive (but decent) leather halters for horse shows/special occasions. All my horses (both the ones at home, and Ruby who is boarded out), are on all day turnout during the majority of the year, and their halters are hung up by their turnouts. Midwest weather is MURDER on nylon halters. Seriously. Especially if you’re someone like me who likes fun (aka bright) colors and matching things. I love to buy pretty teal halters, and then get super annoyed when the color lasts for like… 5 minutes. 
My pretty teal halter when it was new <3 also, bebe Ruby, haha

The great grey whale modeling my pretty teal nylon halter!
The same nylon halter 2 years later. Unattractive, but functional.
I’ve looked into biothane halters a few times in the past few years, just hadn’t bitten the bullet and bought one yet. So this opportunity seemed like the perfect time to test out two things I wanted to try – buckle nose halters, and biothane. I feel like the other reviews have pretty well covered why biothane is pretty cool, but if you’re still curious, go read about it… Obviously I went with turquoise, and since my farm colors are teal/black, I opted for black stitching. I didn’t need any upgrades as far as the buckles or a leather crownpiece went, but I did get hung up on the sizing for a bit. Frankly, I think the “sizing guide” on the Two Horse Tack website sucks. Calling it a guide is a misnomer, because it’s not a guide at all. They don’t provide any measurements of their products, and just say that if you have sizing concerns, include information about your horses’ build/breed/size/etc in your order. What? How hard is it to provide a basic size chart? Royal Sports can't even advertise in coherent English, and they have a size chart.
Not terribly helpful, TBH.
I struggled to decide between the warmblood/TB size (which to me seems like the most bizarre kind of oxymoron, because most TBs I know, including my own, actually seem to have smaller than horse-sized heads and wear cob stuff?) or horse size. I wanted it for Ruby, who wears both horse and oversize bridles/halters. I eventually decided to go with the warmblood size -- if it was too big, I could potentially punch holes to make it fit, but if it was too small, it would end up being kind of useless. I also figured that even if the warmblood size ran smaller than expected, I could use it on Cinna or Jack.
Good call on the size choice, yay!
I placed my order on a Monday. Ordering custom items is not always my favorite, because I have this problem with impatience/immediate gratification. Their website indicates that even though each item is made to order, they typically ship within two or three days. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was definitely true for me, as I received my halter the following Saturday! As a reference point, my orders from Riding Warehouse always takes a least a full week to arrive. So A+ on the shipping, particularly for a custom item.   
Ruby digs modeling for me.

 
#thatforelocktho
I picked up my mail as I was heading out to vaccinate the herd at home, so I decided there was no time like the present to test the halter. Knowing that I ordered it with Ruby in mind and that she has a bigger head than everybody at home, I put the halter all the way up on one side (didn’t occur to me to do both sides, because I have so few halters that are adjustable on BOTH sides, durrrrrr), and headed out to the field. Obviously, I had to snap some photos! 
Before I adjusted it up on one side, oops... haha.
On an actual TB -- mmmmm, 'lil too big in the nose, even though the crown could be adjusted better.
Workable! On a horse that actually does wear a cob bridle.

Ruby was a willing model for good photos (excuse any dirt as I spent a good half hour trying to clean her but it was a lost cause). I’m pretty happy with the fit on her -- it's on the last hole of the nose buckle, and it’s still a little loose. I’m midway down both sides of the crownpiece buckles, so it could definitely adjust both bigger and smaller with no problem. The stainless steel hardware is very heavy duty, absolutely no issues there. The nose buckle design is awesome and I’m glad that’s what I chose. The color is terrific and very me (aka, bright and obnoxious). I like that you can choose different widths of the biothane – I went with 1”, but I think the 5/8” or 3/4” would look nice on a horse with a refined head. 
 
If I’m being picky (and I am, because fundamentally that’s who I am as a person), I would say the nose buckle section is a tad bit too large for my particular horse (which I could fix by placing a custom sized order), and the stitching is a little… well, not pretty. I think it’s more noticeable because it’s black thread on turquoise – if it were black on black or white on white, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. My last concern was that the buckle hardware on the noseband isn't quite laying flat, but I hope that is just a side effect of the “newness” and should self-resolve as the halter breaks in. 
The horizontal stitching lines are a little jarring, visually.

DH said the first thing he noticed was the stitching being a little... not pretty. And he's not super observant, as a general rule.
 
 
 
I'm not sure if it translated well in a photo, but the buckle doesn't lay completely flat.
Obviously I can’t comment on the longevity and durability of the halter with any accuracy yet (but rest assured, I have no problems coming back to update my reviews, so if you’re reading this a year after I posted it and I haven’t come back to comment about the durability, assume it’s still holding up well!). It looks and feels like a solid, well made piece of tack though, and I don’t anticipate any issues. I swapped it out at the barn for Ruby’s nylon halter, so it will start getting regular use and abuse. 
Ugly nylon halter will be relegated to  a spare trailer halter.
Overall, this was a pleasant experience, and I got what I expected in terms of the product. You can tell it's individually crafted (in terms of holes punched and stitching) as opposed to mass produced by a machine assembly line, but I'm okay with that. Several boarders at the barn seemed interested in the design and material, and DH has already started pestering me to get one for his horse -- so I'm guessing my future will involve an order for 3 more of these so all my horses can have one! :)
 
Overall Grade
Price: 5/5 (Biothane in general is comfortably priced between nylon and leather, and Two Horse Tack offers extremely competitive pricing for biothane tack. At $35, the buckle nose halter falls in the middle ground between a $20 nylon halter and a $50 leather halter, using prices from my local TSC, plus I think the buckle nose is an added perk!)
Quality/Durability: 4.5/5 (I would recommend a little more care with the stitching, or perhaps offering thread that matches the biothane, so the stitching isn't as noticeable? Maybe I'm the only one in the world who notices things like that, IDK.)
Color Options: 5/5 (Not only do they offer a rainbow of colors, they offer BLING. Ya'll know I love me some bling!)


You can sign up for their newsletter if you're interested in hearing about special deals, and I was told I would receive a coupon code -- if/when I receive that, I will update this review! :) happy shopping!

Update: use the coupon code THT407 for 10% off!

16 comments:

  1. I love the color! <3 I might have to snag one of these

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    1. The color is fab! And they have SO many options. Still holding out hope they'll send me the coupon code so I can post it! šŸ˜

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  2. My junior endurance rider that I mentor just ordered the turquoise, I think it's going to be perfect for her horse after seeing your photos! If I didn't like the classic look of black on Griffin so much, I'd totally make him wear turquoise, too, after seeing this post. SO PRETTY.

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    1. I LOVE it. So bright and fun. And knowing that it won't fade out in 5 minutes is the best feeling. I need more! Trying to decide what colors for my geldings. I don't think hubs will approve of turquoise on his horse šŸ˜‚

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  3. Great review!! They contacted me about this too and I'm super eager to give a halter a try for the same reasons you are - leaving a halter hanging out in the elements is not the type of life I want my pretty leather halter to lead!! Alas I haven't heard back on the status of mine so we shall see!

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    1. Outside life for halters is tough!! Uh oh about not hearing about yours šŸ˜¶ when did you order? Looks like they hit up a ton of us, haha. I felt kind of special until I saw the 4 or 5 other reviews šŸ˜‹

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  4. I love that colour on both mares!

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  5. For the color alone I might consider a biothane halter but for now I don't mind keeping mine hanging in the barn to preserve its color. :)

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    1. Doing that would create a lot of extra work for both my barn manager (where Ruby is) and my husband, who is good about helping with chores here -- I don't mind making extra work for myself, but I feel bad creating it for other people šŸ˜€ I'm going to see how it handles the next few months before I order a few more!

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  6. I'm mildly curious about the biothane but I still don't understand why the size stuff is so complicated.

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    1. Yeah IDK. I feel like it would be less complicated to have a chart, but I also don't work in retail haha.

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  7. Super weird to put warmblood size with TB. I guess it's for the really jug-headed ones? I'd go for the "horse" size if I got one for Mort, but I want to see how it holds up first. :)

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    1. Yeah, the warmblood/TB thing really threw me for a loop! I don't blame you for waiting, I want a few more for the horses at home but want to be sure the biothane lives up to the hype. If not, I'll have to come back and update this review, haha.

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  8. I think white stitching would have looked better, but the color of your halter is STUNNING. I love how detailed and thorough your review is.

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    1. Yeah I would be interested in trying the white next time to see if it blends better. But I ADORE the color!

      My favorite tack reviews are super detailed, so I try to do the same! Even if sometimes it just ends up in me being pedantic lol.

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