The problem with Sparky breaking his *ONE,* *EXPENSIVE* bridle is that I need to replace it. And Sparky's head is oddly-sized. Now, if he had just broken the cheek pieces that would have been fine - I already have an extra pair. But nooooooo - Sparky had to find a way to break the headstall. So until that's replaced, no useable bridle.
I decide on a two-pronged approach. 1- I replace his crownpiece and at the same time, upsize his slightly-snug browband for a larger one to accomodate his big brains. 2 - I also purchase a second, less-expensive for daily use. Though Sparky has an oddly-sized head, this one seems like it might work.
Of course, none of this is simple and straight-forward. How could it be, when your pony needs a horse cavesson, cob crown, pony cheeks, and oversize brow?
I ordered a plain raised padded Dover Showmark for daily use; after chatting with a rep, it seemed a cob size might work, but might need pony cheeks for the buckles to be in just the right place. I also ordered a plain raised padded oversize Edgewood browband and both a horse and a cob size Edgewood crownpiece from Just Bridles. Truly, the cob crown seemed a little snug on Sparky previously, but I wasn't sure if it was because of the crown or the brow... so now that I have the opportunity, we'll find out and fix it.
I received both the Showmark bridles and the Edgewood pieces on the same day. The Showmark is very pretty and even has the new-fangled comfort crown thing goin' on. The Edgewood pieces are exactly what one would expect from Edgewood.
I fiddled around with the Edgewood pieces for a bit, and determined that the horse size crown fits the Sparkplug better than the cob, though the throatlatch is a bit long. I'll get that trimmed down someday. I also decided that I'll keep the cob size crown, as with the addition of that, I will now have a complete cob size Edgewood made from Sparky's cast-off pieces and the spare cheeks. The oversize browband, however, was just plain too big. And the horse size is too small. Figures.
The Showmark is possibly the most oddly-sized bridle I've ever encountered. The browband and crown were a perfect fit for Sparky. The throatlatch was, as always, too long. The caveson was too small and the flash was ridiculously tiny. And the cheeks - oh my gosh, the cheeks! There is NO reason that either of my horses should need to have the cheekpieces on the top hole on a cob-size bridle - and yet, that was exactly the case! So the Showmark bridle is going to be returned and replaced with a SmartPak Plymouth bridle. For 1/3 of the price, I can handle a less-than-perfect fit (or, alternatively, can afford to buy different pieces to make it fit, or at least come close).
I've come to this determination about Sparky's head: he's oddly sized, but maybe in a different way than I realized. I can't really mix-and-match pieces to make something fit because he's exactly in-between cob and horse size. He's pony/cob sized in the length and under the chin and throat, but horse+ sized over the crown, brow, and nose! (See picture above - red is pony, yellow is cob, green is horse). You can't buy that - lol! So the closest we're going to come for now is that I am just going to have to settle on adjusting straps on shorter/higher holes than I prefer (therefore having more excess strapage than I like)... and then it turns out that Sparky's current Franken-bridle is not that Franken-bridle after all. It's basically a horse-size bridle with cob-size cheeks. And the only thing left from his original cob size bridle is the cheeks.
One last thing: I'd like to put in a plug for Brita at Just Bridles. She's absolutely awesome and is helping me brainstorm ideas for a browband that will both match the Edgewood AND fit the Sparkplug correctly, including even checking with Edgewood to see if they have a random irregularly size browband that just happens to fit. This is why you deal with small businesses!