I have a wonderful horse
… by the name of Deuce. He and I have had a fabulous partnership in dressage over the last 7 years. He is a far better horse than I am a rider but he takes great care of his mama! Several years ago I had him fitted for both bits and bridles.
For some reason I purchased the bit he was fitted for but not the bridle which was one from The Tota Comfort System, an innovative bridle design which incorporates the delicacy of the equine head, jaw, and facial nerves to deliver an unprecedented level of comfort to equine athletes.
… centers around a variation of the typical noseband and cheek piece structure, creating more stability in the jaw, a reduction of poll pressure, and alleviation of stress on the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and facial nerves. I didn’t buy it then as his “old bridle” was working just fine…or so I thought. Never did I realize that all of the judges comments on my dressage tests that said “needs better connection” could have anything to do with the bridle. I thought it was my riding.
… for this revolutionary tack design was Canadian & US Olympians Ashley Holzer and Sue Blinks, who were seeking to improve unsteadiness in the bridle that hampered the connection between horse and rider as well as their horse’s overall performance. So I wasn’t the only one having problems with “connection”.
The unnecessary pressure applied by traditional bridles to the poll, facial nerves, and TMJ joint was detracting from their horse’s natural abilities, from those competing in the Grand Prix to the FEI Young Horse classes. Holzer and Blinks brought their ideas on improving the traditional bridle structure to Charles Tota of The Dressage Connection, and together the three devised a curved cheek piece and stabilizing chin strap.
… that “old bridle” started to fall apart so I went back and looked at what Deuce was fitted for and ordered the Tota Comfort System’s Bimini Bridle from Dressage Connections. It was on sale for only $199 instead of the original $299. Loved that!!! How I wished I would have purchased several years ago, however, as in just a few months in this bridle he is so steady and “connected”!
How Does the Tota Comfort System Work?
The unique curved cheek pieces and jaw strap of the Tota Comfort Noseband redistribute the force created by the cavason when a horse moves its mouth, protecting the poll and TMJ. The design also avoids many of the nerves on the side of the horse’s face and helps stabilize the jaw. Here is a picture of Deuce in it. Note the second strap under the jaw.
Deuce is so much happier and more comfortable in the connection. In the past he would often open his mouth and “chomp” which was an obvious sign that he was uncomfortable. He has stopped all of that now while wearing this bridle. Having a horse that is comfortable in the bridle and will confidently step into the hand means everything. If they aren’t, then everything is compromised. Deuce is SUCH a willing horse so making him as comfortable at work and in the show ring is so important. While I have not shown in the new bridle yet, I am sure those judges comments of “better connection” will go away.
… as a bridle extension, the Tota Comfort System noseband connects to any snaffle or double bridle, so you can purchase just the “extension” as well. The extension is available in black leather, black patent, and black leather with white padding. The Dressage Connection created a line of Tota Comfort System double and snaffle bridles, including the recently released Montauk, Freeport, and Bimini designs.
I am actually thinking of getting him a double bridle as well (even though his “old double bridle is working just fine…..where have I heard that before!!!). Check out this video from Charlie Tota, the designer of the Tota Comfort System. And look for me in the show ring in 2020 in both my Tota Comfort System Bimini snaffle bridle…or the new Tota double bridle that I will soon be purchasing. Happy riding!!