Choosing Your First Browband; To bling or not to bling

Posted by Holly Leahy on

In my previous blog post, I discussed my methods for choosing a colour scheme like a pro. In this post I will be discussing bling or no bling, and different pattern options for those who choose not to bling, or that decide "less is best".

Bling Browbands

Perfect for; Horses without a lot of "bling", or those who love to sparkle

Bling is certainly "in", with a lot of people choosing "more is best". Mega bling designs can include rows upon rows of crystal chain, mirrors, and more. For this reason they are typically a higher priced item, as each "layer" of ribbons, mirrors, and bling has to be added individually and fixed on separately. Many of my mega bling designs feature hand sewn chain to ensure durability. 
If you have a horse with a lot of bling already (socks or stockings and a big white face), I tend to suggest looking into a patterned design over a "bling" design, as your horse already features a lot of bling. 

Checkerboard Browbands

Perfect for: Pony Club or riding club designs, sparkle without the blinding-factor

Checkerboard browbands are a personal favourite of mine, and a design I feel that is hugely underappreciated. They come in two style; chunky checkerboard and microcheck.

Chunky checkerboard features approximately 5mm ribbon, and a standard 1" wide browband will have 3 rows. Micro-checkerboards use 3mm ribbon and can have 5-6 rows per 1" wide band.

Chunky checkerboards if you would like to stick with two colours, can include one or two rows of metallic diamante ribbon to add a little bit of glitter.
Micro-checkerboards are perfect for pony club browbands, being able to feature up to 3 colours. This pattern however, does not mean you need to forfeit your bling addiction. Crystals can easily be hand placed onto the browband to add a little glitter or a lot. 

Sharktooth Pattern

Perfect for: Horses with a lot of white, traditionalists, pony club

Perhaps the most widely-recognized, and traditional of the browband pattern designs. The sharktooth browband can include up to 4 colours; or three colours and bling ribbon if desired. This browband style looks particularly stunning on horses that have big blazes, or coloured horses with a lot of white. The triangle-effect gives blocks of solid colour that stand out beautifully in photos. 








Diamond Pattern

Perfect for; Pony club, riders who like something a bit "unique"

Diamond pattern browbands tend to be a little bit overlooked in the showring, with so many other options being created. A not-so-distant cousin to the sharktooth browband, the diamond pattern is a great pony club choice (you can alternate the diamond colours, for an up-to 3 colour design). It's also a great option for riders who like the block-colour look of a sharktooth browband in photos, but want something a little bit different from "what everyone else has". 

Braided Pattern

Perfect for; Hunters, riders who appreciate minimalist/no-fuss designs, riders who like luxury

Braided browbands are hugely popular for the past couple of seasons. With the design possibilities, it's no wonder why. Riders are embracing the unique, minimalist design of coloured leather and velvets that can be used to create eye-catching effects regardless of the horse's markings. 
Braided browbands do cost a little bit more than "normal pattern" browbands depending on the materials used, and finish, however may also last a little bit longer when cared for properly. Many of my designs feature genuine leather with specialty finishes. 

Tip; Pair a leather braided browband with removable rosettes, for a stress-free hunter-to-rider-class look. 

Name Browbands

Perfect for; Keeping track of who's-bridle-is-who's, pony club pride, racing stables, Christmas or Birthday presents

Name browbands have been on the scene (with varying degrees of popularity) since I started making browbands 9 years ago. Like all browband designs, name browbands keep being reinvented with new options frequently.

Traditionally name browbands were layers of ribbon, with or without bling and crystal name sliders and optional rosettes; this is still a popular option.

Newer versions of the name browband feature metallic or holographic designs, with vinyl name decals and optional rosettes. I choose not to back this design option, making it the perfect work browband as you can just wipe it down after use. 


Now that you have a better understanding of the different browband patterns available. There is no "set rule" on patterns, colours, bling or no bling (it is important to note, however, that a hunter should not wear bling.) It is entirely up to the individual and their taste, and hopefully by now choosing your first browband\show look is becoming less daunting and more of a journey. 

If you're still feeling overwhelmed, please don't hesitate to contact me via email, my facebook page, or dropping a comment below. I offer complimentary design services, with no obligation. 

Happy showing!

Holly-Louise Leahy
Colorado Designed Browbands


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