September 13, 2021

Fairfax + Dark Jewel Designs Custom Browband

Several months into owning a Fairfax bridle, I still love it, aside from the fact that I'm STILL waiting on the right size noseband to come in. Stupid supply chain. 

My only annoyance with it is that because the browband actually screws into the bridle in order to be as horse-comfort-friendly as possible, you can only use Fairfax browbands with it.

And even in normal times, when they aren't having massive supply chain issues, their selection is rather limited, especially on color. Lots of blues, whites and reds, but definitely no purple, like the Schockemohle I loved and sadly sold when I got the Fairfax.

Miss you

I've never done the custom browband rodeo before, but I know a lot of friends who have, and everyone I talked to liked Dark Jewel Designs, so I reached out to her on Instagram to see if she would be willing to do an experiment with me. She was, so I mailed her the spare plain Fairfax browband that came with the bridle.

In the end, she decided she couldn't make interchangeable strands work on it (because it's curved, as all Fairfax browbands are), but she could rip out the center and insert whatever I wanted into it permanently, so that's exactly what we did.

Fairfax's beaded browbands are over $100, but this plain one is only $30, so I told Amelia to go nuts and don't worry if it got damaged in the course of experimenting.

We spent a lot of time going back and forth on the design, and she was great to work with. She looked at my inspiration photo and a photo of my show outfit, and mocked up some options that ranged from "exactly the same as the Schockemohle" to "in the same color family" to "wildly different". 

She also asked if I wanted a different pattern, like a gradient, which I declined because of Connor's asymmetric blaze! That would just be asking judges to check out his often-crooked head.

In the end, I decided on an alternating pattern of three different shades of purple, rather than the white stones the Schockemohle had, and I absolutely love it:

Honestly, I didn't expect to say this, but I like it better than the Schockemohle. Without the white stones it seems smoother visually, and these catch the sunlight and sparkle in a way the Schockemohle stones didn't.

Even just sitting in our dimly lit tackroom, when you open the door it's like there's a disco ball hanging from my bridle rack, and I am here for that, lol.

I'd be more annoyed that ordering a new browband is now like a four step process for me going forward, but 1. I love the Fairfax, 2. I'm not really a dedicated outfit person and 3. I'm lazy. I tend to find what I like and stick with that for the long haul, and as much as I'm in love with this purple one, I don't think it's ever coming off my bridle!

Purple is really his color

Thanks for all the hard work, Amelia!


  1. That's gorgeous! I agree, I like it better than the Schockemohle.

  2. It's stunning. I cannot wait to see it with your show coat!

  3. So pretty! Looks absolutely perfect on Connor too!

  4. Gorgeous! Would love to hear your thoughts on the Fairfax bridle too!

    1. I wrote some initial thoughts on it but I guess I haven't written a proper review yet! I'll do that soon. In short, absolutely love it, it's the first anatomic I've ever had that makes a difference.

  5. Ohh I love how that turned out! Soo very pretty and like others have said, suits Connor perfectly.