There is another category of tack errors, however, that I simply cannot tolerate. These are functional tack errors--that is, errors that would adversely affect the equipment's ability to function in a safe and correct manner. One of the most common of these is a misplaced curb chain on a double bridle. I've seen so many otherwise good dressage and saddleseat entries that are completely undone by that one pesky detail! With that in mind, I went out of my way to take lots of pictures of upper level dressage bridles while I was at the Paragon II Dressage Show in Estes Park, Colorado a couple weekends ago. As you can see, the curb chain attaches to the top part of the curb bit and passes in front of the snaffle bit. I guarantee that if you run it behind the snaffle, any competent judge will be forced to place your entry at the bottom of the class. That's not safe and it's not done.Hope this was helpful, and please check your double bridles before you put them down on the show table!
Also be sure that the snaffle section of the double bit is supported by a bridoon hanger. That's the fancy name for the strap that attaches to the snaffle bit, passes over the poll, and attaches to the other side of the snaffle. This is not an optional item. Without the bridoon hanger, the bit is completely unsupported and would not stay in the horse's mouth. As with all functional tack errors, this will be a deal breaker for me if I'm judging.
Here are a few random observations about the bridles in these pictures--most of the upper level horses showed with loose throatlatches. I'm sure this is to accommodate the tucked head position, but it was quite noticeable in many cases.
This chestnut horse is wearing a bridle with a separate throatlatch piece. Most English type bridles feature a split crown so this is somewhat unusual. Unlike most of the horses, he also has a plain, undecorated browband.
All the bridles are black, which is to be expected at a dressage show. Most feature silver hardware, but some like the bridle below have gold toned buckles.
Here's a gold toned curb bit with silver buckles.