How to Fit a Bridle

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How to Fit a Bridle

Fitting a horse with the right size bridle is vital to the horse's comfort and the rider's ability to control the animal. The right bridle fit can also help prevent long-term problems with a horse's mouth and can even help the rider correct behavioural issues. Although properly fitting a bridle can take some time, it is well worth it in the end. A properly fitted bridle ensures the horse performs to the best of its ability and improves communication between horse and rider.

 

Fitting the Bridle

A horse bridle has a variety of straps, all of which require checking for correct positioning and tension. A bridle that is too tight or too loose or has straps that lie across sensitive facial nerves or bones will be uncomfortable and counterproductive.

To ensure the correct fit, place the bridle on the horse with the bit attached. Then check the straps one at a time. They should not be too tight and should be in the right position. Use the buckles on the bridle to adjust the length and positioning until they are correct. Proper adjustment of the various bands means:

  • At least three fingers fit under the noseband
  • The cheek pieces lie flat and are not positioned to block the horse's vision
  • Cheek pieces are adjusted so the bit draws the mouth back to create one or two wrinkles
  • One finger should fit between the curb strap and the horse's chin
  • The throat latch should be very loose
  • The brow band should be long enough to prevent interference with the ears

Also, check the length of the reins. Reins should be long enough that the horse can lower its head all the way, without the rider have to bend over or reach down. This ensures the horse will be able to stretch its neck easily.

A bitless bridle is fitted in a similar fashion, but there are some differences due to the way the bridle works. There are also slight differences in fitting Western bridles and show bridles because of the different configuration of the straps. In general, the straps should be properly positioned, comfortable for the horse, and avoid pressing against any sensitive areas.

 

Choosing a Bit

The choice of bit is just as important as the proper bridle fit, if not more so. With an uncomfortable bit, a horse will not respond well and is likely to develop bad habits. A poorly fitted bit can even injure the horse. The fit of the bridle plays into this equation, as well. If the bridle is too small, it can pull the bit too tight. A too-tight bit does not move enough to allow the rider to communicate with the horse and can hurt the horse's mouth. A too-loose bridle leads to a too-loose bit, which again makes it hard to communicate with the horse and can hurt the horse's mouth and teeth.

 

Type of Bridle

Description

Usage

Snaffle

Most common bridle type. Easily adjusted for fit and individual control needs

General use

Double

Double-bit bridle. Provides additional control

Dressage

Western

Minimal bridle. Often does not have a noseband. Used with a western curb bit.

Western riding, general use

Endurance

Can be easily changed from a bridle to a halter or bitless bridle

Long-distance riding, trail riding, endurance riding

 

In general, the bit should be wide enough for about a quarter of an inch to protrude on either side of the horse's mouth. The link in the bit's centre should be smooth, and the bit itself should not be too thick. The proper bit width and thickness are determined by the size of the horse's mouth as well as the palate height, the tongue size, and how the teeth are positioned. It might be necessary to experiment to find the most appropriate bit, but the time invested will pay off in a more comfortable, more responsive horse.

 

How to Buy Horse Bridles on eBay

Horse accessories, including bridles and bits, are readily available on eBay. You can start your search with the type of bridle you are looking for, such as a western or show bridle. From there, you will find a variety of styles, materials, sizes, and prices to choose from. Look for strap measurements in the descriptions section to determine if the bridle is the right size for your horse. Listings will also mention any decorative items on the bridle. With a bit of patience and some careful shopping, you are sure to find just the right bridle for your horse.

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