A bridle is the most essential part of the horse's headgear. So picking the right tack for your horse is highly crucial as a non-fitting bridle may cause damage to the horse.
For ages, riders have been using bridles to direct the movements of their horse. It is the primary source of communication and control with your animal. When fitted correctly, bridles exert pressure on the horse's nose, mouth, and cheeks to allow the rider maximum control. Selecting a bridle that is comfortable for your horse and effective for you as a rider will improve your relationship with your horse.
Let’s take a look at how a bridle should fit the horse.
We will start with the basics; when selecting a bridle, you first need to select the size: Pony, Cob, Full, Warmblood. There is no definite standard for the size of each element of a bridle, so you will need to decide on which size might fit your horse best.
Once you have selected the size of the bridle, you should now put it on the horse without a bit. Fit the bit at last, so you don’t need to worry about too many factors at a time or your horse’s comfort. Now, the first part will be splits, which are part of the bridle's crown, and when fitted correctly, sit just beneath the browband. The browband, in turn, should fit about ½ inch below the base of the horse's ear. If the splits do not fit correctly below the browband, the throatlatch will not hang accurately nor sit flush against the face of the horse.
Now talking about browbands, the brow sits on a group of nerves and vessels, so it must fit correctly. A browband that is too large can make the bridle slip out of place, and a browband that is too small will pinch & pull the crownpiece into the base of the ears. Two fingers should fit comfortably under the front of the browband.
Next are the nosebands. There are various types of nosebands so you can choose based on your choice and requirements. It should fit two fingers below the horse's cheekbones. Fitting it higher will put pressure directly on a nerve bundle of the horse’s face which can cause the horse discomfort. While tightening the noseband, you should be able to fit two fingers under the front of the noseband. The cheekpieces attach to the crown and support the bit in the horse's mouth.
At last, let’s talk about reins. The length of the reins depends on the horse's size, the rider's size, and the rider’s personal choice. However, as a guideline, reins should be long enough to allow the horse to stretch on a loose rein and short enough that the rider’s foot could not get caught in the bite.
All parts of the bridle are adjusted via buckles. Remember, the strap should buckle on the middle hole for a proper fit while fitting these parts. A strap that fits on the first or last hole leaves little room for the adjustment that creates a problem when the horse grows or changes shape over time.
After all these technicalities, of course, the aesthetic aspect also comes into consideration. Hopefully, these tips should help you to narrow down your bridle search! We, at Ashva, have a wide range of high-quality bridles available, which are crafted keeping in mind your budget and your discipline’s competition rules. So, you will be able to find a bridle here which not only fits comfortably but also shows off your style and your horse’s beautiful face!