Looking to find out how to fit a bridle correctly? Then you’re in the right place.
In this article, the Society of Master Saddlers provide advice on how to correctly fit a bridle and discusses the importance of ensuring nothing is too tight or too loose! This bridle does not look at points to consider in fit, for this visit our bridle fit article
The importance of fitting a bridle correctly
The fit of your horse or pony’s bridle is so much more than simply how it looks, and there are many points to consider in order that it fits and works correctly.
Without doubt, a correctly fitting bridle is essential for your horse’s comfort and performance.
Here we will explain the process of fitting a bridle, that should be undertaken to ensure it’s suitably once fitted and also describe the correct way to put it on.
This article looks at the steps to go through to correctly fit a snaffle bridle on your horse. It is advisable to have the horse tied up with the lead rope through the tie ring but not done up. Unfasten the noseband or throat clip of the headcollar, whilst leaving the headpiece slightly pushed back whilst you put on the bridle.
Fitting a snaffle bridle
When fitting a snaffle bridle, the noseband and throat lash should be undone and the reins should be put over the horse’s head and back to the end of his neck. If a martingale is present, this should be placed over the horse’s head at the same time as the reins and moved into position, with the girth strap left hanging until it is time to put the girth on. Make sure you are standing to the left hand side of your horse, slightly behind the eye, but not too far back. Take the bridle in your right hand with your right arm positioned under the horse’s jaw. The bridle should be held just under the browband with both cheek pieces held together.
The bit should be held in the left hand and then press gently on the horse’s gums in the gap between his teeth until he opens his mouth. Then pull the bridle gently up the horse’s head, sliding the bit over the horse’s tongue. Be careful not to clash the bit against the horse’s teeth as this may cause him to pull away and raise his head.
Keep the bit in the mouth whilst you use both hands to slide the headpiece over the horse’s ears and secure it behind them. Then pull the forelock over the browband. Check that the bit, noseband and browband are all straight. Fasten the throat lash and noseband (and the flash if there is one). The noseband should sit on the inside of the cheek pieces. Clear the bridle path so the brow band sits comfortably and flat across the poll area to remove any uneven pressure.
You must ensure that the bridle sits in the correct position and fits properly. The bit should sit in the corners of the mouth and produce one crease in the lips.
The noseband should sit 1-2 cm below the cheekbones, except if it is a grackle which fits differently (in a figure of eight around the face). It can be adjusted but the long strap must not sit too high as this can cause the horse pain. For a plain cavesson noseband or one with a flash attachment, you should be able to slide two fingers underneath it. The buckle should be fastened at the back of the jaw, between the jaw bones. If it is a drop-noseband, it should be fitted very carefully so that it does not interfere with the horse’s airway. It should be lower down than a plain noseband but still resting on the horse’s facial bones rather than the soft fleshy area around his nostrils. The strap should fasten in the groove of the chin. You should be able to fit one to two fingers under it when fastened.
The browband should sit in the natural groove below the horse’s ears and lie flat against his head. Make sure the browband is not too tight as this will pull the headpiece forward onto the horse’s ears.
The throat lash
The throat lash should be fastened so that it can fit a fist between the leather and the horse’s jaw. It should not be too tight as this can interfere with the horse’s breathing and ability to flex at the poll. The buckles of the cheek pieces, noseband strap and ideally the throat lash should sit parallel when fastened.
Information about the Society of Master Saddlers can be found on the website www.mastersaddlers.co.uk or telephone 01449 711642.