How to choose the right bridle for your horse?

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01.04.2022

An indispensable element in classical horsemanship, the horse’s snaffle is an integral part of our saddlery. Just like the saddle, the bridle is a way to communicate with our horse to make him an athlete. 

However, we sometimes pay less attention to this equipment than to others, and it is not uncommon to see horses suffering from it. Selecting the right bridle and adjusting it correctly is essential. Discover our advice on the subject in this new article! 

Contents 

  • The necessary adaptation of the bridle
  • Questions to ask yourself before choosing the right bridle
  • The right thread setting

The necessary adaptation of the bridle 

Today, and we are only beginning to take this into account, the adaptation of the harness to the morphology of our horses is essential. Indeed, the equipment manufactured in series according to standard dimensions, does not really correspond to the morphology of our horses. 

Arion HST Ear Net

Respectful harnessing

At Arion HST, we have taken into consideration the morphological differences of each horse from the very beginning. Therefore, we have developed a range of custom-made saddles, adapted to each horse’s build. This body-friendly harnessing avoids interfering with the relationship between the couple. A harness that is not adapted to the horse’s body hinders its performance by creating pressure points that are restrictive. 

What exists for stools is also true for bridles. 

A very comfortable horse bridle

From an outside perspective, our horses’ snaffles are intertwined strips of leather connected to a bit and queens. Not far from the truth, this definition is however a bit crude. Certainly, horse bridles and snaffles, by being placed on the horse’s head, are useful in classical horsemanship. 

Their usefulness comes from the fact that they allow the rider to interact with his horse. However, this interaction can sometimes be a constraint, or even a hindrance, if the bridle is maladjusted. Indeed, the bridles create pressure points on the head of our horses. The cervical vertebrae and the area behind the ears, the muzzle, and the trough, as well as the corners of the mouth and the mouth are sensitive areas that are often mistreated by poorly adjusted snaffles.

Arion HST Ear Net

It goes without saying that each horse has its resistance threshold. Thus, some horses may simply feel a little pressure, while others will be extremely uncomfortable and may even hurt.

A horse that is uncomfortable and awkward will have difficulty relaxing, will have difficulty relaxing and may work the wrong way, which could lead to injuries and postural defects. These are the so-called invisible injuries, the most difficult to treat. 

 

Before choosing your next bridle, consider the needs and requirements of your horse. Then ask yourself specific questions about your needs.

Questions to ask yourself before choosing the right bridle

Before you invest in a new harness, ask yourself a few good questions so that you know exactly what product to buy.

When selecting a horse bridle, as with other pieces of horse tack, you should determine your criteria for comfort, material, and ease of use.

The comfort 

The comfort of the horse bridle is the first consideration. Generally speaking, all horse tack is designed to be as comfortable as possible. However, our horses are all different. The size or shape of the head is unique to each horse, as is its sensitivity. 

For a sensitive horse, we prefer bridles with large and padded elements, to diffuse the pressure. Look, for example, at the anatomical bridles

The material

The material of your future horse bridle depends on the ease of maintenance and the aesthetics you want. A synthetic bridle will be less resistant, but much easier to maintain and cheaper than a leather bridle. On the other hand, a leather bridle will be more durable and look better with the rest of your equipment. 

Practicality of use

Depending on the type of riding you do, you may want to choose a bridle that is easy to set up. This is the case for trail riders and nature riders, who are looking for bridle elements with buckles and carabiners for more practicality. 

With these three key points in mind, you can already have a clear idea of the type of bridle you want for your horse. The last step in making sure your bridle is the right one for your horse is the adjustment. 

The right thread setting 

A horse bridle is made up of different elements, each with a specific role. Don’t worry about those whose horsemanship classes are a bit far away, we will go over some basics together. 

Role and adjustment of the headrest

Placed behind your horse’s ears, the headpiece allows the whole bridle to be held in place. Thanks to its positioning, it exerts pressure on the back of the ears (the mobile cartilaginous bump). This is a sensitive area, as it is highly innervated. 

To limit the pressure, we advise you to :

  • leave the manes free on the head passage, or shave them completely,
  • choose an anatomical headrest

Our elastic headgear eliminates the central support and considerably limits the pressure on the first cervical vertebrae of your horse. Thus, it is more relaxed and flexible, for a better quality of work. 

The right bridle mounts

The bitfitting depends on the bit your horse needs. To find out if your bit is suitable, or if you are unsure, turn to the bitfitting experts. 

After mounting the bit on your snaffle,  move on to adjusting the bit posts. They should not “pull” on the bit, nor should they be too loose. 

To properly adjust the posts, put the snaffle on your horse and watch carefully. Stand in front of your horse and move the mounts away from your horse’s head. The pit mounts are properly adjusted if they are about two to three inches away from your horse’s skin. If not, adjust them to find that space.

An adapted and well-adjusted nose band

We often use the nose band of the snaffle to stabilize the attitude of the horse by guiding its jaw. Accompanied by a nose-band, its role is to close the horse’s mouth. 

A well-adjusted nose band should be placed close to the zygomatic process, a little higher than usual. This placement relieves pressure on the nasal bone, which is a very fragile area. In addition, such a placement limits injuries to the corner of the mouth. 

To adjust the bridle posts, proceed in the same way as for the jaw posts.

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