The fit of your horse or pony‚Äôs 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‚Äôs comfort and performance. Most people will understand the importance of a correctly fitted saddle and potential problems a poor fitting saddle can cause. However we rarely consider the fit of a bridle
Its always important to buy the best fitting tack for your horse or pony, but it‚Äôs not always easy. At Edgemere we carry thousands of bridles in stock in a wide variety of styles, colours and sizes. We have Pony Cob and Full size bridles, in the all of the leading brands Equipe are the most popular choice but we also have your Horseware with the amazing Micklem Range, Stubben and many more.
Noseband Style ‚Äì English Flash ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Known as a ‚ÄúHanovarian Drop‚Äù or simply a Flash Noseband, it has an additional strap to the Plain Noseband that does up under the bit and around the mouth, it can be fully adjusted to different degrees depending on how much control you require over the horses mouth. The additional Flash strap is used for horses who may open their mouths or attempt to put their tongue over the top of the bit, this is the only difference between the Flash and Plain Noseband.
Noseband Style ‚Äì English Plain ¬† ¬† ¬† Also called a Cavesson Noseband, it is commonly used in snaffle bridles and consists of a single padded band that goes around the horses nose. It provides a comfortable fit without restriction to the horse‚Äôs mouth. It is ideal for horses who are generally quiet in the mouth and don‚Äôt generally fuss with the bit.
Noseband Style ‚Äì Grackle ¬†¬† The Grackle Noseband, also known as the ‚ÄúFigure 8‚Äù is designed to prevent a horse opening his mouth and crossing his jaw, the front crossover point of the Grackle is the main pressure point. The straps pass through a slotted leather circle, which has a removable sheepskin backing on our bridles. This is very important as it can be washed and cleaned to avoid it becoming hard through use and chaffing the horses delicate nose area. The grackle noseband should be fitted so that the sheepskin part sits in the centre of the nose and the two crossover straps sit on the hard bone part going down, avoiding the fleshy parts of the nose. It is ideal if you have a horse who doesn‚Äôt like the position of an English or Swedish Noseband, or the thickness of a Noseband as most Grackle‚Äôs have much narrower straps.
Noseband Style ‚Äì Drop ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† The Drop Noseband prevents a horse opening his mouth to resist the contact, but has a more definite action than the Flash. Some horses respond well but others resent it. The low pressure point in front and pressure in the curb groove at the back is said by some to encourage a horse to lower his head. It can also act to stabilize the bit (and lower jaw) without pulling the cheeks into the molars like a cavesson/plain noseband can.
Noseband Straps One Strap One Buckle or Two Buckles. The Bridles have Two Buckles on the Noseband as the design allows you to change nosebands without removing the bridle completely, a useful option if you need different nosebands for different disciplines (or Phases, if Eventing). We have also found the Two Buckle system particularly useful for young horses that are bridle shy or have not been bridled before as you can put the bridle on the horse in parts (carefully of course!).
A Browband is the part of the bridle that goes across the horses forehead, its use is to work in conjunction with the headpiece to keep the bridle in the correct place. The right browband will highlight the best features of your horses head. You should be able to fit no more than two fingers underneath a browband. A well fitting browband should sit across the horses forehead and should not droop down. You can have diamante, plain , silver/brass. curved.
Headpiece ‚Äì Comfort Padded
This headpiece has additional padding over the horses sensitive poll area, it is generally more used in competition bridles and in conjunction with double bridles. Its function is to alleviate potential pressure on the poll area.
Trying on a Bridle
Assemble the Bridle to the Approximate Size of your Current Bridle, if you don‚Äôt have one make up the bridle to the centre holes but do not put the keepers through so you can adjust it when on the horse
If you are concerned about how your horse may react have somebody with you and make an initial sizing over a headcollar first which you can then remove to make smaller final adjustments.
When the bridle is on adjust the browband so that it sits just below the horses ears each side, ensure that the browband is set such that it doesn‚Äôt pull the headpiece into the back of the ears.
Adjust the throat latch (strap that goes under the chin) so that you can fit four fingers (sideways) between the strap & the horses cheeks, but no more.
Adjust and fasten the noseband so that the noseband is neither too tight or too loose around the horses nose. You should be able to fit two fingers in between the horses nose and the noseband.
If your bridle has an additional flash strap, secure this around the horses nose so that the buckle rests a few centimetres under the tab that attaches it to the main part of the noseband. This is to ensure that the buckle doesn‚Äôt pinch the sensitive area around the mouth.
Once you are happy with the fit, secure the strap ends into the keepers to ensure they don‚Äôt flap around. If any of the buckles are tightened on either the top or the bottom hole, then you should consider changing that part. Otherwise follow the checklist below.
Checking the Bridle¬†
Does the browband look too small, tight across the horses forehead, or pull the headpiece inwards so that it pinches the horses ears. Or does it look too large ‚Äì check to see if you can fit more than two fingers underneath.
Can you fit 4 fingers (sideways on) underneath the throatlatch (strap that goes under the chin) when its done up around the second or third hole. If you cannot achieve this fitting with the headpiece you have, you should consider changing that part.
Do the Cheekpieces sit straight along the top edge of the horse‚Äôs cheekbones, without cutting into the cheeks or interfering with the eyes. Does the bit sit in the horses mouth with no more than a couple of wrinkles. If the bit sits too low or too high, then you may need to change this part.
Does the noseband sit on the nose as it is designed (described above) and are the straps that come down the side of the face, in line with the cheekpieces and with the end of the strap sitting neatly inside the keepers. If not then you should consider changing this part.
Does the Flash strap (if you have one) do up so that there is around 5cm or less left on the end of the strap once tightened. If not then you may need to consider changing this part.