The Riding Bridle

The Riding Bridle - Choose The Right One For Your Horse

Due to the vast selection of bridles on the market, finding the right bridle for your horse can be a bit overwhelming. Choosing the right bridle is important as it is one of the main ways to control your horse when riding.

First and foremost you should determine what type of bit you will be using. Some bits require a specific type of a bridle or bridle accessories.

The next step is to think about the type of occasions your horse will be using the bridle for. Some showing classes require a specific kind of noseband whereas an every day bridle should be practical and comfortable for the horse in question.

English snaffle bridle is the most common type used in every day riding. Despite of the name, other bits can be attached to a snaffle bridle. These bridles are usually worn with a noseband which depending on the horse’s needs, can be figure eight-shaped, drop, padded or flat showing nosebands.

A Pelham bridle is similar to a snaffle bridle but it has two sets of reins attached – one for snaffle action and one for curb action. These can often be seen in certain show classes as they give the horse a ‘double bridle effect’ without the need for two bits in the horse’s mouth. Pelham bridles are also often used in polo.

Double bridle is a snaffle bridle with an added bradoon strap enabling two bits to be attached. These bridles are almost exclusively used in higher level dressage and showing classes.

Gag bridles are similar to snaffle bridles but they have round cheekpieces. These cheekpieces slip through the slots in the bit ring, thus making the bridle action potentially severe. These bridles are only used for very strong horses or in rodeo, speed events and occasionally showjumping.

Hackamores and more recently bitless bridles use face pressure points instead of a bit to control the horse. When used properly, these bridles can be more comfortable for the horse.

If you are unsure of choosing the right bridle, ask your trainer or a local equestrian store staff for advice. Make sure that the bridle fits properly and that you never tie your horse with a bridle.

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