Horse Bridle

Two types of the bridle are acceptable to the serious rider: the simple snaffle bridle with a cavesson dropped or crossed nosebands and the simple double bridle. There are other types of bridles and bits but discussion of them is not included here as they do not play a part in correct equitation. They are used, in general, to control a poorly-trained horse or by riders who have insufficient skill to ride correctly. At times they are used by very skilled riders who are taking a ‘shortcut’ in the horse’s training or who have insufficient time to retrain the horse. The snaffle bridle is used for everyday work. Many types of snaffle bits are available but only a few of them are acceptable to the serious student of equitation.

The cavesson nosebands complete the bridle, but unless it is fitted quite tightly it has no practical effect. The dropped, fitted correctly, discourages the horse from opening his mouth too wide or crossing his jaw. It is particularly effective and tidy when used with the Fulmar cheek snaffle hit. Care must be taken to ensure that the dropped nosebands are fitted sufficiently high; they must not be fitted low, on the soft part of the nose. The dropped noseband must never be used with a bit that incorporates a curb chain. The ‘flash’ nosebands have a similar effect to the dropped nosebands. The ‘grackle’ or ‘crossed applies pressure to the jaw above and below the hit. Its effect is, once again, to discourage the horse from opening his mouth too wide or from crossing his jaw.

When the horse can do all his work adequately in the snaffle he can be introduced to the double bridle. This bridle helps the horse to work at the highest levels of collection and with maximum impulsion. It gives the rider greater control of the horse, particularly giving him more influence over the lower jaw. It is not designed, nor should it be used, for the control of a horse so lacking in training that it would be difficult or dangerous to ride without it. The correct fitting of any bridle is most important if it is to be both safe and effective.

See more: Horse Bedding

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