The bridle is one of the most important pieces of equipment that a horse owner can use to control their animal. It is made up of several different parts, including the headpiece, cheek pieces, noseband and throat latch. Each of these are attached to the bit, and they all have specific functions that help to keep the bridle in place.
Before you start to put the bridle together, make sure that the horse is haltered and safely tied. This will prevent them from trying to spook and get away or accidentally tripping or falling while you’re trying to bridle them. It’s also a good idea to brush the horse, as this will remove any dirt or grit that may cause discomfort when you attach the bridle.
Next, you’ll want to set up the crown piece. This is the portion that wraps around the horse’s head, and it is where you will attach the other parts of the bridle. The crown piece will connect to the cheek pieces, which in turn connects to the bit. It’s important that the crown piece is the right size for your horse, so make sure to measure the area where it will sit with a tape measure. Typically this is a finger’s width below the protruding bone on the cheek, and it will be about 1 inch above the ears.
Once you’ve sized the crown piece, you can move on to setting up the cheek pieces. These are the two leather straps that go on either side of the headpiece, and they will connect to the browband, throat latch and bit. You’ll want to make sure that the straps are the correct length, and they are positioned correctly on the horse’s head (they should be facing away from the ears). The browband should sit on an area of the face with lots of nerves, so it shouldn’t be too tight or too loose.
The final thing to set up is the bit itself. The snaffle bit has a small curve that should be facing up when it is sitting in the mouth of your horse. You can test this by holding the snaffle up to your horse’s mouth and seeing that the curve is positioned properly.
When you’re finished putting the bridle together, you’ll be ready to ride! Just be sure to check the bridle often for looseness or wear, and don’t forget to practice your riding skills to familiarize yourself with how your bridle will feel when you ride.
If you have a bridle that has been used before, there will likely be worn marks on the buckles showing how they should sit. Use these as guides when you’re setting up a new bridle, so that you’ll have the best fit for your horse.
If you’re having trouble putting your bridle together, you can ask us for help! We offer free bridle fittings in our store and can answer any questions you have about how to set up your bridle.