Checking Your Bridle Fit

Play Video

I have been teaching a lot of clinics this spring and I notice that many of the riders do not have their bridles and bits fitted or adjusted correctly. In order to establish a steady contact and to help your horse softly accept the contact, it is really important that your bridle and bit are fitted correctly. The biggest mistakes that I see is riders who have their bits too low in the horses mouth and nosebands that are too low – both of these things will make it difficult for your horse to accept a steady contact. Remember – the leather on your bridle will stretch over time. So this is a good reminder to check your bridle fit!

A few months ago, I had Tara, an expert bit and bridle fitter to come to my barn to fit bits for my FEI horse, Kensington. We thought it would be nice to film a quick video to help you check and assess your bridle fit. Here are a few tips to make sure your bridle is fit for optimal comfort:

  • Buckles – When you look at your bridle, you want to make sure that there aren’t any buckles on your horse’s TMJ. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) of the horse resides just below and in front of the base of the horse’s ear on either side of the head. This area is a huge nerve center and is also the joint that allows your horse’s jaw to move. Make sure that the buckles of your bridle are away from this area and that the leather pieces aren’t too tight.
  • Noseband – Next, check your noseband fit. You want to make sure that your noseband is not up against or putting any pressure on your horse’s facial crest (the bony ridge coming down the sides of their face). This area is another nerve center that controls your horse’s facial expressions, and a noseband that is rubbing this area can be uncomfortable.
  • Browband – It’s also super important to make sure that your browband isn’t too tight. Tara says that she sees this part of the bridle is often too small for the horse. When you look at the browband, you want to make sure that it isn’t putting any pressure on your horse’s temporal muscles on their forehead, or that the connection to the headstall isn’t so tight that it’s putting pressure below the ear. This is important because right behind the ear the trigeminal nerve comes out of your horse’s skull. Make sure that you can fit a couple of fingers under this connection of the browband.
  • Throatlatch – The throatlatch is another part of the bridle that doesn’t need to fit snugly. Because this strap comes under our horse’s jaw, it must be loose enough that your horse can move their jaw and open and close their throatlatch without feeling restrained by the throatlatch.
  • Bit Tension – Moving on to the bit, Tara says that it’s important to find the correct bit tension in the horse’s mouth. We don’t want it to be so loose that it’s moving around and unstable in their mouth, touching their canines, or resting on the bars. Another important thing to check is that your bit is in your horse’s mouth correctly. It’s super common to put the bit in upside down! Check and see if there is a marker on your bit telling you how to put it on, or research how your particular bit should sit in the mouth. In general, any snaffle bit should be making a smiley face when it hangs off your bridle.
  • Bit Width – As you’re looking at the bit, check and make sure that it is the correct width for your horse and that your horse’s lips aren’t getting pinched. Tara recommends that for any loose ring snaffle, you want your horse’s lips to be completely clear of the boreholes.

As you’re checking your bridle fit, you may notice that your horse needs a bigger or smaller size noseband, browband, or other bridle piece, but the rest of the bridle fits well. Tara explains that it’s super common for this to happen and that most horses don’t fit into our categories for bridle fit (like Cob, Full, Warmblood, etc.). If you find that this is the case for your horse, don’t worry! Bridle pieces are usually fairly easy and inexpensive to replace with a different size if needed.

I hope these tips help you and your horse! I know that I learned a lot!  If you want to learn more about bridle fit, make sure you check out Tara’s website, equinebitfitter.com.

Happy Riding!

Amelia

P.S. With a correctly fitting bridle, now you just need to make a plan to make progress in your riding! If you aren’t sure what you should be working on and your goals and dreams seem far away, check out my Free Plan Your Ride PDF! Inside, you will learn exactly how to structure your rides to make progress with your horse in every training session.

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
WhatsApp

Want more? Visit Amelia’s YouTube Channel!

These are our most recent posts, but there are hundreds more!  Head over to my YouTube channel to view the entire library.

Sign Up Now To Get Free Training & Tips In Your Inbox!

Latest Posts

5/5

Related Posts

Join the community

Get weekly training to your Inbox

Enter your name and email below and you’ll be added to my list to get weekly training videos each week. You’ll also be the first to hear about all my news, courses and offers! You can unsubscribe at any time!

PS-Good things are coming. Please be patient with this form, it sometimes takes a moment to submit your details!

ONE TIME ONLY OFFER

Canter with Confidence: Start Your Course

Enter your name and email and your FREE pdf will be sent directly to your inbox. You’ll also be the first to hear about all my news, courses and offers! You can unsubscribe at any time!

PS-Good things are coming. Please be patient with this form, it sometimes takes a moment to submit your details!

ONE TIME ONLY OFFER

Canter with Confidence: Start Your Course

Enter your name and email and your FREE pdf will be sent directly to your inbox. You’ll also be the first to hear about all my news, courses and offers! You can unsubscribe at any time!

PS-Good things are coming. Please be patient with this form, it sometimes takes a moment to submit your details!