Make sure the straps on the bridle are untangled. Allow the horse to see what you have in your hands by approaching from the front. Stay on the left side and always stay close to the horse's head. When handling the horse's ears remember to be gentle. Do not let the halter clink when you are approaching the horse as some horses will react to the noise. |
Untie the halter rope and loop it over your arm. Make sure you can get out of the way if the horse jerks back. Unbuckle the halter and slip it over the muzzle and refasten it around the neck. This gives you some control so that the horse cannot walk off.
Hold the crown of the headstall in your right hand, the bit in the palm of your left hand. The noseband will encircle the horse's jaws. Ease the bit below the horse's mouth. Your right hand will be over the top of his head. Gently bring the bridle up the horse's face. If the horse does not open his mouth to accept the bit when it touches his mouth, insert your left thumb gently into the corner of his mouth so that it presses slightly on the gum. There is a gap here with no teeth. This should encourage the horse to open his mouth.
Being careful not to let the bit drop out of the horse's mouth, bring the crownpiece up over the horse's ears one at a time. Make sure that the horse's forelock is lying free over he browband. Make sure that the headstall fits and is not twisted. All parts of the bridle should be lying straight and flat before fastening the bridle buckles.
Do the throatlatch up first. If this is a Western bridle the horse will be ready to go. If it is an English bridle you will need to fasten the noseband. A cavesson noseband should lie next to the horse's face underneath the cheekpieces and be fastened loosely. A drop noseband should be fastened tighter and lie below the bit.
When you unbridle the horse, first, buckle the halter loosely around the neck. This will keep the horse from running away with your saddle. Undo the noseband and then the throatlatch on the bridles. If a Western bridle undo the throatlatch. Bring the reins up the horse's neck, take hold of the reins and the crownpiece in one hand. Pull them gently over both ears at once. Lower the bridle slowly down the front of the horse's face. Allow him to spit out the bit. If it is English and has a noseband it will fall away of its own accord. Do not pull the bridle off too quickly as this will bang the bit against the horse's teeth and make him headshy.
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