When it comes to horseback riding, the importance of a bridle is obvious. A horse bridle comes with different pieces such as the brow-band, nose-band, cheek-pieces and throat-lash. For the comfort of the horse as well as the rider, it is necessary to adjust each piece so that the bridle fits correctly. Mismatching can often affect the horse's gait and cooperation. When bought, bridles are always very stiff. Neatsfoot oil is a good solution for making it supple and conditioning the leather for long term durability. There are different kinds of horse bridles. Each one is meant for different purposes and techniques in horse riding. |
Snaffle bridle: This is a bridle with a lot of adaptability. It can be used for various purposes like dressage riding, general exercising, eventing, polo and racing. This horse bridle has a head-piece, brow-band, cheek-pieces, nose-band, reins and bit. The snaffle bridles can be fitted with a flash strap that is attached to the noseband and fastens around the mouth to help keep the horse's mouth closed to aid control.
Western bridle: These bridles are used for long trail rides and are therefore light weight and apt for hot conditions. They are mainly used in barrel-racing and cutting competitions. This bridle has a head-piece and a brow-band, either a full brow-band, split-eared brow-band or a one-eared brow-band. It is worn without a nose-band. The bit that is used with this bridle is a western curb-bit that has split reins at the end rather than one with a joined buckle.
Double bridle: This bridle provides a great level of control over the horse since there would be two bits in the horse's mouth instead of one. This can be used for showing and advanced level of dressage riding. A double bridle also has a head-piece, brow-band and cheek-pieces. The nose-band is designed as a cavesson, which encircles the nose to avoid interference by the action of the bit. There are two bits, one attached to the cheek-pieces and the other attached to the bridoon-sliphead, which features 2 sets of reins one set wider than the other the curb rein being narrow for more control.
Endurance bridle: This bridle helps when the horse has stopped to drink water. Its main use is for general exercise and long-distance riding. In this bridle, the bit can be removed to use the head-collar or for the bridle to be used as a bitless bridle, made from lightweight webbing material.
While choosing a horse bridle, there are a few things you need to take care of:
You need to decide on the type of material for the bridle. This has to be decided upon based on your preference and your budget. There are horse bridles varying from webbing, plastic to leather. Leather bridles are always preferable, though they can be on the expensive side. You have to consider the extent, kind of use and safety as well in order to decide on the material of the bridle.
Decide on the colour of the bridle. This depends on your personal preference. However, it will be a good idea to consider the colour of your horse and the saddle so that everything matches while choosing the horse bridle.
Next, you need to decide on the weight of the bridle. You could either get a heavyweight one or a lightweight one. Once again, this depends on your preference and the breed of the horse, as a large cob or heavyweight hunter will need a heavyweight bridles and smaller native breeds and children's ponies will need lightweight styles.
Before buying the bridle, take the accurate measurements of the horse's head, cheek and neck. An ill-fitting horse bridle can create discomfort for not only the horse but also the rider.
While buying the bridle, make sure that the nose-band that comes with the bridle suits the horse. Make sure that the bridle is not too tight and doesn't choke the horse. It's always better to clean and condition the horse bridle after using two or three times.
Do not give preference for the appearance of the horse bridle. Comfort and safety of the horse and the rider comes first.
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