The Bridle

SONY DSC

After my last post there were a few questions about different parts of the harness so I thought I would do a post about them! I’ll start with the bridle.

As I stated in my last post I like to have only one wrinkle at the corner of my horse’s mouth. When I was in 4-H I was told to have 3 wrinkles and I remember the judge checking that! But I was told by an old cowboy friend to do that to myself and see how it felt. It didn’t feel good so I started having only one wrinkle or if the horse will allow, no wrinkle. (No wrinkle means the horse really has to hold the bit. When the bit is this loose they can get their tongue over it and that is very painful for the horse!)

The photo on the left is a close up of one wrinkle. Then I took a photo a bit farther back so you can see how the bridle looks. Not too loose and not too tight!

Photo on the left shows 2-3 wrinkles and a bridle that is much too tight. Not only is the bit too high in the mouth but it would be very difficult to get the horse’s ears into this bridle without bending them in half. You do have to slip the ears into the bridle but needing to cram them under it by bending the ear means everything is just too tight.

I like there to be a bit of space between the corner of my horse’s mouth and the bit. I don’t like the sides of the bit to touch the corner of the mouth.

This bit is from Chimacum Tack and is the 4″ bit. However when you measure it with a soft tape it measures 4 1/4″. Her old bit measures 4″. Even that little bit mattered! When I put this bit in her mouth she completely stopped chewing the bit and was less reactive when turning.

Here is a video of how I bridle Sky:

The horse’s eye should be in the middle of the blinders. Not higher and not lower. This can be tricky to adjust and sometimes you need to put a hole in between the holes on either the upper part or the lower part of the cheek pieces. When we were adjusting this harness for Sky many years ago we realized that Sky’s eyes are actually set quite high on her face. We hadn’t really noticed that before!

You can see that her eye is exactly in the middle of the blinders!

In the above photo you can see that her eye is too high inside the blinders. This means the upper part of the cheek strap needs to be tightened up! But if your bit is sitting just right and you have to tighten the top strap to adjust the blinders, then you need to adjust the lower cheek strap down one hole so your bit doesn’t get too tight.

Hopefully this cleared a few things up for those that had questions. If it brought up more questions please feel free to ask!

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