Bridles & Bits

Use these tips from Certified Horsemanship Association instructors to properly and safely bridle your horse.

Use these tips from Certified Horsemanship Association instructors to properly and safely bridle your horse.

When bridling your horse:

  • Stand on the horse’s left side and place the reins over the head around his neck to keep them from falling to the ground and to control the horse. The horse should always be untied before bridling.
  • Hold the crown piece of the bridle in the right hand and the bit in the left. Reach over the horse’s head and move the crown piece toward the horse’s ears.
  • Place the bit between the horse’s lips. If the horse doesn’t open his mouth, put your thumb in the side of his mouth and press down on the horse’s bars (the area where there are no teeth and where the bit lies).

Before you put the bridle on, you have to choose the tack and after you take the bridle off, you have care for the tack. Get AQHA’s “Tack Talk” DVD to teach you how to choose and care for your tack. It’s tthe perfect addition to any horseman’s library.

  • Raise the crown piece and guide the bit carefully into the horse’s mouth. Slip the crown piece gently over one ear and then the other, bringing the ears forward, trying not to bend them. Straighten the browband and forelock.
  • When using one-eared bridles, place the right ear in the earpiece and slide the rest of the crown piece over the left ear.
  • Buckle the throatlatch loosely enough so your hand can be inserted breadth-wise between the throatlatch and the throat of the horse.
  • Fasten the cavesson – noseband on an English bridle – so one or two fingers can be inserted between the cavesson and the horse’s jaw bone.
  • Adjust the curb chain or strap so it is not twisted and so two fingers can be inserted between the strap and the horse’s jaw.

-compiled by Hailey Harroun

Christy Landwehr of the Certified Horsemanship Association will be heading up the fun and educational activities over at the Breyer Kids Corral during QuarterFest May 1 -3 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Choosing the right tack for your American Quarter Horse can be a difficult task, even for the most experienced horse owner. Get the guidance you need with AQHA’s “Tack Talk” DVD.

The Right Size Bit

To measure the width of the mouth, you can use twine or a wooden dowel about 12 inches long.

Put the dowel in the horse’s mouth where the bit would be placed.

Mark the dowel on each side of the horse’s mouth to get the correct width.

Always round up. If the width is 4 and 7/8 inches, then get a 5-inch bit, not a 4 3/4-inch.

Taken from Bits, Saddle Fitting and Hoof Balance, a online equine study course.

Top 10 Things About QuarterFest

#3: Equine Extravaganza! Don’t miss the All-Star Equine Extravaganza on Friday and Saturday night of QuarterFest, featuring horse movie stars and a tribute to our armed forces. You’ll be amazed as the story of the American Quarter Horse is brought to life as never before.

8 thoughts on “Bridles & Bits”

  1. Dear Sir,
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  2. I am of the opinion that cavessons or dropped nosebands should be discouraged from use as much as possible. If the horse is opening his mouth, he is trying to tell the rider that his mouth hurts either from a wrong or ill-fitting bit or that the rider’s hands are too heavy. A dropped noseband treats only the symptom and not the cause. The horse should be able to escape the pain of the bit. Tying the mouth shut is unfair and inhumane to the horse. It hurts me especially to see some of the dressage horses that are obviously in distress and their mouths are tied shut with what I would legitimately refer to as a “torture device”.

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