Fitting a bridle

Posted in Stable Management

Get clued up on bridle fitting with tips from an expert!

Fitting a bridle to a pony

Your pony’s bridle is an essential piece of kit, and how it fits him is super important. It needs to be suited to what you intend to do with him, the correct shape for his head and fit perfectly to maximise his comfort. 

Choosing the right sized bridle

Most bridles come in three sizes – pony, cob and full – but you can also get bridles in extra-small, for small pony breeds, or extra-full, for heavier horses. The names of the sizes can be misleading, though, because cob size is often a good fit for fine-faced ponies.

If you’re looking to buy a new bridle, it’s useful to measure your pony’s head to give you a good idea of what size will suit him best. You might have to mix and match sizes of each piece to get the best fit for your pony! 

Did you know?

In recent years, bridles have been designed to fit better around the pony’s head shape. These are known as anatomical bridles and often have broad, shaped headpieces that help to avoid sensitive pressure points.

Fitting the bridle to your pony

Making sure your pony’s bridle fits him correctly will keep him willing to work and, more importantly, happy. If his bridle doesn’t fit well, it can put pressure on the nerves in his head and rub his skin, which will be really uncomfortable for him. Here’s a guide to help you check the fit of your pony’s bridle piece by piece…

  • headpiece – it needs to sit well behind your pony’s ears
  • browband – you should be able to easily run your finger underneath it
  • cheekpieces – the buckles should be level with or just below your pony’s eyes. If they’re too long, ask your saddler to adjust them or buy shorter ones 
  • throatlash – you should be able to comfortably fit four fingers sideways between it and his jaw
  • noseband – allow room for two fingers under the front of your noseband and make sure you also have two fingers’ space between it and his cheekbones
  • reins – for your safety, check your reins aren’t too long. The buckle shouldn’t be near your stirrups – if it is, switch for a shorter pair

Fitting a noseband and a throatlash of a bridle

Top tip

If you’re unsure whether your pony’s bridle fits, or you want to double check it, ask your instructor for help or get advice from a bridle fitter – to find one near you, head to beta-uk.org.

Taking care of your tack

Taking good care of your bridle will help it last longer, so after each ride, rinse and dry your bit. Clean your bridle thoroughly after every few rides – it’s a good idea to take it apart and treat the leather. Try to always store your bridle on a bridle hook off the ground and out of direct heat or damp areas, too. Find out more top tack care tips here

Think you know all you need about tack? Test your knowledge here…

 

Our expert – Tricia Nassau-Williams is a lorinery consultant at the British Equestrian Trade Association

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