A beginners guide to bridling a horse
A badly fitted bridle can cause your horse a great amount of discomfort. That means it’s vital that you do it properly. It’s also important for your own benefit that you’re confident with doing it, as you don’t want it to be a hassle every time you saddle up to ride. With the right practice and knowledge, this can be a straightforward task - after a few trial attempts you’ll be bridling up with no trouble at all.
Follow this simple step by step guide so that you can bridle your horse quickly and efficiently.
How to bridle a horse - step by step
Preparing to go.
To prevent any sudden movements or complications, you should put a halter on your horse before starting, and secure the lead line somewhere close by. As a first timer, this is the best way to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Then perform some routine checks to ensure that the rest of your tack is in appropriate order. With everything correctly in place, make sure you’re standing on the left hand side of your horse.
If your horse appears at rest, you may remove the halter if you feel this is necessary.
Fitting the bridle.
- Get your horse to drop its head by gently putting your closest hand between both ears - facing towards its nose - and pushing down towards the ground. This is a gentle guidance, there’s no need for force here.
- Now you can grab the bridle and hold it so you can easily distinguish between the reins and the mouthpiece. Take the mouthpiece section and begin to move it towards the lips of your horse - your horse should respond by opening their mouth.
- You should take this opportunity to slide the bit in between the horses lips. This shouldn’t be hard to do as most horses will find this movement comfortable. But if it's proving slightly trickier, don’t rush it. The horse will respond in their own time so there’s no need to be aggressive.
- As you complete this movement, you’ll find that you’ll be able to pull the headstall over its head using your other hand. That’s the basics complete, the bridle is practically on, besides the adaptations you need to make next.
Making any adjustments.
- The first adjustments you should make will be regarding the main face straps on either side of your horse’s head. These should be secured quite tightly, until you start to see the skin loosen at the edge of your horse's mouth. Although it should be fairly tight, you shouldn’t be pulling the straps hard or fast in any way - this is a gentle, gradual movement.
- Now the chin strap can be tightened. This shouldn’t be as tight as the face straps, you need to be able to squeeze two fingers underneath your horse’s chin.
- If you haven’t already taken the halter away, it’s appropriate to do so now.
That’s pretty much all it takes, quite a simple task once you get used to it! There aren’t many steps to follow, but each one should be done with detailed care, to protect the safety of your horse and yourself also. Carry on reading for some suggestions on Equine Superstore’s favourite bridles.
Top Bridle Picks
There's a huge selection of bridles for you to choose from at any tack site across the web, of many sizes, styles and prices. Don’t worry about the cost, we have some suggestions for the best quality in every price range.
Cheap but effective
A favourite budget bridle across the equine world is the Amigo Mio Bridle. It’s made with great quality leather that’s also eco-friendly, so you can look good and support sustainability. Its browband that sits just in front of the ears is wonderfully padded, keeping your horses comfort in mind. It also comes with a flash band that can be removed, should you wish to secure your horses mouth. The surprising thing about this is that you can find it for only $41, so you can get a really great bridle if you’re on a budget or just starting out.
An upgrade in quality (and price)
We suggest shopping in this price range as you get a perfect combination of quality and price. Here we look at the Collegiate Comfort Crown Padded Crank Bridle. You get unbeatable leather that’s been sourced from Europe, meaning this bridle is durable and stylish. Each strap is very well padded for an all round comfortable fit. Your horse will really appreciate this piece that is guaranteed to support them in every movement they make. You can choose whether to buy in brown or black, giving you flexibility on style choices. This is a really sophisticated look that you could quite easily use for competition purposes, meaning it’s the only bridle you’d ever need. Shop the full range of Collegiate bridles and leatherwork here >
The best of the best
An experienced rider will usually go for a top of the range bridle as it gives their horse more comfort, allows them to have more control and looks really great too. The Rambo Micklem Multibridle is one of these that should be considered as the best bridle around. The leather on this piece is expertly crafted by hand individually each time, making you stand out from the crowd. It’s not just looks that make the Micklem a must buy, it’s the ultimate for caring for your horse too, offering them a seamless fit that will feel completely natural to them. It’s multi-purpose functions allow it to act as a bridle, a lunge Cavesson or a bitless bridle, each opting for a different strength level. The accessories on this bridle are what push it above the rest. It’s got tongue protection clips, bit straps, a curb groove strap and a strong bitless strap. There’s a great deal of science that’s gone into the research and development of this Rambo Micklem, and you can find out every detail with William Micklem's exclusive guide right here: