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5 Bridle Fit checks to improve comfort

1. Keeping the ears free from pressure - Make sure there is space behind the ears. Horses are incredibly sensitive behind their ears. A lot of bridles have headpieces which are cut back to give the ears space. If your buying one of these for your horse make sure it’s the right size as it can cause more pressure if it’s in the wrong place.

2. Browband tightness - Browbands can be seen as decorative features, but they’re vital for correct bridle fit. You should be able to fit your hand easily between the browband and the horse’s head. If it’s too tight, it will pull the bridle forward and increase the pressure on the ears.

3. Cheekpiece height - The cheek pieces are important for holding the bit in the horse’s mouth. If they aren’t level then the bit will also be unlevel. This will create different amounts of pressure on each side of the horse’s mouth, which over time will become more uncomfortable. Some horses have uneven heads so if you think the cheekpieces are level, but the bit won’t sit level, it may be worth asking a bridle fitter to have a look.

4. Location of cheekpiece buckles – the joint where the jaw connects to the skull is hugely important for the movement of the rest of the horse’s body. If there is pressure on the joint it can lead to asymmetry in other parts of the horse’s body. Cheekpiece buckles which sit just under the browband can increase pressure here, it’s better to have them halfway down the horse’s face so they’re more comfortable.

5. Nosebands – the bottom part of the horse’s nose isn’t made of bone, it’s made of cartilage. This means that it is softer and can bend. If your noseband sits too low, or a lower noseband strap is fastened too tightly it can restrict the horse’s breathing. Every nose band fits slightly differently, but if you’re checking the tightness it should be done on the front of the horse’s head where there is less skin to have a more accurate measurement.

March’s webinar was all about Bridle Fit, if you missed it, the recording is available here.



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