At Equi Supermarket we are pleased to offer you an exceptional collection of bridles from the world’s leading equestrian ranges. With beautifully crafted leather bridles from Bridleway, Jeffries Equestrian, Le Mieux Equestrian, Schockemohle and Caldene we are sure that you will find the perfect bridle for you and your horse. There are several different styles to choose form...
What is an anatomical horse bridle?
The bridle is an essential part of any horse’s tack. The bridle nust be comfortable and well-fitting for both rider and horse to be happy and work in harmony - but more recently, brands have introduced something called anatomical bridles. These bridles are designed with the horse’s anatomy in mind to maximise comfort. They are designed in a specific shape and cut to prevent pressure on your horse’s facial nerves. This helps to ensure the wellbeing and happiness of your horse, as well as help them to move their faces naturally and stay comfortable.
These bridles have a few key features that make them stand out from traditional bridles. There are several styles, but they may include one of the following parts:
- Headpiece - with no additional straps passing over the poll, pressure points are minimised. The surface area is wide meaning that pressure is distributed more evenly, also ensuring more freedom of movement for the ears.
- Browband - this curved shaping follows the contours of your horse’s brow, and reduces pinching across the face.
- Cheek pieces - horses have nerves along the cheek, so a cheek piece can help to lessen the pressure on sensitive facial nerves.
- Leather and fastenings - high quality leather makes it comfortable for the horse and long lasting for you.
- Noseband - there are many of these options available with anatomical bridles. Some may look similar to the traditional style, but they do help to eliminate any pressured areas.
Does a Horse Really Need An Anatomical Bridle?
Making the switch to an anatomical bridle could lead to enhanced comfort and performance when riding your horse. You are relieving pressure on their faces, which should make your horse more accepting of the contact and freer in their work. If your horse has shown signs of discomfort in the past, such as head shaking and rubbing, then an anatomical bridle could help with this. Head shaking and rubbing might seem like normal behaviours to you by now, but they may actually do this because their faces have gone numb and they are trying to get feeling back. Other issues that may improve when you start using an anatomical bridle include:
- Fighting the contact
- Resistance to the bit
- Getting the tongue over the bit
Each horse reacts differently to different things, but riders often report seeing a huge improvement in their horse’s comfort and behaviour. Of course, there are several styles to choose from. This can make choosing the right anatomical bridle difficult. Making sure you consider all of the elements included in each option that you look at will help you to decide on the best one for your horse. They may not contain all of the elements that we listed above, but having an idea of what is included will help you to make the right choice.
There’s a reason these bridles have become all the rage for show jumping and dressage. These comfortable bridles will put your horse at ease and ensure you can both put on the very best performance, with no issues proceeding the event.
Snaffle bridles feature a single bit and a single set of reins. The most common bit used with this type of bridle is the snaffle bit, but other single-rein bits can also be used. The snaffle bridle and bit is accepted for use in most equestrian disciplines. The bridle connects to the bit, and the bit is a straight bar. This type of bridle is designed to enable riders to exert the necessary control over their horse but without the use of any leverage from the bit in the mouth.
Elements of a Snaffle Bridle
There are three principle types of English bridle but the most frequently used is the snaffle bridle. It is a popular choice because it is simple and versatile. Used for leisure riding and in most equestrian disciplines, the snaffle bridle is the first bridle that most riders will use.
A snaffle bridle consists of a single snaffle bit, a throat lash, a nose band, a cheek piece, a brow band and a head piece. The reins are then attached to the bit rings. The bridle works through the transference of pressure. As the rider pulls on the reins that pressure is transferred to the bit and through the bit to the horse’s mouth, poll and nasal bone. The noseband keeps the horse’s jaws in alignment and prevents the animal from opening its mouth wide enough to expel the bit.
Different nosebands or cavesons can be used in conjunction with a snaffle bridle including flash and figure-8 styles. Each equestrian discipline has its own rules regarding which nosebands can be used. Dressage riders may prefer a flash noseband whereas cross country riders and showjumpers would usually use a figure-8. This is because the figure-8 is designed to afford extra room for horses’ nostrils to flare whilst working.
Snaffle bridles are available in different colour leathers and synthetics. Black leather snaffle bridles are preferred for dressage as they provide a clean and understated look. Here any features designed to enhance comfort such as padding on the noseband are hidden from view. Some colour or interest could feature on a dressage bridle in the form of contrasting piping or decorative beads.
Traditional brown shades of leather are more likely to appeal to those riding in cross country events or purely for leisure. Bridles for hunter, jumper and cross country riders are generally understated and chosen to complement the particular horse. Embellishments are not permitted for hunters.
Sizing and Fit
Snaffle bridles are available in different sizes and it is important that you achieve a good fit. When you purchase a new bridle it is best to test the fit before you mark the bridle in any way as then you will be able to return it. To check the fit, therefore, put the bridle on your horse with all the buckles undone so you don’t cause any indentations in the leather. Simply push the ends of the straps through the running loops gently and without bending the straps until they crease. When the bridle is in place gently pull the straps to replicate their position if buckled using the middle hole.
The Finger Test
You should be able to fit two fingers under the browband, two under the noseband, one under the headpiece at the poll and four under the throatlash. The buckles on the cheek should line up with the horse’s eyes. The bit should lie comfortably in the horse’s mouth and create a small wrinkle at the corner of the lips. The bit shouldn't be too wide or too narrow as it could rub or pinch. The browband should be comfortable but tight enough to prevent the headband from being pulled forward.
Cavesson bridles have a noseband attached to a slip head that passes through the brow band and then sits underneath the headpiece of the bridle. The cavesson noseband is a single strap of leather that fits around the horse's muzzle. A flat cavesson noseband is also known as a hunter cavesson noseband. The cavesson noseband was originally designed so that a standing martingale could be attached to the bridle. Without the martingale attached the cavesson nose band is merely aesthetic.
Flash bridles feature both a cavesson noseband and a drop noseband. They are a relatively recent innovation featuring a regular cavesson but with an extra strap which keeps the horse’s mouth closed. This type of bridle is favoured by jumpers who want the control of a drop cavesson but wish to use the English cavesson noseband for attaching a standing martingale.
Grackle bridles are fashioned with a noseband attached to a slip head that passes through the browband and sits underneath the headpiece of the bridle. This type of bridle features two leather straps that cross over on the nose and through a slotted, leather circle. This circle can often have a sheepskin backing for comfort. The Grackle bridle is a variation on flash styles which applies pressure evenly and over a larger area than a flash noseband when a horse opens its mouth. Grackle bridles provide more room around the nostrils to make breathing easier for the horse.
Buy Online at Equi Supermarket
The Equi Supermarket bridle range features high quality leather bridles and is priced to please. To ensure that your bridle remains in the best condition for longer it will require regular cleaning and conditioning. You will find the cleaners and conditioners you need in our leather care collection.
If you would like to learn more about bridles, then here is a selection of great articles.