Buying, picking and fitting your horse bridle

Your horse’s bridle is most probably going to be one of the most important purchases you make when it comes to controlling and communicating with your horse, so it makes sense to spend time considering which one is right for your horse.

Understanding your bridle

A bridle has a number of components that you need to understand.  The first part is the bridle headpiece.  This is fixed behind your horse’s ears; the mouthpiece contains the actual bit, and then there are the reins which are attached to the bit and allow you to communicate with your horse.

They are available in three main sizes (pony, cob and full) and are fully adjustable.

With so many different brands, sizes and types to choose from, it’s sometimes difficult to know which one is right for you.

The type of discipline you are involved with, will alter which bridle you choose, so here’s our best advice about how to select the best option.

Picking out the perfect bridle

Decide what material you want your bridle to be manufactured from.  This is very much down to what you personally prefer.  Price may also be a deciding factor.  Nylon is certainly cheap, strong and easy to look after, but not really suitable for shows.

Leather bridles are perhaps the best quality, but you will need to maintain it, and it will cost more.

Bridles also come in different colours, weights and sizes.  Lighter materials are generally better on a thinner horse while thicker styles look better on bigger horses.

Talk to your equine supplier before you make a decision – tell them about your horse and they can advise.

You will need to measure your horse before you buy a bridle.  We suggest you measure from the corner of your horse’s mouth, over the poll, to the other corner of his mouth.  The bridle throat latch is measured around the poll, across the cheeks and add in 4 of your finers.  The brow band is taken from left of the left ear, to just past the right ear.

Free Saddle Fitting Guide

Don’t forget that along with your bridle, you will need to choose other kit, so select the nose band in conjunction with the bit, although some bridles don’t have one.

horse bridle

How to fit your bridle properly

It’s hugely important that you fit your bridle properly - both for your horse’s comfort and for your own safety. If your horse feels uneasy, he may start to act edgy, tossing his head about etc. Whilst bridle fit does vary, it should be a straightforward process, but it needs to be done perfectly.

Here’s how we do it:

Your horse will get used to his bridle, so persevere with fitting if he’s not keen at first.

  1. Undo the noseband and throatlash before you fit your horse’s bridle.

  2. Undo the nose part of your horse’s halter. This will mean he can still be tied up when fitting the bridle.

  3. It’s best to place yourself on the near side (left) of your horse, behind his head.

  4. Put the reins over the horse’s head gently.

  5. Place your right hand under his jaw and pass the bridle into your right hand.  Your horse shouldn’t mind this and keep his head down, so you can grasp the top of the bridle. If this doesn’t happen, you will have to hold the bridle half way down, putting the check straps in the right hand.

  6. Place the bit in your left hand and lift it up to his mouth.  If your horse doesn’t want to open his mouth, he may require a bit more persuasion!

  7. Slide your right hand up at the same time as sliding the bit into the mouth, making sure the bit is over the tongue.

  8. Pull the top of the bridle over the ears, one at a time.

  9. Pull the forelock over the browband and check to see if the bit, noseband, browband and straps are even and level.

  10. Do up the throat lash and the noseband.

Your bridle is now on – check everything is fitted well and not loose, and that your horse seems happy with it.  You are good to go!  As with any new process, it takes time to perfect your bridle’s fit, so don’t give up.

Whitaker Bridle

Many horse owners use the BR053 Valencia Bridle by Whitaker. This is a full leather, flash bridle which is padded for your horse’s comfort and delicately finished with contrast pattern stitching along the browband and noseband.


John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

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