Buyer’s Guide: Different Types of Horse Bridles
Bridles are used for riding and driving horses (pulling a wagon or cart) and allow the rider to communicate with the horse. Depending on your style of riding you can purchase an English or Western Bridle. You certainly want to buy a bridle that fits your horse properly.
English Bridles have a noseband (leather strap that buckles around the nose of the horse,) these reins are then buckled to one another at the ends. Western Bridles generally have no noseband and the reins are “split”, they do not buckle at the end. Western Bridles are usually decorative with features on the leather and they can also be adorned with silver.
Double bridles are used for English Riding in the dressage discipline and use two bits in the mouth at once, a snaffle bit and a curb bit. The two bits allow the rider to have very precise control of the horse and are usually seen in top levels of dressage.
Effective riding occurs when the horse receives commands through the reins. Pulling on the reins can be used to steer or stop the horse. If you have done your homework and learned how to ride, you should not need to yank on the bridle. You must remember that your horse’s mouth is sensitive and you could hurt him if you yank too hard which could cause your horse to act out and resist the bridle.
A bridle that does not fit correctly could also hurt the horse. Leather straps could chafe and the mouth could be pinched by the bit. If you do not know how to fit a bridle correctly, ask your instructors, a knowledgeable horse person and even the sales clerk at the tack shop could help you.
It is always a good idea to start off using the gentlest type of tack possible, such as a cavesson noseband and snaffle bit for English riding. If you have difficulty knowing what would work best for your horse, find out if you could try out different styles, even borrow a bit.
There are a number of different bits and nosebands which give you more control; however they are more severe on the horse. If you are not an experienced horse person
always consult a horse trainer before buying a different bit or noseband for your bridle.
The cost of bridles can vary considerably. You can visit your local tack store to look at the styles and types. Tack stores often have used tack for sale which is also an option. Keep in mind that you really need to buy a quality bridle. Bridles made of cheap leather or a second hand bridle with a lot of wear and tear is easy to break.
You can buy a bridle at your local feed and tack shop. You could take a look locally and then shop and compare prices online too. Used bridles can also be found in your local newspaper under the classified ads.