Here we have tried to help with some points that you may require to know before purchasing your new bridle.
A horse or pony bridle is such an important part of your horse's tack, you need to make sure that you buy one which is the correct style and size for your horse. Generally bridles come in 5 different size. Below is a guide to which size should fit your horse or pony but please bear in mind that like humans our equine friends come in all shapes and sizes ;
Shetland also called Small Pony - Generally this size is suitable for 12 hh and under but there are exceptions, Welsh Section A & B generally tend to have small pretty petite heads so they also normally fall into this category.
Pony - Most manufacturers pony size bridles fir 13.2hh - 14.2hh But once again there are exceptions.
Cob - 14hh - 15.3hh
Full - 15.2hh - 16.3hh
Xfull - 16.2 +
The above are as a guide only and depend on your horses breed and well as height. Another major factor to take into account when buying a new bridle is that like clothing manufacturers, equestrian manufacturers sizes vary. A lot of the 'modern' manufacturers made their bridles on the modern sports horse measurements , which tend to be wider due to the Warmblood influence. Traditional Manufacturers produce bridles which are modelled on Thoroughbred horses which tend to be thinner in the face and longer.The brow-band should be comfortable, not pulling the headpiece into the ears or sagging with a gap at the front.The noseband should be snug but with space to put your thumb underneath it, and the head and cheek straps should sit just in front of the bit cheeks otherwise the noseband may eventually tip down at the front. There should not be too much extra strap on the back of the noseband as this flaps around and looks untidy.You should be able to put four fingers sideways under the throatlash. The split in the headpiece should not be visible above the brow-band or start too far below it.
Not all Horse bridles will fit every horse and slight alterations may be needed. Ponies can be the hardest to fit and they vary greatly is size and shape, Often they need shorter cheekpieces, which can be purchase separately. This brings us onto the next point. The Bit, which is also purchased separately, this again should fit the horse or pony correctly but should also be suitable for the job that is required of your mount and the ability of the rider.
Bridles come in many different qualities. You can buy Synethic bridles which are normally hardwearing and easy to clean, problems can arise if you need to add more adjustment, also if sweat is allowed to build up, this can rube the horse or pony. Leather bridles are always the best option and are designed to not only be comfortable for your horse or pony but they are made to break if your horse gets into trouble. By this we are not talking about when you are riding and your horse gallops off and your bridle snaps! We are talking if , which is not recommend you clip a lead rope onto your horses bit while tied up in his bridle, your horse spooks and pulls back, rather than his neck break, his mouth being ripped the bridle is designed to break. Bridles no matter what they are made of should be checked for any lose stitching, wear or tear before using each time.
Leather bridles come in different quality , European and English leather bridles tend to be of the best quality, alway ask the origin of the leather, 'other' leather can be hard and crack easily, normally these are the 'cheaper' bridles but if the seller does not stated where the leather is from beware! Now we have established that English and European leather is the best, this can then be finished in different ways, Drum dyed, this keeps the cost down and although the leather can be smooth it isn't always as supple as 'Tanned' Leather. Tanned leather is normally softer and more supple.
Nosebands are the next point to look at , with a new bridle, they come in lots of different forms but the most popular is a flash noseband, this again can come padded or non padded, padded being more comfortable for your horse or pony but will make the noseband depth thick and this has to be taken inconsideration on the size of your horses head. Flash nosebands may also come with a 'crank', this sounds painful, but they are kinder to the horse as they give more even pressure on the horse nose. They are widely used in the dressage sector, where the horses need to accept the bridle and work correctly into a contact.
A Grackle noseband, tends to be very popular and fashionable at the moment with Show jumpers. These again can come in High / Mexican style or a standard figure of 8 form. They help if the horse crosses his jaw.
Hunter , plain or flat style noseband tend to be used for showing and if a horse does not need to extra help of a flash noseband.
Reins once again, you need to think about the job that is required of your horse and the size of the riders hands. e.g. Pony reins. 5/8th reins, eventing reins, rubber grip and so on.
Bridles will also come in a variety of colours and are best to match your saddle. Normally colours are Black, Havana Brown (dark brown), Brown, Tan (new market/ London) Oak (Cognac/Antique).
One last guide is to measure your current bridle and ask the seller for the approx. Measurements of the bridle that you wish to purchase. Most good sellers will allow a full refund if the bridle does not fit, but please remember that the labels, packaging and all parts should be look after carefully , your horse or pony should be clean when trying on the bridle. If sending back a bridle for exchange of refund, crank style nosebands have a keeper which can fall off easily when trying on, if this is not returned the seller will not be able to resell the bridle as new, the same applies with dirt , etc.
We hope this has helped with choosing a new bridle and we are more than happy to assist, please email us if you require anymore help.