Bridling a Horse Correctly is Basic Horsemanship

"How to Bridle a Horse... Correctly!"

Bridling a horse is not as easy as it may seem. If you do it incorrectly, it may be become traumatic for the horse. The rider may be affected or injured as well.

Before you bridle a horse, you must be aware that there is an area in a horse's mouth called the "interdental space". It is an area with no teeth found on the lower and upper jaws. The area is between the back teeth, which are the "molars" and the front teeth, called "incisors." The bit rests on the interdental space when the animal is bridled correctly. Horse aficionados also call this area of bare gums particularly on the bottom jaw, bars.

The interdental space is also a spot where the horse owner or trainer can insert their thumb in times where you want to ask the animal to open its mouth. An example of this is to ask the horse to accept the bit during the process of bridling.

Horse Bridling Tips

  • Tie your horse in a comfortable place with a halter on. Do not have the animal tied solidly in case your horse has a habit of pulling back when scared. Though the horse can be bridled without the halter on, it is still best to bridle the horse while his halter is in place until you understand the animal and his needs.
  • Stand on the near side of the horse, which is normally the left side, when putting on the bridle.
  • You may utilize schooling aids to make horse bridling easier for you. A running martingale may be used to keep the horse from throwing his head upwards. Drop nosebands can also help keep the horse's mouth closed. Ideally you wont need this type of equipment as the horse will trust you.
  • Allow the horse to lower his head and make sure the bridle is untangled and ready to put on. Put your arm over the animal's neck and hold the bridle loosely on the opposite side of the horse. Put the bridle on the lowest setting possible to make sure it can fit on any animals head comfortably, you can adjust it once it's on the animal.
  • Now, remove the horse halter from his face. Then replace it around the neck so the horse is prevented from wandering off.
  • Make sure that you can reach the top of the horse's head. If not, you can use a mounting block for that sole purpose.
  • With your right hand, take the top of the head stall. It is the piece fitting over the animal's head. Then hold the bit with your finger and thumb so that it is stable. Introduce it to the horse's mouth gently, placing a finger in the crack of his mouth to ask him to open it. A well trained horse should unthinkingly open his mouth. If you have a cue or command to get the horse to open his mouth, use it.
  • Gently slip the bit into the mouth. Never force it. When the bit is in place, slip the top part of the headstall over the horse's ears.
  • The length of the face strap should be adjusted. Ideally, there should be one small wrinkle at the corner of your horse's mouth. Make sure his forelock is pulled out of the straps and none of the straps are tangled or broken.
  • Next would be the adjustment of the chin strap if your headstall has one. Keep this loose as it is a tool for pressure.
  • Your left hand should hold both reins while undoing the halter with your other hand. When walking with the horse, make the animal respect your space. Never tie an animal with the leather headstall reins.

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