Fitting a bridle to your horse is one of the most important things you can do and ensures the horses’ safety and comfort as well as your own. If you are unsure as to how to fit your bridle please consult a professional.
The bridles will come in sizes appropriate to your horses’ size, most commonly pony (11hh-14hh), cob (14hh-15hh), full (15hh-16hh) and warmblood (16hh+). The first thing is to ensure the headpiece of the bridle fits around your horses head and the brow band is the right size across the horses forehead, not too tight or too loose. The cheek pieces attach to the bit rings and you should be able to get two fingers underneath at all times. The throatlatch does up loose and you should be able to get four fingers between the strap and the horse’s jowl. All buckles and billets should be facing outwards.
There are a few different types of noseband you can use and some people prefer to ride without one.
The cavesson is the most simple and effective and does up around the muzzle of the horse, underneath the cheekbone and two fingers width below the cheekbone. The noseband should not be tight on the horses face and a minimum of two fingers should fit between noseband and horse at all times.
The Hanoverian with flash band is another combination frequently used and should fit similar to a cavesson noseband, with at least one finger able to fit through at all times. The ‘flash’ strap goes in front of the bit and again, should have at least one finger’s width of room at all times.
A figure eight noseband is seen most commonly on the cross country and showjumping circuit and the top strap should sit up a bit higher on the horse’s face but still well below the eye and under the cheek piece of the bridle. The lower strap fits similar to the ‘flash’ of a Hanoverian noseband.
A drop noseband should sit on the horses face just in front of the bit and do up with a finger’s worth of room.
It is important to note that a noseband is fitted mainly for aesthetic reasons and is not designed to be tight on the horses face. The horse has a number of delicate parts on its muzzle, from nasal passages to nasal bone, nostrils and the mouth. Anything that is uncomfortable and restricting will cause the horse to worry.