Bridle as one of the most basic elements of the equestrian equipment plays an important part as a means of communication between the rider and the horse, which stands for the quality of the ride. The type of bridle should be matched to a particular horse. The shape of the horse’s mouth and his sensitivity to various mechanisms makes it impossible to find the so-called golden mean for every horse. A wrongly fitted bridle often causes pain and discomfort that in turn causes failure at training and frustration. Without a doubt, the most popular type of bridle is the classic bit bridle. It is a good choice for horse riding schools and places where beginner equestrianism is popular. Such bridles do not require much skill and delicate hand, but with a very wrong attitude towards the horse, even these bridles can hurt him. There are alternatives available on the market that should improve the quality of cooperation with a horse that does not like classic bridles; that includes a very strong curb bit mouthpiece and bitless bridles.
When to resign from using a bridle?
Sometimes it happens that your horse cannot stand the classic bridle – he grinds his teeth, pulls on the bit, or does not react to its action at all. It does not always stem from disobedience. Some steeds have issues with teeth or have gone an injury of the jaw or chin bones. It happens that sometimes in the past, the horse had been hurt with the use of a bit, for example, by excessive pulling, which caused his unwillingness and trauma. In such a case, you should change your bridle to one without a bit. However, you need to keep in mind that this type of bridle does not mean its action is more delicate and anybody can use it. It works differently and you should start using it under the eye of an experienced coach. There are a couple of bitless bridles available on the market, for example, scawbrig, bosal, or the more and more popular hackamore.
How does a hackamore work and who can use it?
In the case of bitless bridles, it is believed that they are delicate and anybody, who knows how to lead a horse on their own, could use them. It is a faulty assumption, which is best proven by hackamore. Such a bridle works on the horse’s nose bone, occiput, and chin. It is a great alternative for an experienced rider with a calm hand, whose horse cannot stand the classic bit. However, in some cases, it may cause pain or even seriously hurt the horse. The crucial part is matching the bridle to the horse’s muzzle; put too low would cause breathing problems, put too high may irritate the malar nerve. Hackamore comes in two different versions – lever (rough) and cross (delicate). Such a bridle can be used with horses of delicate mouths or horses that cannot stand bits for various reasons. However, it is worth noting that working with a bitless bridle does not always is immediately acceptable for the horse. Sometimes you might need many training sessions for the steed to get used to it.
Choosing a bridle should be an individual process matched to the rider and the horse. You should use all elements of the equestrian equipment sensibly. Remember that every horse is different and his behavior may stem from many factors. The cooperation between your horse and you should be pleasant and beneficial for both sides.