Horse Bridle, How to bridle your horse
How To Bridle A Horse
Bridle your horse easily and safely using our step-by-step photos. While the bridle in the photo is a Western bridle, the information is still appropriate for most other bridles. When you're done reading this page, please see a few common sense safety precautions at the bottom.
Putting On A Bridle:
First of all, when you're bridling a horse it's important to understand there is an area in every horse's mouth known as the "interdental space." The interdental space is an area, both on the upper and lower jaws, where there is not any teeth. This area is between the front teeth (the incisors) and the back teeth (the molars). When a horse is bridled, the interdental space is where the bit rests. On the bottom jaw, most horsemen refer to this area of bare gums as the "bars."
The interdental space is not only the area in a horse's mouth where the bit rests, it is a safe place for a person to insert their thumb to ask the horse to open its mouth to accept the bit during the bridling process.
Removing The Halter:
While some people ride their horse with the bridle over the halter, we're going to remove it. When you remove the halter, you will still need to maintain control over the horse. One method is to take the halter off of the horse's head, then buckle it around the neck. Some horses are accustomed to being bridled without being tied up, so after his halter is buckled around his neck the lead rope were allowed to fall to the ground, instead of using it to tie the horse.
If the horse can be trusted not to move off, you can also remove the halter completely and use the reins of the bridle around the horse's neck to maintain control.
Place your right arm between the horse's ears. This will encourage the horse to drop its head, and will also put your right hand in a good place to lift and guide the bridle. Use your right hand to hold the crown of the bridle.
If you don't loop the reins over the neck of the horse as shown in the photo,
you can lay them over your left arm or shoulder to keep them off of the ground.
Use your left hand to move the curb strap behind the horse's chin so it won't accidentally slip into his mouth, and place the bit right at his lips.
During this step, do NOT bump or bang the bit into the horse's front teeth. This is painful to the horse which is not only unkind, the horse may also react to the pain by flinging his head, possible whacking you in the face and causing serious injury.
Repeatedly bumping the horse in the front teeth with the bit during bridling could (understandably) cause the horse to become hard to bridle.
Even a small horse is a large and powerful animal. During the bridling process, the person doing the bridling can easily be injured. It is common sense to take a few, easy precautions to avoid injury.
If it is fly season, consider applying fly spray to the horse. During bridling you will need to stand very close to the horse's head and front legs. If the horse is fighting flies you could be stepped on or hit in the face by the horse's head.
Don't cause the horse pain or discomfort during bridling. In addition to simply being wrong to mistreat a horse, causing one pain or discomfort is also a safety hazard. A horse reacting to pain in the face or mouth area is likely to quickly and powerfully move its head, possibly hitting anyone nearby in the face and causing serious injury. The two main ways people accidentally hurt a horse while bridling it is to bump its teeth with the bit, and to smash its ears.
Saddle first, bridle last. When getting ready to go for a ride, saddle the horse first then put the bridle on just as you are ready to ride. This way, the horse can remain tied up with a halter and lead rope while you are saddling. Halters and lead ropes are the proper equipment to tie a horse up with, not bridles.