THE NORTHERN BITTING COMPANY
Some Things To Look For In Your Bridle Fit
Starting at the top, can you feel even pressure under the headpiece – do your fingers slide easily under the headpiece or can you feel changes of pressure? For example, as it passes over the poll?
Can you feel pressure behind the ears from the headpiece? This isn’t good. The right length browband can go a long way to helping – the right length – not too big either, we don’t want it flapping up and down on the horses face either, or letting the head piece slip back and pressing against the vertebral process – it’s the bony part of the neck you can feel about two fingers width behind the ear and approximately half way down the width of the neck.
Does the browband and the cheekpieces (including the buckles) stay clear of the TMJ (temporomandibular joint or nobbly bit between the eye and the ear), it’s the bony bit on the side of the head. We want to stay clear of this sensitive area. There’s lots of nerve endings, not to mention that it’s involved in the movement of the jaw and a whole host of other things. Just make sure nothing presses on it or crowds that area, period.
Do the cheek pieces and nose band, where they run down the face stay away from the edges of the cheek bones? Beautifully sharp and delicate, we really don’t want to put any pressure on these – if you have chance look at them on a skull of a horse, you could cut your fingers on them.
Nosebands need to be a finger below here to prevent any pressure on the end of the cheekbone. Nosebands, cavessons need two fingers under them at the nasal bone (front of the horse’s face). Two fingers at the bony points other nosebands may cross over, so for instance, a drop noseband, you’d want to be able to put two fingers under the lower jaw and the noseband or the nasal bone. They shouldn’t be to shut the mouth, but to enable clearer communication between you and your horse and to prevent the horse from opening his mouth so much that control is lost. Obviously, if we are making the decision to try a different noseband, the horse’s teeth, back, saddle etc have all been checked to make sure there is no pain related issue that may cause the horse discomfort beforehand.
Can you slide your index finger in between the corner your horse’s lip and the bit? Is it comfortable for you? Good. Is it a bit tight? You know what to do – lower it a little. The 'couple of wrinkles' at the corner of the mouth doesn't allow for horses with tighter flesh here or if the premolars are close to the corner of the mouth.