Let’s talk about bridle fitting… It’s surprising how often we come across a poor fitting bridle when really all that’s needed to fix it would be to make a few minor adjustments. A properly fitting headpiece is important not only for the comfort of your horse but also for the effectiveness of the headpiece as well as the bit (or hackamore, whatever you decide is best for your horse). For this post we are going to keep it simple by only going over the fit of a bridle with a “snaffle” or “jointed” bit.
Firstly, the crown piece sits behind the ears and runs down to your cheek pieces, which holds your bit in place. You see here the bit is higher in the horses mouth, thus creating 1-2 wrinkles on the mouth. A very common mistake with a snaffle bridle is to leave the bit hanging too low in the horses mouth. Often because we don’t want to be too “harsh”. When in reality a low sitting snaffle bit can cause more discomfort/ irritation than productivity in your ride.
In this picture we see a plain noseband with a flash attachment. As you can also see, the noseband sits about 2 inches below the cheekbone and you can fit roughly a finger between the horses face and the leather piece. The tightness of your flash is more subjective to everyones personal preference and the needs of your horse. However, having it too tight can cause discomfort and having it too loose will result in you losing the effectiveness of this type of noseband. A key point to remember is that the greater amount of tension placed on your noseband, the greater amount of pressure will be placed on the poll by the crown piece.
Then lastly, we have the throat latch. Here you can see its laying nicely on the cheek. When the throat latch is stretched out away from the cheek you should be able to fit 3-4 fingers between the the throat latch and the horses jugular.
Of course there are many different types of bridles and all have slightly varied fits but these measurements can be followed as a general rule of thumb. We hope this helps and feel free to comment any questions you may have! Happy Riding!