Fitting the Bridle to Your Horse: Meredith Manor’s Tip of the Week

August 29, 2019

Welcome to Meredith Manor’s Tip of the Week.
Today’s episode: bridles and how they should fit your horse. Hi, I’m Sam, an instructor at Meredith Manor,
and today we’re going to talk about fitting the three styles of bridles that we use here.
I’m going to use my beautiful assistant Abigail in showing you, first, our regular
cavesson and flash bridle. You can tell that this is a flash bridle because not only does
it have the regular cavesson, but it has an attached flash at the bottom. Some bridles
have it sewn in, and some bridles actually have an attachment that you can take on or
off. When we put our bridles on, I always like
to start by putting the reins over their heads, especially if you’re in an open area you
want to keep some sort of security on them so when the halter comes off I still have
the reins just in case Abby feels the need to disappear. OK, so, when you’re properly fitting a flash
bridle, I like to start by putting your cavesson, or your regular noseband, on first. As you
may or may not know, the noseband, or cavesson, depending on what you like to call it, goes
underneath your cheek pieces. This cavesson happens to be a cranked noseband, it sounds
worse than it is. When fitting your cranked cavesson, you want to be sure that your cavesson
sits at least one finger width underneath of the cheek bone. Each horse has a nice,
beautiful model cheek bone that pops out under their eye, and you want to be sure that noseband
fits snuggly one finger width underneath. And when tightening or adjusting your cavesson,
one finger width underneath the jaw is enough so that it’s not too tight or too loose.
I’m a stickler for keepers, so make sure everything is in it’s keeper. Next, once you have your regular cavesson
done, you’re going to go onto your flash. Your flash goes in front of the bit, as it
helps to hold the horse’s mouth closed. Not every horse needs a flash, but here at
Meredith Manor we like to use it as far as our training purposes go. To finish up, close your throat latch. You
want to make sure you can fit four fingers underneath of their jaw into your throat latch.
For your flash, about one finger width, depending on if your horse likes to keep their mouth
open or not. And there’s your regular cavesson with a flash. Our next style of bridle will be the drop
noseband. The drop noseband is a very classic style of bridle that you don’t see very
much nowadays, but it’s still very popular in dressage. As you can see, there’s only
one noseband and it’s very low, hence the name drop noseband. The drop noseband pretty
much takes the place of your flash, so you’re going to attach it and close it in front of
or over your bit. This is another tool used to keep your horses mouth shut. A lot of Germans
like to use the drop noseband when starting young horses. The same with your flash or your cavesson,
you want to be able to comfortably fit one finger underneath. Moving on to your throat
latch, and making sure you get all of your keepers. Four fingers underneath of the cheek,
and there’s your drop noseband. If you are unsure if you even own a drop noseband,
simply take a look at it. If you have metal rings attached to the leather then you have
a drop noseband and it should be adjusted below the bit. Finally, the last style of bridle that we
use here at Meredith Manor is called the figure eight, a grackle, or a Mexican noseband. You
can search for them or buy them under any of those names. You can tell it’s a figure
eight usually because it has a nice, big, fluffy piece in the center and two rings up
high on your cavesson. When doing your top straps, or the ones that
would be underneath the cheek, you want to make sure that those pieces run parallel with
the cheekbone, your ring staying above the bottom of the cheekbone. Then adjusting your
little poof here, and then doing your lower strap just as you would your flash, and it
would go in front of your bit. You’re looking for the same amount of space
in all of your equipment, about a finger width and a finger width. Then going to your throat
latch, always going to be about a good four fingers underneath of the cheek. A common problem we see here at Meredith Manor
with the figure eights is many students don’t know that they have a figure eight and try
adjusting the eight piece lower on the nose as if it was a regular cavesson and flash
bridle. I’m Sam, this is Abby, this is your Meredith
Manor tip of the week. Happy bridling.

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