Friday 4th of December 2020

The importance of a well fitting bridle for the smaller head

This month we talk to the Society of Master Saddlers about the importance of a well fitting bridle for the smaller head and how a bespoke handmade bridle could be the best option to choose from.

Smaller breeds such as Mountain & Moorlands or Miniatures require a bridle that fits just as well as say the Irish Draught or Sport Horse. Bridles can either enhance the look and features of the face or make even the most attractive look out of context with the rest of the body.


Credit: Real Time Imaging

A well selected, correctly fitting bridle can enhance the best points of a pony’s head and help to disguise the less fortunate. Whether showing in hand or under saddle a bridle is one of the most important pieces of equipment that can really show off your horse.

Ponies come in many shapes and sizes and every breed has individual attributes that make it especially useful for a specific equestrian discipline, interest or showing class.

It is this very diversity which can make buying a bridle off-the-peg difficult. The bridle may be well designed, the materials used may be first class, the craftsmanship may be superb and the stitching tiny and even. The bridle could be exactly what is needed to show off the particular breed but only if it fits correctly. And, quite simply, the best bridle in the world is a useless tool if it does not fit!

Anyone showing in-hand for the first time should study the rule book very carefully because some breed societies specify the use/or forbid the use of specific bridles and halters and bits. This especially applies to classes for mixed native breeds. 

Professional show exhibitors understand the importance of presentation – and they are well aware that when only fractions of a mark separate two animals, it is attention to detail that can make all the difference. A perfectly fitting in-hand bridle that complies with all the rules relating to specific class whilst also emphasising the breed type can make all the difference. 

Made-to-measure means just that. The craft bridle-maker will take all the necessary measurements themselves.  When this is not possible due to the distances involved, the bridle-maker will provide clear and detailed instructions that enable the owner to take the necessary measurements. They will probably also suggest the owner provides one or two good quality images of the horse.  

It’s worth recognising that bespoke bridlework actually represents extremely good value and should be looked on as a worthwhile investment.  It removes guesswork and eliminates the need to ‘make do with the best of what’s available’.

Good luck with your showing and make choosing a bridle an important part of your show ring preparation.

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