Equestrian Blog

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Horse Bridles

A vital piece of tack to any horse rider is their bridle, it offers you greater control either from the ground or whilst riding. Traditionally, bridles are made of quality leather but there are increasingly large numbers of synthetic nylon and leather look styles on the market which can be significantly cheaper and arguably are easier to maintain. It is always worth bearing in mind when purchasing a new bridle that synthetic tack has a much higher breaking point than leather. Once you have decided on your budget and material for your bridle it is worth considering the shape and type of head your horse has. A chunky, cob type horse tends to have a large, broad head which is best suited to a bridle with wide straps and noseband. Similarly a fine arab or show horse's head will be complimented by a more delicate bridle with thinner, more detailed leather.

Most horses will need nothing more complicated than a simple snaffle bridle with a cavesson noseband. This bridle whether leather or synthetic provides control of a well schooled horse without any complicated noseband variations. Some riders feel they need a little more control and choose a flash bridle, it is worth remembering that a flash should only ever be used when it is needed to prevent a horse opening his mouth and thus evading the contact with the bit. If your horse doesn't open its mouth when riding, remove the flash strap from your bridle. You should never use a piece of tack just because it happens to be part of your bridle or because you think it makes your horse look nicer.


33129-01-req-essential-double-bridle1 Some riders who are at a higher level in their training or competing in showing classes will wish to ride in a weymouth or double bridle. This bridle differs from a snaffle bridle because it has an extra strap called a sliphead, this allows for two bits and reins to be attached to the bridle at the same time. This type of bridle is for experienced riders only and will require some practice in perfecting the use of two sets of reins independently. Again, you may wish to consider the type of horse you will be using the bridle on before purchasing, elegant heads will be suited to finer bridles and cob type horse will be set off by a more chunky bridle. It is possible to convert a snaffle bridle to a double by buying a converter set, consisting of a sliphead and extra set of reins, this allows you to then attach the second bit to your normal bridle.
It is always essential to pay close attention to the condition of your tack as worn stitching, or rusty buckles can cause an accident if they break whilst riding. Leather tack needs to be regularly cleaned and oiled to keep it supple, synthetic nylon tack should be routinely washed to prevent deterioration of the material. There are a wide range of products available to care for your tack, from quick, convenient wipes which are great for day to day cleaning, through to saddle soaps and tack conditioners for a more thorough clean. Specialist synthetic tack cleaners are also available designed specifically for leather look tack.

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