Bridles: how to choose and fit them correctly

Download our helpful guide to find out how to make sure your horse’s bridle fits.

Download our helpful guide to find out how to make sure your horse’s bridle fits.

Did you know that the design and fit of a bridle almost certainly affects how comfortable a horse is and how well they perform?

This is because the bridle can put excessive pressure on various parts of the head when the horse is standing still, moving, or swallowing. In addition, important structures in the head are connected to the breastbone (sternum) and the forelimbs. So, if we pay attention to how bridles are designed and fitted, this is likely to make horses more comfortable – and help them to move better. 

To help you achieve a better-fitting bridle, we have put together a guide on what to look for when choosing and fitting a bridle. Developed with the help of Dr Rachel Murray, formerly of the Animal Health Trust, these evidence-based guidelines cover every part of the bridle, going into detail on issues that you may not have considered before.

Bridle fit guidelines

The guidelines emphasise the two main aims of good bridle design and fit: 

  • Minimising pressure 
  • Maximising stability. 

So we want the bridle to stay as still as possible, whilst putting the minimum amount of pressure on key structures and nerves on the head.

To achieve this, we need to consider the general shape and function of horses’ heads. For example, where are the bony protrusions? Which parts of the head move when the horse swallows? We also need to think about each horse’s individual head shape – horses’ heads differ in size and relative proportion. This means that no one style or make of bridle will fit every horse. 

Become a member and get insured

World Horse Welfare membership with insurance gives you peace of mind for the horses you love while helping the world’s most vulnerable horses.

Join Today

Download our bridle fit guides

The guidelines cover all of the main factors that we should consider in every horse when choosing and fitting a bridle. They have also been condensed into three one-page documents that cover the essential information on: 

Download our guide about features of a well designed and fitted bridle.

Download our guide to common signs of problems with your horse’s bridle or bit.

Download our guide on taking care of your bridle properly.

Webinar: Bridle fit – why getting it right is so important

Catch up with our Welfare Wednesdays webinar on bridle fit, with Dr Rachel Murray and Di Fisher, Society of Master Saddlers Master Saddle Fitter and Bridle Fitter.

View all Health advice

Welfare Wednesday Webinars

Webinars to return

in Autumn 2024

Horse stood in field of yellow flowers

Call our Advice Line

+44 (0)1953 497 238

Not found the advice or answer you were looking for here? Then our Advice Line is available during office hours.

Sign up for our email newsletter
Sign up now Join over 55,000 other horse lovers
Follow our story on social networks