If you’ve never either ridden horses or done much research on riding gear, choosing a bridle might seem like a simple task, but in reality the variety of bridles available makes it important to know exactly what to get (and what not to get) for your horse. Some bridles will be uncomfortable and even harmful for your horse, so you don’t want to buy just any one. When you’re shopping for a new bridle, consider these guidelines for picking the right one.
Whether you’re visiting a premiere local saddlery in person or shopping for discount horse riding gear online, to narrow down your choices you’ll need to start with considering what style of riding you’re doing, as different bridles are made for different styles. For example, if you’re riding dressage, a snaffle bridle might be the right choice for you. If you’re riding dressage at a higher level, a full (or double) bridle would be even better. For cross country riding, you might look into getting a snaffle bridle with a figure-eight noseband. Western riding in general would call for either a split-ear bridle or a hackamore bridle.
Once you know the type of bridle you need, think about your budget. Typically you get what you pay for, but you don’t have to break the bank, especially if you’re just starting out. Look for discounts online or talk to a local saddlery about what your budget is to see if they can work with you on finding a good fit for a good price.
Your horse’s comfort is a very important consideration as well. You might find the right type of bridle for a great price but notice that your horse does not respond well to it. Sometimes you might not know exactly why a horse isn’t responding well to a certain bridle, but you should still take that as a cue to try another one. In other cases, there might be a specific issue your horse has that will determine whether a bridle works. A drop noseband might be better for a horse that has issues with its mouth, for example. Or if your horse has a sensitive nose, it’ll be especially important to make sure there is enough padding on the bridle.
Choosing the right bridle is important and shouldn’t be taken lightly, but the process can still be both fun and efficient. Simply keeping your style of riding, your budget and the comfort of your horse in mind will help you immensely in finding the right one.