The first thing you need to consider when choosing a bit and bridle for your horse is his individual head and mouth anatomy. Every horse is an individual and no one bit or bridle will fit every horse.
By assessing your horse's unique anatomy and understanding how bits and bridles impact on a horse's biomechanics, mental health and behaviour, I can help you and your horse achieve optimal performance by ensuring your horse is not being negatively impacted by your choice of bit and bridle.
How can I help with Bridle fit?
It is vital to take into account the anatomy of a horse’s head when fitting a bridle to avoid causing any unnecessary pressure and discomfort. The main areas that a bridle impacts on are the facial bones, soft tissue, the nervous system and the circulatory system. Discomfort caused by the bridle can manifest itself as headshaking, face rubbing, spooking, becoming “Bridle Shy” or even as learned helplessness. It’s, therefore, imperative that a bridle fits correctly to preserve the horses physical and mental well-being. Excess poll pressure or pressure around the Temporomandibular Joint can also affect the horse's movement by closing the horse down from the shoulders and making hind leg engagement difficult.
The ideal is to select individual bridle pieces so that you can construct the best bridle possible for the individual horse. I carry a variety of bridle parts, including different shaped headpieces, so that I can construct the perfect bridle for your horse.
How can I help with Bit fit?
The equine mouth is very delicate and sensitive, making correct bit fitting and rein aids imperative for effective communication and the comfort and well-being of the horse. The shape of the mouthpiece must fit the anatomy of the horse’s mouth. Any excess pressure in the mouth will not only result in discomfort or pain but may also impede the horse’s ability to breathe and swallow as they open their mouth to alleviate their discomfort, leading to both physical and psychological issues. The bit should also be the correct size and sit in the preferred groove so that the bit acts on the corner of the lips. Excess tongue pressure can also affect the biomechanics of the horse, making them heavy on the forehand and less able to engage the hind legs.
Horse’s will have their own preference as well, and this should not be ignored when choosing the right bit for your horse. If you listen, the horse will tell you what he is most comfortable in. It is also worth remembering that horses can only breath through their noses and need to be able to close their mouths in order to swallow and breathe properly. Any discomfort that causes them to open their mouth to evade pain, or bits that prevent them from closing the mouth will result in compromised breathing and swallowing leading to psychological and physical problems.
I carry a range of bits with varying mouthpieces and cheeks and in different sizes. I can assess the conformation of your horse's mouth and work with you to establish which bit is most comfortable for your horses and enables you to communicate effectively with him.
The End Result.
When combined with correct training, the horse should be able to achieve optimal performance through optimal comfort. Ethical riding and freedom of movement can only be achieved with correctly fitting tack.