Sizing a Bitless Bridle
There are 4 main measurements to take then sizing a bridle with HHS. Below there are 5 different measurements – bridles with either feature a jowl strap OR a throatlatch, so you can select which is the appropriate easement for the bridle design you have chosen.
A – Noseband
B – Cheek & Crown
C – Browband
D – Jowl Strap
E – Throat Latch
Bridle Sizing Tips
Meeting in the Middle
When selecting a size, it’s best to aim for the middle sizing where possible so you have the most to work with when fitting.
For example, if your horse’s noseband measures 25″ and the bridle sizes are 22″-25″ and 24″-27″ you would be best to select the second size as the bridle could fit smaller or bigger.
Measure 2 fingers below the cheekbone to get a correct measurement. The green area represents the 2 finger width. Small ponies 1 finger width and large draft sizes may require 3 finger width.
Bridle Fitting Tips
When fitting the noseband of the bitless bridle, you will want to avoid the unsupported nasal peak – you can easily feel this (we call it palpating) when sliding your hand down the bridge of the nose. Where you feel the gap this is the start of the nasal peak.
The small red area above the cheekbones represents the 2 finger rule under the cheekbone. This is to avoid the nerves and facial vein/artery.
Getting the correct placement is important for the horse’s comfort, safety and effective comfortable communication.
Make sure the noseband is not too tight by allowing a minimum of 2 fingers under the noseband. This is to allow the horse to lick, chew and swallow.
When in doubt look up the ISES taper gauge.
Check that the cheekpieces are not sitting on or in front of the cheekbone. This is an indication that the browband or noseband is too small or the design does not suit the horse’s anatomy.
The buckles on the cheekpieces should not reach up as high as the TMJ, instead, aim that they are level with the corner of the eye.
The browband should not be too tight or pulling the sidepieces close to the cheek pieces or TMJ (temporomandibular joint)
Some horses may require a thinner or curved browband.
The browband’s job is to stop the bridle falling back, however not all bridles may require a browband – such as a crossunder.
Most of the bridles stocked are anatomically shaped, however not horse’s will be the same so we recommend checking that the crownpiece isn’t pushing in behind the ears.
The jowl strap is useful to keep the cheekpieces in place. It should not sit too low (e.g. that 2 finger rule again!) or it interferes with the facial vein/artery.
Looking to Trial a Bridle?
If you need more than just a size check and you’re looking for extra help selecting the style, fit and function then check out our partners the Bitless Boutique who provide all our sizing and bitless bridle fitting support. They offer consultations and bitless bridle trials.