How to Bridle a Horse:
Your Step-by-Step Guide, Part One;
Getting Organized and Placing the Bit in the Mouth

Learn how to bridle a horse easily and politely by doing the following;

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First you will start by unfastening the halter from the left side. Sometimes you may leave it on under the bridle for a trail ride or something similar.

  • Slip the nose piece of the halter off and then tie the it around his neck.
  • Notice that I have the bridle and reins hooked over my left arm

  • Here you can see I am bringing my horses nose down and towards me and I have the bridle ready and in the proper position. It is facing outward so it will go on the correct way.

  • Now put the reins over his neck to keep them off the ground. Another option is to leave them draped over your arm.
  • You can see that I also have the halter rope draped over my arm. I don't keep my horse tied while saddling or bridling in case he needs to move his feet. 
  • If your horse is good about being bridled, you may not need to leave the halter on his neck, but it gives you a way to direct his movement if needed without pulling on the bridle.

  • See how the horse's head is relaxed and low? If your horse is having issues with the bridle at this point you'll need to slow down and get him relaxed using approach and retreat until he is no longer bothered and can keep his head low.

  • Now switch over from having it draped over your left arm like shown, to holding it by the crown piece (top) in your right hand.
  • If you have an english bridle, make sure the cavesson or nose band is unbuckled. This will make it much easier.

The following two steps are very important when learning how to bridle a horse.

  • Your left hand will be at the bottom to guide the bit. If it is a western bridle, you'll need to separate out the curb chain from the bit.
  • Put your left index fingers at the front of his mouth and feel for area between his top and bottom teeth. This will keep you from banging his teeth with the bit.

Your right hand should be placed at the poll and holding the tack between his ears.

  • Use your left hand to guide the bit into his mouth. You'll put your thumb in his mouth like shown where there are no teeth to ask him to open his mouth.
  • As you do this and he opens, lift up with your right hand.
  • Try and make the bit a pleasant experience.

Hint: It is important to pull up with the right hand vs. pushing the bit up with the left. This keeps things a bit taut. If you have any jointed bit and you push it in, it will just collapse inside his mouth. If it isn't jointed it will just fall out if you haven't taken the slack out of the top of the bridle.

  • At this point your bridle is half on and you've been polite by allowing him to be relaxed and gently guiding the bit into his mouth.

Now you are ready to learn the finishing steps of how to bridle a horse; Putting the crown piece over the ears, and adjusting and fastening.

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