When your horse leads, turns, stands tied and backs on command with a halter, it is time to introduce the bridle and bit. As with any new task, putting a bridle on your horse for the first time takes patience. Rushing this aspect of training may cause your horse pain, which in turn makes him fear the bridle. Going slow and properly bridling your horse helps build trust.
Place your first finger behind your horse’s back teeth. Rub his gums on the top and bottom. This helps him accept a foreign object in his mouth.
Fit the bridle with a smooth snaffle bit. This is a mild bit that helps ease your horse into accepting the bit and bridle. If your bridle has a nose band, make sure it is lose or unlatched.
Stand on your horse’s left side with your right shoulder next to his jaw. Hold the top of the bridle with your right hand at the top of your horse’s forehead close to his ears.
Slide the bit between your horse’s lips with your left hand. Carefully ask him to open his mouth while being cautious not to bump his teeth. If he doesn’t open his mouth and accept the bit, rest the bit on his lips and place your fingers behind his back teeth and rub his gums. This should make him open his mouth.
Slip the bridle over your horse’s ears while sliding the bit in his mouth. Make sure it is over his tongue, resting behind his back teeth.
Items you will need
- Snaffle bit
- 💡 Make sure the bit is fitted properly. There should be at least one small wrinkle on each side of your horse’s mouth making him “smile.”
- ⚠ Be careful when placing your fingers in his mouth. There is ample space behind his teeth, so don’t move your fingers forward into his bite area.
- Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images