How to Fit A Double Bridle Properly

The Double bridle - The right aid in the correct hands

In both dressage and showing it’s essential you know how to fit a double bridle properly

Some riders and grooms find fitting a double bridle a daunting prospect and the following is a basic step by step guide on How to fit a double bridle.

How to Fit a Double Bridle …

Fit the bridle in the same way as a snaffle bridle would be fitted, ensuring that the bridoon is lying over the curb.

Leave the straps of the cheekpieces out of the buckles, to make adjusting the height of the bit easier to do quickly.

Make sure the browband is not so tight that it pulls the bridle onto the bulbs of the horses ears.

Both double bridle bits should fit easily in the mouth with a finger’s width clearance on either side.

The bridoon should be ¼ inch wider than normal to allow room at the corners of the mouth for the curb.

The horse’s lips and cheeks will be pinched and the lower jaw will be unable to relax during work if the bits are too tight.

Just as important; if the bits are too wide they will pull through the mouth and most of the relevant action will be lost.

Make sure the bits you choose are not too thick in the mouthpiece for the size of the horse’s mouth or the size of the tongue.

The horse will hold its mouth open and show signs of discomfort if the bits are too thick.

The bridoon bit, on its separate headpiece, should fit just like an ordinary snaffle, slightly wrinkling the corners of the horse’s lips.

The sliphead should buckle on the offside.

Once in the horse’s mouth, the curb should lie slightly below the bridoon when viewed from the side.

The curb mouthpiece is then effective on the bars and tongue and avoids the lips. Make sure it is not sitting so low that it touches the tushes (in male horses).

How to Fit A Double Bridle

Buckle the throat lash and noseband as on an ordinary snaffle, ensuring the noseband is not too low, as this can interfere with the bridoon.

The curb chain should already be fastened onto the offside hook: twist it clockwise until it lies flat, and fit it into the groove above the fleshy part of the horse’s chin.

Hook the appropriate link onto the nearside hook so that the hook maintains the pressure of the clockwise turning motion, and if there are more than two links left over hook the last loose one over the top.

To check the curb: take up the curb rein and move the bit to about 45°. The curb chain should sit neatly in the chin groove. Too loose and it will encourage the horse to open its mouth and resist, if too tight it will act like a vice and the horse will be very uncomfortable.

Put the lip strap through the fly link and buckle on the nearside.

Always consider all your horse bit and bridle options; and make sure you choose the correct type, size and combination for the sort of work you want your horse to do.