AS horse owners, we do everything to ensure our horses have the best of everything from rugs to saddles, but with changing fashions and new innovative designs, knowing what’s best for your horse can become a minefield. Anatomical bridles are becoming more popular throughout the equestrian industry. Riders are beginning to understand the importance of correctly fitting tack to ensure the comfort of their horses and, in turn, ensuring optimal focus and a better connection.
An Anatomical or ergonomic bridle is designed to avoid the horse’s sensitive facial nerves, follow the contours of the horse’s head and distribute an even pressure. Quite often, these bridles have a singular, broad padded headpiece, a curved browband and extra padding on the cheek pieces. These bridles have been created with the horses anatomy in mind, with the idea being that if the horse is comfortable in what it’s ridden in, its performance when ridden will naturally improve.
Common Design Features
The Poll: This is the area that is directly behind the horses ears, and is an area which is sensitive. More traditional bridles tend to have two leather straps, which run across the headpiece which connects the cheekpieces and nose band. However, anatomical bridle headpieces only consist of one, broad, padded strap, which is ergonomically designed to relieve discomfort in the poll.
Ears: One of the most important parts of a horses head – the ears obviously help horses hear what’s going on around them, but they are also key to their body language with other horses and humans. We always know if a horse is ‘narked off’ from where their ears sit!
Having a bridle that is straighter cut around the ear muscles can interfere with the ears doing their job, and therefore could result in the horse displaying unnatural behaviours. That’s why anatomical bridles are shaped around the ears to make it more comfortable for the horse.
Nose: We all know that horses can’t breathe through their mouths and instead breathe only through their nostrils, which is why it’s so important that the noseband of a bridle doesn’t interfere with this area. Anatomical bridles may address this by having a curved or shaped noseband to completely avoid the nostrils to allow for optimum breathing.
The eyes: Did you know that horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal!? With them being positioned at the side of their head they also have a range of vision of about 350 degrees – giving them a greater likelihood of spotting predators in the wild. Some bridles cheekpieces have been known to actually interfere with this vision, and we all want our horses to be able to see properly, especially when going round a course of jumps! Anatomical bridles often have shaped cheekpieces which don’t interfere with your horses’ vision so they can focus on the job at hand.
With a large selection companies now stocking anatomical bridles, it is easier to have a bespoke bridle fitted to your own horses contours and facial features.