Best Horse Bridles (A Buyer's Guide)

best horse bridle

A horse bridle holds the bit in your horse’s mouth and communicates your signals from your hands to your horse. It is essential that you get the best horse bridle for your needs.

We reviewed a selection of the best English and Western bridles in various categories, to make selecting a new bridle easy. We also included a guide of important considerations to make when buying a new bridle.

Are you a new horse owner? Perhaps you just want to check that you’ve got the best bridle for your particular riding discipline. 

Our best horse bridle guide will equip you with all the facts you need about this essential item of riding tack. 

Top 6 Horse Bridles (Detailed Reviews)

Gatsby Leather Company Plain Snaffle Bridle (Best Buy Snaffle Bridle)

Snaffle bridles are the most commonly used, and this product is a good example of a basic all-purpose snaffle bridle. 

This top-quality horse bridle from the Gatsby leather Company is crafted from soft, pre-conditioned leather, and features contrasting white stitching. It includes plain laced reins equipped with hook studs for attachment of the bit. The bit, however, is not included. 

This is a very basic bridle, and would not be suitable for horse shows and events. A better snaffle bridle for shows would be the Huntley Equestrian Fancy Stitched Sedgwick Leather English Bridle, although it is a premium product with a premium price tag.

While the Gatsby bridle has none of the bells and whistles of more high-end bridles, we think that this traditional style Snaffle Bridle is a good quality product at a good price. A good choice for a first bridle purchase, especially if you are working to a budget.

Pros 

  • Genuine leather
  • Affordable
  • Includes reins

Cons

  • Bit not included
  • The leather has a bit of an odd smell

Tough 1 Western Leather Browband Draft Bridle (Best Draft Horse Bridle)

This affordable bridle manufactured by Tough 1, is one of the best value-for-money bridles we looked at when reviewing Western bridles. It is made of doubled and stitched 1” wide stained-edge leather in a dark oil finish. 

The “Tough 1” Western leather Draft Bridle includes a snaffle bit and split reins. Suitable for draft horses, this product is budget-friendly and has a simple, streamlined design. A high-quality product at a low price.

Pros

  • Includes a snaffle bit and split reins
  • Budget-friendly
  • Leather with an attractive dark-oil finish
  • 3 options available

Cons

  • Not as fancy as some other Western bridles on the market

Huntley Equestrian Fancy Stitched Sedgwick Leather English Bridle (Best All-Round English Bridle)

Huntley Equestrian Fancy Stitched Sedgwick Leather English Bridle and Reins, Conker, Small
  • Sedgwick leather construction
  • Decorative stitching on nose band, brow band and head pieces
  • Braided leather reins included
  • Stainless steel hardware
  • Beautiful dust bag included

This beautiful Sedgwick Leather bridle is the best of the English bridles we looked at. Crafted from the finest quality English leather by J.E. Sedgwick & Co. Ltd. in England, this English bridle is elegant enough for competitive events but also durable enough for all-purpose everyday use.

This beautifully crafted leather English bridle includes braided leather reins and stainless steel hardware and features decorative stitching on the noseband, browband, and crown piece. The Huntley Equestrian English bridle comes in an attractive dust bag. 

Not for those on a tight budget, but this excellent product is well worth the investment.  Available in your choice of Conker and Australian Nut Sedgwick Leather, and a variety of sizes. Price is subject to size.

Pros 

  • Attractive design
  • Genuine leather
  • Includes braided leather reins
  • Stainless steel hardware
  • Dust Bag

Cons

  • Definitely not for people on a tight budget

Stübben Freedom Magic Tack Bridle with RFS (Best Anatomical Bridle)

Stübben Snaffle Bridle 2510 Freedom Magic tack, ebony/ebony, Warmblut (WB) - kombiniertes Reithalfter
  • Complete freedom, visual
  • Complete freedom of movement of the ears
  • Pressure relief of the Neuralgischschen points (main face nervous, ears, field of view, ears, neck and muscles of the neck &)
  • Supports the movement and ready for use your horse
  • To choose between our reins with you allows), you are not in included bridle price and can be ordered separately.

The best anatomical bridles are designed to avoid certain facial nerves, relieve pressure points, and increase the freedom of the facial muscles. If your horse is very sensitive, this may be a more comfortable bridle for it to wear.

This anatomical bridle is aptly called “Freedom” because it provides more freedom around a horse’s head than most other bridles on the market. The headpiece and browband do not put pressure on any of the 16 ear muscles and surrounding nerves. 

Stübben is a German horse tack brand known for durable, high-quality products. The Freedom Bridle features an elegant diamante browband and is available in your choice of brown or black.

Pros

  • The horse enjoys a full field of sight
  • Horse’s ears are not restricted
  • Minimal pressure on the facial nerves, throat, and neck
  • Wide padding under cavesson strap

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Does not include reins

M Toulouse Rhythmical Weymouth Dressage Bridle (Best Dressage Bridle)

M Toulouse Rhythmical Weymouth Dressage Bridle

A Weymouth bridle, sometimes also called a full or double bridle, is commonly used for advanced dressage horses. Double bridles have 2 bits, a bradoon and a curb bit, and are used with 2 reins, one for each bit.

This M Toulouse Rythmical Weymouth Dressage double bridle features a relaxed fit browband and extra padding under the crown piece. The 2” crank cavesson minimizes interference with the bit as it is cut up away from the bit at the cheek strap where it tapers to 1”.

It is crafted from the finest Italian leather and includes 5/8″ rubber-lined snaffle reins and 1/2″ curb reins with½ inch buckled-ends. The cheek width is 5/8″. It is designed for use in dressage.

Pros 

  • Attractive design, suitable for dressage
  • Supple leather
  • Padded crown piece and comfortable browband
  • Tapered cavesson

Cons

  • This is not an all-purpose bridle, suitable for dressage only

Wonder Care Genuine Leather Crossover/Crossunder English Bitless Bridle (Best Bitless Bridle)

Wonder Care Genuine English Leather Crossover |Crossunder Bitless Bridle Headstall with Reins - Black-L
  • International products have separate terms, are sold from abroad and may differ from local products, including fit, age ratings, and language of product, labeling or instructions.
  • Best Quality Leather Bitless Bridle with Leather Reins
  • Softy Leather padded nose & brow band for maximum comfort
  • Made of high-quality Leather and Stainless Steel hardware
  • Top-quality workmanship and beautifully executed.

This bridle does not come cheap, but it is a high-quality product crafted from 100% vegetable-tanned (chrome-free) soft genuine leather, with stainless steel hardware, and includes ¾” wide full-leather reins.

Thanks to the Wonder Care two-loop system, this bridle embraces the whole head safely and securely, without causing any discomfort. From a horse comfort perspective, it is in the same category as the Stübben Freedom bridle, although this product is used without a bit.

The bitless design will not interfere with your horse’s breathing, and padding across the nose, chin, brow & poll ensures that your horse will be comfortable at all times.

Sewn using imported machines, then finished and polished to perfection by hand, it will provide your horse with the utmost comfort, and is available in different sizes to suit your horse’s measurements.

Bitless bridles like the Wonder Care English Bitless Bridle, are suitable when training a horse to wear a saddle and bridle, and are also considered by many riders to be more humane than riding with a bit.

Pros 

  • Soft genuine leather
  • Includes reins
  • Vegetable-tanned, chrome-free
  • Hand polished

Cons

  • Expensive

Horse Bridle Buyer’s Guide 

horse bit guide

Measurements

As with all items of horse gear, measurements should be taken to ensure that the bridle fits your horse correctly. An ill-fitting bridle will cause discomfort, and possibly even injury, to your horse.

Crownpiece

Holds the other parts of the bridle in place. It must not fit too tightly nor press against the cartilage of the ears or the neck. 

Browband

Covers the forehead and is attached below the ears, preventing the bridle from sliding back towards your horse’s neck. It should not be too short, nor too tight against the forehead.

Throat latch

Attached under the ears and fastened under your horse’s throat. It is vital that it is not fastened too tightly, or your horse’s breathing will be restricted. You should be able to fit the width of your hand between the throat latch and the horse’s jaw. 

Cheek Pieces

The straps can be lengthened or shortened, thereby adjusting the bit’s height in the mouth. Your horse should be able to freely move his ears, and the cheekpieces should not press against the cartilage of the ear or the lower jaw area.

At the correct bit height, there should be two small wrinkles above your horse’s mouth. In the case of a snaffle bit, there should be one wrinkle. 

Noseband

Keep the other bridle parts in position while keeping your horse’s mouth closed. There are 2 types: A cavesson and a Hanoverian (“drop”) noseband.

A cavesson noseband fits on the back of the nose and slightly below the cheekbone. Check that it doesn’t lie on top of the cheekbones. You should be able to fit a finger or 2 between the cheekbone and noseband. 

A Hanoverian noseband fits under the bit and into the horse’s chin groove but rests on the nasal bone. Ensure that it is not too tight, and not resting on the cartilage, but rather the bottom part of the bone. 

Also, check that there is enough space between the bit rings and noseband rings.

Function

horse bit and bridle

Consider the horse riding discipline that you engage in when deciding which style of horse bridle to purchase. This decision will also be influenced by the materials the bridle is constructed from, as well as the style and the weight of the bridle.

Materials

The materials that a bridle is made of will affect the weight of the bridle, and can therefore have an effect on your horse’s performance. While most traditional bridles are made of leather, there are several bridles available that are made of alternative materials.

BETA is an example of a synthetic material used for bridles. This product consists of a thick PVC coating on polyester webbing. The coating has a classic leather-grain pattern embossed on the surface and is washable and durable.

However, nothing beats genuine leather for durability and comfort, and a leather bridle is easy to care for. Regular maintenance of your leather horse tack is vital to the endurance and performance of these items. 

Style

Western bridles, English bridles, Double bridles, there are so many styles of the horse bridle that it can be a bit overwhelming to a novice. The style will be especially relevant if you take part in horse shows, dressage, or jumping events. 

Dressage bridles such as the mentioned above, are more complex. An anatomic bridle, such as the Stübben Freedom Magic Tack bridle is the best option for a sensitive horse’s head.

Weight

The weight of horse tack, including the bridle, can influence your horse’s performance as well. Stainless steel hardware, brass buckles, etc all add to this weight. The weight a horse is carrying is especially relevant in horse shows and events, and particularly horse racing.

Bit Or No Bit?

horse bits

Bit

The bridle you choose must accommodate the type of bit you’re using. The use of a snaffle bit or curb bit will determine whether you need a snaffle bridle or a double bridle.

A snaffle bit is the most commonly used, across most riding disciplines. A snaffle bit and bridle are more suitable for riders and horses with less experience.

Because a curb bit offers more control over a horse, it should only be used by an experienced rider and an experienced horse. Curb bits are required for dressage events from class C.

No Bit

If your horse has a very sensitive mouth, or if you are not keen on using a bit for ethical reasons, there are several bitless bridles available on the market. This may be a better option when training a horse for riding.

Conclusion

We are certain that you will have found the right bridle for your needs in our selection of top-quality horse bridles. As with all horse tack, do not compromise on quality. Buy the very best that your budget allows. This will ensure that your horse is happy, comfortable, and responsive.

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