piece of equipment to direct a horse

A bridle is a piece of equipment used to direct and control a horse. The bridle is the headgear that holds a bit which goes in the mouth of a horse, and also the reins that are joined to the bit.

A hunt seat style English bridle

Bridles are usually made of leather. They are made of different parts which are buckled together. The headpiece, also called a crownpiece, goes behind the horse's ears. The browband is placed across the horse's forehead. The throatlach goes behind the horse's cheek. The cheekpieces extend across the horse's cheek and attach to the bit. The noseband goes across the horse's nose and under its chin. Some bridles do not have a noseband. Others have special nosebands designed to prevent the horse from opening its mouth too widely and crossing its jaw.[1] Sometimes, a strap called a martingale is attached to the noseband.[2]

A bridle without a bit uses a noseband to control a horse, and is called a hackamore, or a bitless bridle. Bitless bridles work by pressure and leverage on the horse's nose and chin groove. Bitless bridles can be useful for horses that have problems with their mouths. It is more difficult to turn a horse using a bitless bridle, and bitless bridles can provide tremendous leverage and stopping power.[3]


  1. "Become a Horse Noseband Know-It-All". Expert how-to for English Riders. Retrieved 2018-08-19.
  2. Ransford, Sandy. Horse & Pony Factfile: An Essential Guide to the World of Horses and Ponies. Kingfisher, 2006. Print.
  3. Draper, Judith. The Ultimate Encyclopedia Of Horse Breeds and Horse Care. Anness Publishing, 2004. Print.