A guide to hunting bridles
By Helen Cheesworth
Monday 31 October 2011
The main criteria for hunting bridles are quality, durability and the correct look.
A hunting bridle is traditionally made out of good quality English leather.
Before the days when it became commonplace to have nosebands on bridles, horses were regularly hunted with no noseband at all, as this was considered more comfortable for the horse on long days than having a tight noseband. The less leather on the face, the fewer areas there are for mud, grit and rain to cause rubbing and soreness, and the happier the horse is likely to be.
A full day out hunting still tends to be quite long, so hunting bridles have eventually evolved to have wide head pieces to reduce pressure over the sensitive poll area and improve comfort for the horse, whilst wide nosebands reduce pressure over the nose. Wide nosebands also tend to be more flattering to the traditional type of horse that is used as a hunter. Wider cheekpieces are also a common feature of hunting bridles.
Good hunting horses are renowned for their good manners, so traditional hunting bridles have flat nosebands without a flash attachment.
Modern day hunting bridles have stainless steel fittings, so those days out hunting in the wet and mud will not result in the fitting rusting eventually, which, as well as being unsightly, is dangerous for horse and rider.
Most hunting bridles also have a wide range of adjustments so they can be used on more than one horse during the season.
A good vendor will have a choice of weights and grades of leather, so the purchaser can choose what suits them best. One piece of good advice when looking to buy a hunting bridle is to go for a well known and trusted brand. It is also a good idea to go to a tack shop if possible, so you can feel the weight and quality of the leather rather than having to choose from pictures online. Better still is to find a local saddler who can make a bespoke bridle in the traditional way.
Hunting bridles are plain black, brown or tan, and it is not acceptable to have any kind of fancy or coloured browband attached.
The reins are usually sold separately from the bridle, but it is traditional and sensible to either have plaited reins or half rubber ones, so that grip is not compromised in wet weather.
|Offer your advice|