Home >

What is a bridle? PLUS 7 ultimate bridle types

Leather Halter Bridle Combo

What is a bridle? An insider’s guide to a horse bridle

(PLUS Bonus Content: 7 types of bridles)


The bridle is an essential piece of tack for horse riding and handling. It plays a crucial role in guiding, controlling, and communicating with your horse. In this comprehensive blog, we’ll delve into the world of bridles, exploring what they are, their various types, and how they are used. We’ll also refer to some valuable resources from Jeffers, a trusted name in equestrian equipment, to provide additional insights into horse-related topics.

What is a bridle?

A bridle is a piece of horse tack (for more on What is horse tack? check out our guide here) designed to provide the rider with control and communication over the horse’s head and mouth. It consists of various components that work together to ensure the rider can guide the horse effectively. A typical bridle comprises the following parts:

  1. Headstall: This is the part that goes over the horse’s head, behind the ears. It provides stability for the bridle and helps keep it in place.
  2. Bit: The bit is a metal mouthpiece that rests in the horse’s mouth. It allows the rider to apply pressure and give signals to the horse. The type of bit used can vary depending on the riding discipline and the horse’s training.
  3. Reins: Reins are attached to the bit and are held by the rider. They are used to control the horse’s direction and speed.
  4. Browband: The browband runs across the horse’s forehead, helping to keep the headstall in the correct position.
  5. Noseband: The noseband encircles the horse’s nose and mouth area. It serves to keep the horse’s mouth closed and provide additional control.
  6. Throatlatch: The throatlatch secures the bridle around the horse’s throat, preventing it from slipping off.

Now that we understand the basic components of a bridle, let’s explore some of the different types of bridles and their applications.

Types of Bridles

  1. Snaffle Bridle: The snaffle bridle is one of the most common types. It features a simple bit with no leverage, making it a good choice for young or inexperienced horses. It offers direct communication and is often used in basic training and dressage. To learn more about selecting the right halter and bridle for your horse, check out Jeffers’ blog on how to find a halter that suits your horse.
  2. Double Bridle: This bridle features two bits – a snaffle and a curb bit. It is often used in advanced dressage to provide refined control and communication. The snaffle bit works as the primary rein, while the curb bit offers additional cues for the horse.
  3. Western Bridle: Western riding typically uses a single-reined bridle with a curb bit. Western bridles are designed for the slower, more relaxed style of Western riding. To learn how to tack up a horse Western-style, Jeffers offers a helpful guide on how to tack up a horse Western edition.
  4. English Bridle: English riding often employs a snaffle bridle. An English bridle is designed for a close contact style of riding and provides subtler cues to the horse. If you’re interested in English riding and want to learn how to tack up your horse, Jeffers’ blog on how to tack up a horse English-style can be a valuable resource.
  5. Hackamore Bridle: The hackamore bridle is bitless and relies on pressure applied to the horse’s nose and chin. It’s a gentler option and can be suitable for horses with bit-related issues.
  6. Polo Bridle: Polo bridles are designed for the fast-paced sport of polo. They usually have a noseband and a thicker bit to provide better control during the game.
  7. Bitless Bridle: As the name suggests, a bitless bridle does not use a bit. Instead, it relies on pressure points on the horse’s head and nose. Bitless bridles are often chosen for horses with mouth issues or for riders who prefer a more natural approach.


Bridles are an integral part of the equestrian world, offering riders the means to guide and communicate with their horses effectively. The type of bridle chosen depends on the rider’s discipline, the horse’s training, and the desired level of control. To make the right choice for your horse and riding style, it’s important to consider factors such as the bit, reins, and noseband.

Bridles can come in a wide price-range depending on your skill-level and budget.  To learn more about investing in horse tack, you can visit Jeffers’ blog on how much horse tack costs.

These resources, in combination with the information provided in this blog, will equip you with a well-rounded understanding of bridles and the broader world of horse riding. Remember, the key to successful riding lies in the careful selection and use of the right equipment, and the bridle is an essential tool in achieving that harmony between rider and horse.