Do you prefer adjusting your bridle to get 1, 2 or more wrinkles at the corners of your horse’s mouth (B or C) or do you prefer no wrinkles (A) from the bit?
According to world renowned horseman Jack Brainard in his book If I Were To Train A Horse, “Nearly all horsemen, almost through generations of their ancestry, will tell you that you need a little wrinkle on the corners of the horse’s mouth. Some even tell you the horse should smile a little. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A wrinkle in the corner of the horse’s mouth feels no better to him than it would to his rider. Make sure when you adjust your bit, especially the snaffle, there is no wrinkle.”
As Jack Brainard says, you should become adept at bridling your horse and getting proper bit adjustment; “nothing is more important to the horse than this. … you will experiment and constantly adjust watching your horse’s reaction to each new change you make in the length of the bridle cheeks. He will soon tell you where it’s most comfortable. Most often, properly adjusted bridles will solve lots of bit problems.”
On the majority of horses the bridle cheeks should be adjusted so the bits mouthpiece causes no wrinkles in the corners of the mouth but is sitting at the corners without hanging below them. It will then be at the bars where there are no teeth. It’s important when you are making adjustments in your headstall to have the ability to take it up or let it out in very small increments, never more than ¾ inch at a time. The adjustment holes in Dennis Moreland Tack cheek pieces are 5/8 inch so you can get a perfect fit. The top quality leather will prevent the holes from stretching with use so the adjustment will remain where you set it.
Always remember that if your bridle is adjusted properly and the bit fits your horse properly but your horse is uncomfortable (chews the bit, opens mouth, tosses head etc.) that it’s a very good idea to have a veterinarian check him for dental issues.
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