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Is someone you know singing the praises of an anatomical bridle? Not sure what they’re all about? Here we explain the function and purpose of an anatomical bridle, and show you a few examples of our customers' favourites.
What is an Anatomical Bridle?
Anatomical Bridles are designed and cut to be a specific shape to help prevent pressure on a horse’s facial nerves. They promote the horses wellbeing and happiness, allowing them to have more comfort and natural movement in their face.
Anatomical bridles have been created specifically with the horses’ anatomy in mind. This means that Anatomical Bridles have been designed, cut and crafted to a specific shape to relieve pressure on the face and promote the horse’s wellbeing, happiness, movement, and ultimately their performance.
How does an Anatomical Bridle work?
An anatomical bridle works by taking specific points of your horse’s anatomy into consideration, and coming up with a design that works in the best way possible with this anatomy. There are several different areas on the horse’s face where anatomical bridle design differs from traditional bridle design in order to promote comfort and relieve pressure.
For example an anatomical bridle may feature a wide, padded and cut back head piece – these are specifically designed to allow your horse full range of movement and reduction of pressure around their ears. Another is lowered or contoured cheekpieces, which allow your horse their full field of vision, and also sit away from the sensitive facial nerve.
What are the benefits of an Anatomical Bridle?
Finding the best bridle for your horse and getting the correct fit can have huge benefits. An anatomical bridle can promote the horse’s wellbeing by ensuring they are free from discomfort or pain. This is turn will lead to your horse being happier when ridden, can positively affect their movement, and this will ultimately lead to your horse being able to perform at their best.
What is the best Anatomical Bridle for my horse?
As with all tack, the best anatomical bridle for your horse is the one that fits best. All horses are different, and will have different levels of sensitivity to pressure in different areas. Once you’ve found a bridle you like, the best thing to do is try it out and see how your horse reacts when ridden – is there a noticeable relaxation, do they rub their face less, have you noticed an improvement in their range of movement?
There are also other considerations to make when purchasing and anatomical bridle, such as whether you need brown or black to match your tack, whether you’ve got a large budget or a looking for something more affordable, and whether your bridle is legal for dressage, showjumping or eventing competitions.
Do I need to change to an anatomical bridle? My horse seems happy…
Okay so an anatomical bridle makes a horse more comfortable, but my horse is fine with their bridle, should I change it?
As horse owners we all want to do what’s best for our horse, and we can do that by making them as comfortable as possible. If your horse is happy in their bridle, then there’s no need for you to rush out and invest in an anatomical bridle! However lots of riders report a noticeable improvement in their horse’s comfort , flexibility and behaviour, so if you have a bridle change in mind, why not try out an Anatomical Bridle to see how your horse goes? If you’re having problems with your horse’s bridle fit, then an anatomical bridle may be the solution you need.
Here are some subtle signs of discomfort to look out for:
- Does your horse head shake, or rub their head at the end of a ride? This can be a symptom of pressure on their facial nerves has made their face go numb, so they rub to get the feeling back.
- Does your horse fight the contact, get their tongue over the bit or show resistance to the bit – these issues can also improve with the use of an anatomical bridle.
- Does your horse react negatively to poll pressure? If you think this may be down to sensitivity around the ears, then an anatomical bridle could help.
Now let’s take a closer look at our best-selling anatomical bridles from some of your favourite equestrian brands.
The Horseware Rambo Micklem Competition Bridle
Produced by Horseware, the Rambo Micklem was one of the first anatomical bridles to come into the limelight. Winner of the Innovation Awards at BETA in 2008, the Micklem range are still one of our most popular anatomical bridles to date, with many riders reporting fantastic positive changes since using them.
Designed from the inside out, it is shaped to fit the horse’s skull, avoiding pressure on the main facial nerves whilst protecting the cheek bone and molar teeth of the upper jaw. The noseband also sits higher to avoid pressure on the fragile nose bones. The Horseware Rambo Micklem Competition Bridle is a show quality bridle made from hand finished leather with soft padding on the headpiece, browband, noseband and cheekpieces. The bridle is FEI approved and suitable for all disciplines, an ideal choice for an affordable anatomical bridle.
The PS of Sweden High Jump Bridle
As a UK stockist of the PS or Sweden leatherwork collection, we have receive loads of fantastic feedback about the improvements these bridles have made to your horse’s performance.
The High Jump bridle by PS of Sweden is one of the most anatomical bridles on the market, so bear with us, there’s a lot to explain! Each component of the bridle has been designed to improve the horses comfort and therefore create a better feel when riding. A great choice for a sensitive horse, the key element of this bridle is the shaped noseband. Designed to avoid all sensitive blood veins, nerves and pressure points, it does not put any pressure on the teeth, reducing the possibility of bit issues. The bows that lie over the bridge of the nose are flexible, offering a more custom fit, as no two horses are the same. The fan shaped headpiece disperses poll pressure, with ear cut outs to allow the horse to move their ears naturally. The cheek pieces are flat with elastic cradles for the bit, suspending it in the horse’s mouth and helping to further relieve poll pressure. Finally the browband is slightly curved as to not press on the side of the horse’s head, preventing a headache like feeling. Now that’s a lot to take in for one bridle, but if your horse is sensitive in their head, or just a bit unsettled this ergonomic bridle is well worth a try!
The Schockemohle Equitus Beta Bridle
The Schockehmohle Equitus range is made up of a gorgeous selection of anatomical bridles that really focus on the most up to date research into horse comfort.
The Schockemohle Equitus Beta Bridle features a wider noseband and a richly set crystal browband to provide a classic and more elegant look, than the plain Equitus Alpha. This bridle's concept focuses on the sensitive head of the horse. Due to the innovative alignment, Equitus Beta provides the horse with ultimate wearing comfort. The new alignment avoids for instance the main facial nerve; it spares important blood vessels and arteries and reduces the pressure on the horse’s neck. The innovative check pieces can be attached directly to the noseband and thus provide the rider with an uncomplicated adjustment possibility.
The Shires Velociti Dressage Bridle
New to the market this year, the Shires Velociti range of bridles offers affordable choice of anatomical bridles.
The Shires Velociti Dressage Bridle with Flash benefits from luxurious padding on the crank noseband to distribute pressure. Flattering to the face, is has a wide raised noseband with a flash. Designed to relieve pressure the Velociti features a wide, cushioned crown with poll gap and cutaway ear profile. It's soft leather combined with generous, anti-shock padding on the headpiece offer further comfort. The browband and noseband have an elegant profile due to their sleek, and the angled throatlash and signature Velociti reins for flexible, assured grip finish off this ergonomic dressage bridle.
Stubben Freedom Bridle – Combined Noseband
Stubben are well known in the equestrian world for their exceptionally high quality leatherwork, and their anatomical bridles combine everything you love about this traditional brand with modern design.
The striking design of the Stubben Freedom Bridle will catch your eye at competition and make you intrigued to find out what it does. The bridle has been designed to grant your horse full sight due to the cut back cheek pieces, which rotate on a hinge to suit the horse’s individual shape. The head piece offers the horse full rotation of the ears, as well as avoiding the 16 ear muscles and therefore avoiding pressure on the nerves and veins. Poll pressure is also dispersed due to padding on the headpiece. Made from the finest quality leather, this unique Stubben Freedom Bridle respects your horse’s anatomy and biomechanics.
Still not sure? Why not give one a try?
Here at Eland Lodge we understand how frustrating and costly it can be trying new equipment on your horse, especially when it doesn’t make a difference. Well we can help there too! All the bridles we have features can be hired from us, so you can try it out for yourself !
How it works
You pay for the bridle in full (20% of this is a hire fee), take it home and try it out on your horse. If it suits your horse and yourself you keep it, simple! However is if doesn’t suit your horse then return the bridle and you’ll receive a refund minus 20% (the hire fee). What to know more? Contact us!