How to Bridle a Horse: Western

AQHA Professional Horseman Brent Tincher explains how to get your horse to accept the western bridle and how to adjust it afterward.

A correctly fitted western bridle will allow your horse to perform to the best of his ability. Journal photo.

For AQHA Professional Horseman Brent Tincher, the first and most important step in bridling your horse is getting your horse comfortable with being touched around the face and ears, so that when you go to put the bridle on, it’s no big deal to him.

After your horse is calm and relaxed, you can hold the bridle up to his head. Brent recommends leaving your bridle a little larger than normal when bridling for the first few times, so that it doesn’t tug on his head and isn’t too tight.

AQHA has several resources available to help you find the right tack for your horse, including a properly fitted bridle. Download the Horse Tack Information ebook to make sure you’re making the right decision!

When you are ready to bridle, take your horse’s halter off and put it around his neck. This helps you maintain control, should your horse spook, and it keeps him from walking off.

Your position when holding the bridle depends on your comfort level with the horse. A suggested position is one where your head is held back away from the horse, so that if he were to fling his head, you would be at a safe distance.

To put on the bridle, grab the crown of the bridle with your right hand  and position your hand over the horse’s poll (between his ears), while your left hand holds underneath the bit. As you go to bridle, tickle your horse’s lips or stick a finger in his mouth so that he will open up and accept the bit.

Does your tack fit correctly? Download the Horse Tack Information ebook for information on selecting tack to make sure that it's the perfect fit for your horse.

Be careful not to hit your horse’s teeth, as that is the easiest way to deter him from taking the bridle.

After you have put the bridle on your horse, you can adjust it to fit your horse. Comfort is paramount, and you may have to adjust the bridle several times before it properly fits your horse.

Watch AQHA Professional Horseman Brent Tincher demonstrate how to properly bridle your western horse.