Bruce owns a small farm and loves to grill since his early childhood. He’s a professional cook, but hiking and enjoying the great outdoors is his no less favorite part of life.
Last updated: January 25, 2021
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No horse likes to be bridled, especially when the bridle isn’t convenient, or the rider is a rookie. At best, you could get the neigh moan. And at worst, it could raise its fore legs, getting you bucked! Not here to scare you, your horse deserves to be happy. And if you feel they need to have a headgear for better control, care has to be taken in its selection. Anatomical bridles help cancel out the chances of your horse being treated just like a mere beast of burden.
The best anatomical bridle is ergonomically designed to let off the pressure on your horse’s sensitive facial parts without pinching its ears. And what do you get in result? The horse will maintain a natural and unhindered face movement during rides, and will be very comfortable, happy to be led. Would you give this type of headgear a try? We have selected three of the best on the market, focusing on criteria such as the material, size, reins, and padding.
In the making of what we consider as the overall best anatomical bridle on the market, Schockemöhle is a combination of functionality and a sporty design. Made of a combination of three types of materials, the net has an anatomical Swedish noseband and a unique headrest. These parts have been specially adapted to the anatomy of the horse. They do not limit the freedom of moving the ears. There is a reduction in pressure in sensitive areas just around the ganaches and the headrest. The comfort of the horse is, therefore, considerably improved. STANFORD has two fronts: a simple leather front and another with three rows of beautiful crystals.
It has flat sides and has a hook fastening system. For a better comfort level, it is adjustable on both sides. Meanwhile, reins are not provided with this bridle. However, it comes with padding.
Fitting like a glove, just like the first product, Schockemohle, also ensures the Concord Anatomic Snaffle Bridle has a functional performance and sporty look. It is made available in black leather and silver crystal browband. The bridle has an anatomic shape. The noseband has an English-combined noseband with a specially made neckpiece design. The various bridle parts have been specially adapted to the horse’s anatomy and do not limit the freedom of movement of the horse’s head features. It considerably reduces pressure and improves comfort in the sensitive areas around the ganaches and the headrest.
It comes with two different browbands at the front: one full-leather front and another one with a crystal decorated chain. The cheekpieces have a hook and a stud. For better ergonomic feeling, the throatlatch can be adjusted at each side.
The Snaffle Bridle from Flexible Fit Equestrian is a black English couture snaffle bridle with crystal browband. This product features a crank noseband, which is a patent of the brand. Crafted by hand, it is made from the finest and highest quality leather. Padded with a special gel, you have a very comfortable, and of course, a luxurious bridle that is unmatched on the market.
While it is well padded, this bridle also doesn’t come with reins, so you may need to get this if you want. The gel padding can be found around sensitive parts such as the browband, noseband, and crownpiece. The gel activates when it senses the body heat of the horse. It then molds up to the animal’s head shape with use. The crownpiece effectively reduces pressure on very sensitive ear and poll areas as it has a mono-crown construction with a single leather piece. You can buckle up the straps of the bridle at each side of the poll. It has a material combination of stainless steel, 100% high-quality leather and crystals.
What we liked:
Comes with paddings
High-quality English leather
2 years of warranty
What could be better:
Doesn't come with reins
Things to Consider
Anatomical bridles are made to prevent extra pressure on a horse’s facial nerves. But what exactly to look at when purchasing one? With the help of our guide you won’t make a mistake, just read through and be sure that with the bridle you’ll buy your horse will be happy.
What is an anatomical bridle – advantages and disadvantages?
The bridle is a term for a comfortable harness placed on the head of a horse to steer it. These types of bridles are designed to reduce pressure on the horse’s sensitive facial parts. It provides more comfort and lets it focus while on the move. It is a simple harness that includes only one bit and only one pair of reins (sometimes none). It can be completed by a noseband, which takes more or less different forms. Anatomical bridles have been proven by science to be of great benefit to horses.
Advantages of anatomical bridles
It helps to avoid putting pressure on the sensitive nerves and pressure points of the horse.
The result of the above allows for better circulation of blood.
It provides improvement in the level of flexibility, comfort, and behavior of the horse.
With an anatomical bridle, your horse will maintain proper and natural face movement during hiking or racing.
It gives the horse a complete physiological movement: it can lick its lips, chew, swallow, and yawn.
Most anatomical bridles come with extra paddings for full comfort. However, having extra pads can even increase the horse’s pressure.
Parts of the anatomical bridle to look at
In summary, the three elements to take into account before buying an anatomical bridle are the noseband, the headrest, and the bit.
The role of the headrest: This is the highest part of the bridle on the horse’s head. It goes directly behind the ears and must support the weight of the bridle. The headrest allows the whole bridle to be held (bit, noseband, upright, and forehead) on the horse’s head. The headrest exerts pressure on the gout of the skull and the 1st cervical of the horse. There is no perfect headrest model because each horse has different anatomy and tolerance to pressure. However, we recommend that you do not choose an overly wide headrest; this could prevent the 1st cervical from working correctly. If you opt for an anatomical model, ensure that the part of the headrest, which is located under the ears, does not extend over the cartilage present under the horse’s ears. This is a very sensitive area. Otherwise, your horse will not appreciate it, and it will protest!
The role of the noseband: Contrary to popular belief, the noseband does not have the function of keeping the horse’s mouth closed. The real purpose of the noseband is to maintain the stability of the horse’s attitude and acts as a guide rail for the horse’s jaw. This is why we advise you to opt for a reasonably wide noseband model. This will undoubtedly be more comfortable for the horse because the pressure will be better distributed there. The fine noseband are, of course, not to be avoided. But it will be necessary to make sure that it is adjustable. Otherwise, the pressure will be stronger on the back of the noseband. And you will notice that it will deform downwards. If you already observe this phenomenon on your bridle, it means that either the adjustment is not proper. Or probably the noseband is not suitable for the horse.
The bit: The bit is the part of the bridle that goes through the horse’s mouth. It is attached to the rest of the flange at the bottom of the uprights. Through the guides (reins) held by the driver, the bit is used to dictate the speed of the horse and to direct it. The bits are mainly made of metal and can be of different shapes and sizes.
Blinders: The two leather plates placed on the side of the horse’s eyes are called blinders. This is also called blinkers. These help to prevent it from seeing on the sides. They are fixed to the uprights on the sides of the flange. These are used in racehorses or driving horses.
The uprights: The uprights are part of the bridle and run along the horse’s head on each side; they connect the bit to the headrest, the border, the blinders, and the noseband.
The noseband: The noseband is a wide band worn loosely on the muzzle, which attaches under the horse’s cheeks. It is connected to the rest of the flange by the uprights.
The collar: The collar is a padded covering that surrounds the horse’s neck and protects his shoulders from the force of the pull. It is vital that the collar is adjusted correctly.
The guides or reins: This is the two leather straps along the splints which allow the driver of the horse to communicate with the horse. It helps to dictate the speed and direct it. Many models of anatomical dressage bridles don’t come with these.
Features to consider when choosing anatomical bridle
From the materials and color to the reins, paddings, size, price, and warranty, here are features to watch out for in a good anatomical bridle.
Material and color
As for the material and color, the different straps are most often made of leather. They have various colors such as black, dark brown, or light brown. They can also be adorned with decorative pieces in leather, metal, or sewing, as for example Schockemohle Sports Stanford Anatomical Bridle is decorated with crystals. In endurance, the bridles in nylon, vinyl, or synthetic material are preferred because of frequent watering on races. Also, note that handcrafted bridles are often of better quality than machine-made ones. However, they may be more expensive, depending on the type and quality of the materials.
There’s a wide choice of materials and textures for the reins of the horse. Each rider has his preferences in terms of texture, thickness, and flexibility of the reins. Whether braided leather, rubber, or fabric, everyone must find their comfort. This will help you have the best possible grip, and in fact, guarantee good contact with the horses’ mouths. Now there are even reins designed to improve communication and protect the horse’s mouth. They are found in special synthetic materials that have a better grip for the hands. These reins can also be provided with retainers, which serve as markers for the hands. This ensures the length of the reins does not vary. Other reins have an elastic part to soften the actions of the hands. There are also elastics with this same action to adapt to any pair of reins. Finally, as you may have noticed with the products in our review of the best anatomical dressage bridles, not all models come with reins. You may have to choose a product with reins or buy separately.
Besides the quality of their leather, bridles are different from each other, mainly by the noseband. Its function is to limit the opening of the horse’s mouth and therefore reduce:
The possibilities for the horse to pass the tongue over its mouth.
The possibilities for the mouth to come out through the side of the mouth with horses that don’t turn easily.
Depending on their shape, they will be more or less effective, and they will have more or less drawbacks:
The German noseband: These are to be placed under the mouthpiece to avoid pinching the commissure. This way, it is very effective. However, it can sometimes compress the nostrils, so avoid using it when walking, hiking, etc.
The crossed noseband: it consists of an “8” whose crossing is located on the chamfer. It is very appreciated in show jumping and cross.
The (non)presence of padding does a lot in determining if a material is an anatomical bridle or not. It simply provides comfort. Always found in the parts of the bridle that contact-sensitive parts of the horse head, they are softer in texture. It is usually found around the browband, noseband, and crownpiece. Like the Flexible Fit Equestrian English Anatomical Snaffle Bridle, it is better if the padding is made of gel. This is the most effective as far as ergonomics is concerned.
It is important that the size of the uprights corresponds to the horse’s size and that they are not too large for the horse. This will ensure that the closure loops are placed correctly on the horse’s head. At all costs, the curls should not be too high. Otherwise, this will hamper the horse. There are different sizes:
SS size: SHETLAND (up to about 1 m.)
PS size: PONEY B / C (1 m. To 1.40 m.)
CS size: COB (1.40 m to 1.60 m)
FS size: HORSE
The anatomical bridle can also be available in Full, VB (Cob), WB XL (XFull). An example is with the Schockemöhle Concord Anatomic Snaffle Bridle. An easy way to get the right size for your horse is to measure your horse’s current bridle.
The warranty coverage on the bridle varies according to brands, models, and price levels. Anatomical bridles are a bit expensive. So they must come with full assurance of quality spreading over the product’s first years. The full warranty covers workmanship and protects against defective materials from the day of purchase. As is offered by Flexible Fit Equestrian on itsSnaffle Anatomical English Bridle, choose models with minimum of two years of warranty. However, you can find models with up to 5 years.
The price of an anatomical bridle is generally determined by the brand, the material, production technique, and the parts featured. Models with reins cost more. And also, bridles crafted by hand and with high-quality leathers and other noble or elegant materials will definitely cost more. However, a reasonable price range for an anatomical bridle is between 200 to 350 dollars.
An easy way to get the right size for your horse is to measure your horse’s current bridle. Using your measuring tape, you have to measure the noseband, throatlatch, the cheekpiece, crown piece, and the browband length.
There are hundreds of anatomical bridle makers. However, only a few are renowned for quality and are reliable when it comes to customer satisfaction. The leading brands of anatomical bridles are Shockemohle, PS of Sweden, Eco Rider, and Equipe.
If your horse rubs or shakes its head after a ride, this may be a symptom of pressurized facial nerves. This pressure may cause its face to go numb. When it rubs or shakes its head, it’s its reaction to trying to getting back the feeling. It’s a sign that the bridle is not comfortable. This, among other issues, can be alleviated with the purchase of an anatomical bridle.
In any tack room, there are a multitude of different bridles available to you. But an anatomical bridle will make the difference in terms of your horse’s comfort and well-being. First of all, there are several parameters to take into account in the choice of the bridle. Regardless of your choice, you have to be very careful when using the anatomical bridle. When improperly used (like everything else), it can also be harmful to the horse. We have recommended three of the products on the market. The overall best anatomical bridle and, of course, the Editor’s Choice, is the Schockemohle Sports Stanford Anatomical Bridle. This has a very classic, elegant, and sporty design. The product with the best value is the Concord Anatomic Snaffle Bridle, also from Schockemöhle. Like the Editor’s Choice, it features quality leather, metal, and crystal materials. The Flexible Fit Equestrian Black Anatomical English Snaffle Bridle ‘Couture’ is our Budget Pick. Not compromising on quality, it features gel paddings on sensitive parts for better comfort life for your horse.