View Full Version : halter bridle

Lambie Boat
Apr. 26, 2008, 01:06 PM
hi guys,
I've never posted on this forum but I'm having an issue with getting a bridle on my mare's head. her teeth are fine and having a bit in her mouth is not the problem. She just refuses to be bridled. Will back away, then go up.

I've tried from the left, from the right and taking it apart and building it onto her empty skull piece by piece. very frustrating. I don't want to aggress on her with twitch or tiedowns as that would make things worse.

so where do I get a halter that, once on, can be made into a bridle by snapping on cheekpieces etc? One that I can put on like a halter, throwing the throatlatch over the neck first.

thank you!

Apr. 26, 2008, 01:25 PM
Like this?



Lambie Boat
Apr. 27, 2008, 08:07 AM
yes! exactly!
does this seller have a website somewhere?

perfect, thank you

Apr. 27, 2008, 10:02 AM
Just a warning, many horses really don't like having the bit hung onto the halter and fuss and toss their heads quite a bit while you try to add that bit. It's awkward to get that bit attached and getting the bit into the mouth after it's clipped to one side can be awkward for the horse. This is just my opinion, but I used them for a while and switched to halters with clip on bridles. So you horse may still have issues with the halter/bridles.

I would suggest training the issue away. Is your horse horse hating to have her ears handled? Exactly what part of bridling does she object to? I had to desensitize a 17 hand ASB who couldn't be bridled. I'm 5'3" so you can imagine me trying to bridle a giraff! I basicly taught the horse to enjoy having his head and ears touched and handled, taught him to lower his head for the handling, taught him to allow the arm between the ears, etc, then the bridling (with molasses on the bit) was easy. Of course I then had to teach his owner to do the same thing.


Apr. 28, 2008, 07:56 AM

I had a little horse with major head trauma in his history who was 'impossible' to bridle. We worked through it using a combination of - riding in just a halter, building the bridle on his head, and the halter-bridle. The halter bridle was a really good investment as part of the overall package. My boy could handle a halter, but he just couldn't deal with the whole 'bridle over the ears' thing.

It took us less than a year to work through it, but progress was steady and sure. I still remember the first day that I took the reins over his head to lead him, in the normal way ! Then one day I was riding two, and he was the second, and I forgot he wasn't normal and just simply put a bridle on him ( I know, how can you 'forget' about a problem horse that you ride every day ??? - I must have been dehydrated that morning. ) Just like in the Mark Rashid books - we'd worked around, towards and with the problem without ever making it into an issue, and in time, it had gone away. For us, it would have been nice if joe could wear a bridle like a regular horse, but he couldn't, and although we needed to build trust with bridling... 'bridling' itself was not the place to be building that trust.

Good luck with your girl - slow but sure and you'll get there. How long have you had her now, feisomeday ?

Auventera Two
Apr. 28, 2008, 09:10 AM
Hought Tack

Those two places make really nice ones. You can check out these tack shops:

Running Bear
Long Riders Gear
Action Rider Tack
Distance Depot

Apr. 28, 2008, 10:00 AM
I have to say I hate halter/bridle combos. They are just plain awkward for all involved. I bought a nice one from one of the sources listed here, so it's not a quality issue. My issues are:

the nose band is very low, because the halter's cheek straps are long, and can't be adjusted up and away from the bit. So the bit- just a regular eggbutt snaffle-clanks against the hardware of the halter. You can't shorten the cheekpieces then offset that with longer bit hangers, basically, b/c the bit hanger straps are too short to allow that- it's a mess. My TWH and QH I tried it on weren't happy in it. My dull TWH didn't care: but she doesn't care about anything ;)

I found it to be difficult to slip the bit in, and attach it on one side, then scurry around to attach on the offside. I'm standing there all over my horse's head trying to do this w/o bonking him with the bit in the teeth, he's chewing and annoyed at all this 'handling' and it's just a mess. Same for dropping it: it's easy to whack them in dropping the bit- frankly I consider it money wasted. I don't reach for that bridle, and trust me, at 100+ bucks, I wish I did!

If this mare is fussy, this seems an unlikely solution :( to the issue. Sounds like desensitization, learning to like her head handled, gums rubbed, etc, is a more likely path. Good luck :)

Apr. 28, 2008, 09:34 PM
I've never had a problem with putting the bit on after the halter is on [even though I usually leave the whole thing put together], maybe it's operator error? Or the brand?

I always order from Mad Tack, and I've never had problems with the bit banging against the hardware, so maybe it's just whoever makes the certain bridle.

To put the bit in, I clip it on the off side first, wiggle my finger in the corner of my mares mouth, and slip it in, bring the clip up and clip it. :confused: And she's a pretty fussy mare about being bridled, as well.

Apr. 28, 2008, 09:44 PM
the point of the halter bridle is to be able to take a break on trail ride, drop the bit, and tie the horse. After the break, re-insert the bit and go on down the trail. It was that part I didn't love ;)

and nope, same source as yours: snaffle tapping the halter hardware: I have two cranky horses that don't like that 'noise' in their mouths.

Apr. 28, 2008, 09:48 PM
I have the trail halter/bridle from Distance Depot. Right now I am using it as a sidepull since we haven't found that 'right' bit for him, but when I did use the bit the only issue I had was in the beginning...I had to get longer bit attachements (big head). I have put it on him both fully assembled and as a halter with adding the bit attachments later...No issue.
I found that the bit attachments are easier to do straight on...maybe not the correct way, but it works! if I ask him to take the bit then stand in front of him I can clip the attachments without any of the scurring from one side to another or worrying about dropping it/banging around in house mouth...I'm sold on the idea:)

Apr. 28, 2008, 09:54 PM
and nope, same source as yours: snaffle tapping the halter hardware: I have two cranky horses that don't like that 'noise' in their mouths.

Actually, Sportack makes a style that doesn't have the hardware on the noseband (http://www.sportack.com/cms/index.cfm/path/94789/96913/96322/96321/97084/).

Lambie Boat
Apr. 28, 2008, 09:57 PM
she's the funniest mare. She loves having her ears and poll rubbed, groomed etc. just puts her head down, closes her eyes and deep sighs. no problem.

no issue with putting on a halter either. it's a bridle creeping up her face toward her ears and poll. I've tried it all different ways. I can get a lunging cavesson on to her by opening all the buckles and placing it down from on high, me on a stepstool and she's fine with that. But she hates the bridle.

never had a bad incident cuz I've never been able to get it on her face!
now it's getting in the way of her advancement (just being backed and led now, as well as lunged with a rider on board) I've had her 2 years but she's been left to grow until now (she's 4)

Apr. 28, 2008, 09:58 PM
I like that better, CityDog...this is what I have and it's ok on the moo-mare (cow like personality) but on the chewy TWH, he clanks that bit against the halter...and my QH too didn't care for it. Well made, don't get me wrong, but I ended up just not caring for how it sits on the horse's head.


Apr. 28, 2008, 10:45 PM
I like that better, CityDog...this is what I have and it's ok on the moo-mare (cow like personality) but on the chewy TWH, he clanks that bit against the halter...and my QH too didn't care for it. Well made, don't get me wrong, but I ended up just not caring for how it sits on the horse's head.


That's odd. I have the same one, here it is on my mare:


Maybe it does make noise and I just don't notice? I'm going to have to listen tomorrow when I ride!

Auventera Two
Apr. 28, 2008, 10:57 PM
Also you can have them custom made so the noseband sits where you want, and the bit hangers are below that. You just send in precise measurements of every aspect of your horse's head, and tell them what you want.

Apr. 29, 2008, 12:54 AM
I got a biothane one from Running Bear, and instead of a halter, it has a sidepull for the noseband. It can be a bit bulky, but my OTTB got used to it, and so did I. I couldn't even tell you if it is noisy. I like it because on quiet days, I can attach the bit to my saddle and use the sidepull, which can be adjusted to taste. That gives me more sensitivity with the reins than a plain halter would. However, the padded noseband does not offer much whoa. That's why we only use it on quiet days!

I love the thing, though and don't like to ride him in anything else. Once you get used to it, the adjustability is great, as is the option to just pull the bit off and ride bitless.

I attach the bit to one side, then bit him. It's an eggbutt, and it was simply a training issue to get him used to it. If there is a problem with the horse accepting a bit, training is usually the best solution. I've gotten a few horses through resistance to taking the bit by breaking the bitting process down into eeny weeny steps and figuring out exactly what was bothering the horse. I do this where the horse feels safe and cannot get away but also doesn't have to be restrained too much--such as a stall. Then work on getting the horse to that point just before he usually gets upset without causing anxiety before moving to the crux of the problem. It can be slow, but it works. Sometimes the memory of painful teeth is enough to cause a horse to strenuously evade being bitted, even if the teeth are not currently a problem. Sometimes others have banged the horse's mouth badly while bitting, with the same result.

Also, for training a horse to accept a bit easily, I use one that I'm sure will not cause much pain if the horse swings his head around or rears in evasion. I can't tell you how much time I've spent with a bit held up to a horse's lips while the horse swings his head around or rears. I don't want points smacking him in the face! Eggbutts or loose-ring snaffles (as long as they can't pinch) are good for this part of the process. Full-cheek snaffles are terrible for training to bit. Don't forget to reward the horse when he tries to please you!

Good luck with your horse. I hope you find an option/solution that works for you and your horse!

Apr. 29, 2008, 01:47 AM
Will she take the bit without the bridle? If she will, I'd go less bulky instead of more and use a western split ear bridle with no throatlatch, something like this: http://www.saddleuptack.com/webcat/items/item346.htm .

It might be less intimidating and certainly easier to assemble on her head. You can also use it with the halter she already has.

If it's the bit she objects to, start working her with a piece of baling twine as a bit to get used to carrying something in her mouth.

I do love my halter bridles, though. I snap the bit on one side, slip it in the mouth and clip ithe other side. Easy :cool:.

Apr. 29, 2008, 06:41 PM
I don't like halter bridles. I've yet to find one that really fit and operated well as a HALTER and a BRIDLE. They've been around for at least a century (the Army had a version just after the Spanish-American War; they may predate that). The Army dropped it 'cause it just didn't work all that well.

Seems like you have a training problem, not a tack problem. While professional training help will be more expensive than a piece of tack it will also last longer. ;)

Good luck in whatever you choose.


Apr. 30, 2008, 09:12 AM
The Distance Depot aka www.horseloversoutlet.com has a LOT of good stuff like what you're looking for. She just made me a bunch of custom stuff all in beta/bio and it turned out great!

Apr. 30, 2008, 09:49 AM
Could the bridle be pinching her hear? I'd try a larger browband before anything else. :)

Apr. 30, 2008, 09:56 AM
I have one of the el-cheapo Nylon ones, kind of like http://www.horse.com/Western-Tack/Headstalls/Nylon-Halter-Bridle-with-Reins-WCM10.html

A lot of how much you like them depends on your horse, I think. Loved that bridle on my old QH. He was actually pretty sensitive, but out on the trail, he was happy and on a mission, and really trucked along on a loose rein, so I never noticed any problems with it. And it was fabulous when I went trail riding while I was pregnant, and had to stop to pee behind a bush every couple of miles.

My new mare is not so fond of it. It's not awful, but I definitely feel like it's a little floppy and sloppy, and she fusses a little about it when I have to package her up in spots.

Personally, I think it's worth a shot to try.

Apr. 30, 2008, 12:49 PM
What would be the difference between that and just putting clips onthe cheek piece of your current bridle?

I had a horse that was impossible to bridle too... the issue with him was his ears. He had such a phobia about it that even AFTER THEY WERE ACTUALLY HEALED, HIS FEAR OF GETTING HURT WAS OVERIDING everything. I cured him by putting snaps at the end of the cheek pieces, unsnapping the bit, setting the bridle on top of his head, then snapping the bit up again.
Took about 6 month for him to be completly totally fine. He now basically reaches for the bit , lowers his head for bridling....

(sorry about the caps - hit the button!)

May. 1, 2008, 10:18 AM
I was thinking the same thing, but you need cheek pieces short enough to accomodate the snaps.

I also have a cheap nylon deal I bought from either Jeffers or Country supply. They work just fine, once you poke a few more holes so they can be adjusted properly. I use a small soldering iron to burn holes in nylon straps. We bought the halter/bridles so we wouldn't have to risk having the horse get loose at the trail head when we pulled off the halter to put the bridle on. Now I have no fear of that, but at the time with young horse, it was a good idea. Endurance people use them so they can remove the bit at vettings to allow the horse to graze/eat/drink and still be able to use the lead. Also, they are better for tying, unless one likes to have a separate halter and bridle.

I also like to have clip-on reins. The OP might like this option as well so she doesn't have reins dangling when she attaches the bit. You can get the clip-on pieces at some tack shops or hardware stores. You could use the same type of clip for reins and cheek pieces if you are looking for a short-term solution while you figure out what is bothering your horse so much.