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Stupid question - One ear bridles

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  • Stupid question - One ear bridles

    So, I'm thinking of converting. I bought a wonderful little western-riding paint pony, and I am SO psyched about outfitting him, because after all these years of riding conservative hunters...I'm ready for some silver and bling! (And man is he blingy all on his own!)

    I really love the minimalist look of the one-ear bridles, but I was thinking about them for trail riding and (forgive my ignorance) wouldn't they be easy to "get out of" if there was an issue on the trail and the horse backed up (presuming I would be leading the horse on the ground)

    Do they sell them with throatlatches?

    Okay - I told you it was a dumb question...

  • #2
    I have only been riding western for 5 years (rode hunters for 10 years before that), but I have had the opportunity to ride hundreds of horses in those 5 years because of my fiance's dude ranch. I have only had one horse that ever "got out of" a one ear, so yes it is possible, but it does not happen often.

    They do not sell them with throatlatches and I don't see how you could really effectively attach one.

    Does your horse have a tendancy to through his head? If not, I would't really be concerned. I ride my guy in a one ear.
    Last edited by OveroHunter; Jun. 6, 2012, 04:16 PM. Reason: added hunter experience.


    • #3
      I've had a horse shake off a one ear that was set up with a ring snaffle, but have never had any problems with one with a curb and properly adjusted curb chain.

      I don't think I horse could 'back out' of one...they would be going against downward pressure on the poll from the reins that you were holding.

      ETA-they do have this style (shaped ear) with a throatlatch, but never seen a one ear with a moveable ear piece. http://www.horseloverz.com/Western-B...roatlatch.html
      The best little horse show series around! www.WinningWeekends.com


      • #4
        This is another type of "split ear" ... if you google split ear headstall images there are more examples


        • #5
          Having been ON THE HORSE who shook off her one ear bridle going down the trail, I just put a throatlatch on them for safety. I pulled one off a regular western browband bridle, ran the end thru the ear loops that go on the headstall, then buckle up the throatlatch.

          I like the one ear models for minimal stuff to get in place bridling, but after that one incident, they have to have a throatlatch now.

          Horse was NOT into bridleless riding, and the bit on her chest did nothing to slow or stop her!!

          I always figure ONCE is my warning to change things! WHY did this incident happen? Didn't have a wreck or get hurt THIS TIME, so DON'T do it that same way again!!


          • #6
            I was going to say, you can find shaped or split ears with throatlatches. I used to buy them as I like the look, but was riding in snaffles and didn't want them popping off (and they do).

            I've used regular one ears for years with a curb and haven't ever had an issue with it.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks guys!

              I don't suspect that he'll throw his head, he's really a mellow guy, but I don't know him well yet!

              I just didn't want to commit some major equine faux pas, get into trouble on the trail, and as horsie gallops all over kingdom come have someone say "You idiot, those are only for riding in the ring" (or some such thing ).

              Now I have to find out what kind of saddle the one I tried him in was...I loved that saddle with a ridiculous passion. The gal who I bought him from said she'd look at what brand it was, but it was the deepest sitting, most comfy saddle *ever*. Ahhh the fun this will be!


              • #8
                One ear bridles were for showing, where if they come off it doesn't matter.

                For pasture work/trail riding, most use bridles with browbands a horse can't shake or rub off.

                We had one horse that injured his ear and it hurt him to have anything close to it, so we used a one ear bridle on him outside, that we added a throatlatch to with a smaller strap sewn in the right side and a little D on the left and a snap on the end of the strap.
                Worked fine, but he would have worked without a bridle just as well.

                I have seen people today riding any place with any kind of bridle, it really doesn't matter, use what you and your horse like.


                • #9
                  I don't like one-eared headstalls... They never look right to me, the split or the loop just looks so clunky.

                  I like brow band bling on a not too fancy plain headstall....
                  “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                  • #10
                    I don't ride on the trail with a one- or double-ear headstall...too great a chance it could be scratched off. I do ride in a split-ear w/throatlatch with one of my horses. They can be a little tricky threading an ear through, so wouldn't recommend one for a horse with any sort of ear issue.

                    The one-ear headstalls seem to have fallen out of fashion in the show pen. All I see these days are the double-ear version.
                    Is it me or do 99.9% of cowboys just look better with their hats on?


                    • #11
                      I've got a one-ear with a throat latch that I'll happily send you if you want it. Can't remember where I got it, but it's cute, I just don't like the color of it on my gelding. If you want it, I'll go dig through tack and see if I can find it.

                      I usually use a regular brow band bridle with a throat latch and a rope halter for trail riding Western. Had a horse rub off his one ear (no throat latch) once by rubbing his face on his leg. Luckily he was a good boy and the curb chain kept the bit in his mouth while I dismounted to fix it.


                      • #12
                        I agree with others who have stated that one-ears aren't safe for trail riding. You wouldn't believe how easy it is for a horse to accidentally rub one off just brushing up against trees/shrubs on the trail. Regardless of how properly the bridle has been fitted. Been there; done that.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by OveroHunter View Post
                          I have only been riding western for 5 years (rode hunters for 10 years before that), but I have had the opportunity to ride hundreds of horses in those 5 years because of my fiance's dude ranch. I have only had one horse that ever "got out of" a one ear, so yes it is possible, but it does not happen often.

                          They do not sell them with throatlatches and I don't see how you could really effectively attach one.

                          Does your horse have a tendancy to through his head? If not, I would't really be concerned. I ride my guy in a one ear.
                          They do sell with throatlatches---I have several. You just won't find the "show" one ear bridles with throatlatches. Just shop for good old one ear working bridles.
                          My mare has a very pretty head with her own "bling" and she is lovely in a plain leather one ear bridle.


                          • #14
                            I have seen regular english bridles get shaken off the horse's head, or rubbed off. I rode a pony I used to own in a one ear and she never took it off. I do not think there is any difference in risk. The one ear bridles I used always had throatlatches - of course, so did those english bridles!

                            The ones I have used are similar to this:


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by OveroHunter View Post
                              They do not sell them with throatlatches and I don't see how you could really effectively attach one.
                              Actually, not so, I have several with throatlatches out in the trunk in the garage. Okay, admittedly they date from 60s and early 70s, maybe. But I have seen them available in recent times.

                              I routinely use one-eared bridles w/o throatlatches on the trails, in the back country, at shows on those exceedingly rare occasions when I show. In fact I often use them when riding English, less leather to clean!

                              I do, though, have both English (flat leather hunting) and western bridles for both horses, and the English ones do get used with some regularity. They don't really seem to care, either way. On a hot all day trail ride, maybe they like less on their face better, but I would consider it an insignificant difference.

                              I have known horses that would rub one off- just not as it happens any I've ever owned.

                              I actually just came into possession of a very nice western bridle w/browband and fancy cheek pieces. Have only used it once, though. With gazillions of bridles and only two horses, I guess my inventory is a little ridiculous. Including, come to think of it, two 'two-eared' headstalls w/o throatlatches from Mexico, that were given to me in 1965.


                              • #16
                                I bought a shaped, 1 ear bridle back in the 80's, that has a throat latch. I still use it today and I've never had a horse slip out of a bridle for any reason.

                                This site has a couple of 1 ear bridles with a throat latch.
                                R.I.P Vanny 26 yr QH Stallion 4/11/82 - 5/8/08, Scout 28 yr Paint Cross Gelding, Glistening 11 yr Arab/Saddlebred Mare


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Beverley View Post
                                  Actually, not so, I have several with throatlatches out in the trunk in the garage. Okay, admittedly they date from 60s and early 70s, maybe. But I have seen them available in recent times.
                                  I don't think I was very clear, I know you can buy throatlatches separately and that there are slip ear bridles with throatlatches, but I have never seen a true one ear with a throatlatch sold together... That is until Sentry Chick posted a website that sells this. Totally did not know those existed and I really don't see the point. Might as well go with a futurity bridle at that point.


                                  • #18
                                    Or, if you think you may be leading your horse, for some reason, consider using a get down rope. http://www.calclassics.net/php/learn/get_down_rope.php The third picture on that page is the configuration I like to use, except I will actually run the rope around the crown of the headstall when using a split or sliding ear headstall so the rope acts as a throatlatch, and it keeps the rope from working down the neck of the horse. It's really not nice to lead a horse with reins attached to a curb bit anyway.

                                    The alternative is to ride with a halter under your bridle, which many trail riders do, but I think a get down rope and bosalita are much more elegant and less bulky.

                                    Whether your horse can get out of a bridle, really depends on the horse. I have had horses that managed to flop their ears in such a way that they could shake off a browband/throatlatch headstall. And, of course, if you allow an itchy horse to rub it's head on anything, you're risking it rubbing the bridle off. Most of the time, I've just had them get one ear out, and I can reach up and put it back, but that's because no one panics (rider) and no one wants to run off (horse).


                                    • #19
                                      This one most closely resembles mine.

                                      R.I.P Vanny 26 yr QH Stallion 4/11/82 - 5/8/08, Scout 28 yr Paint Cross Gelding, Glistening 11 yr Arab/Saddlebred Mare


                                      • #20
                                        For trail riding I would definitely go with a browband style of headstall. The one ears come off too easy, especially if they're used with snaffles. I was just sitting there on my horse and he shook his head because of flies and the bridle came flying off.

                                        Because I didn't have another usable bridle these past couple of months I used my one ear, but snatched a throatlatch from another bridle and just ran it through the ear piece. I was just riding in the arena, but on a green horse, and one that has a tendency to shake her head. It looked ugly, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.