|Posted on March 22, 2011 at 8:57 PM|
The Driving Bridle
A driving bridle is made up of several parts-
2.caveson or noseband
13.sidecheck or overcheck
The crown of the bridle(7) is the piece that sits over the top of your horse’s poll and nestles behind the ears. Ears and poll are very sensitive so good fit are essential and you should always be gentle bridling your animal. It should fit closely but not tightly behind the ears allowing the browband(5) to cross the forehead comfortably. The browband(5) is held in place by rosettes(12) or conchos on either side of the bridle.
The cheekpieces(9) hold the blinkers(1) in place as well as the bit(10) in the horse’s mouth. They have buckles at the top and bottom. The top buckle sits just below the rosette(12) on the bridle and attaches to the crown billets here. This is where you will raise or lower the blinker(1). The blinker(1) should sit so that the eye of the horse is even with the middle of the blinker(1). The blinker(1) keeps the horse from seeing what is behind him, horses have wide peripheral vision. Blinkers(1) come in several shapes including square, round, hatchet or D-shaped, this used to be in accordance with specific traditions which are now rarely followed so now it is more a matter of taste. Any adjustment to blinkers(1) should be made before attempting to adjust bit height.
A noseband(2) or caveson goes around the horse’s nose approximately two fingers below the boney prominence of the cheek. If it has a strap going over the horse’s poll adjust this first then adjust the noseband(2) itself. Nosebands(2) need not be tight, you should be able to put a couple of fingers inside the band. Now you could buckle the throatlatch(11), this does not need to be snug, they will need the room when they flex their neck.
The bottom buckle holds the bit in the horse’s mouth, the bit(10) should be firmly into the mouth without causing any more than two wrinkles in the sides of the mouth. It should not hang down and leave a gap either. This is a matter of personal preference.
Next you can adjust the winker stays(3). It is easiest to unbuckle the winker stay billet(6), adjust your blinkers(1) as narrow or as wide as they need to be and then buckle the billet(6) in the appropriate position.
The bridle in my diagram has a sidecheck(13) on it, it runs from the side of the driving bit up through rings on the gag runner(8) and back in a loop to a strap that hooks to the harness at the waterhook. In most cases a sidecheck is attached the sides of the driving bit at the back behind the bridle and hooks to the waterhook when the horse is working as seen here. An overcheck is generally used with a check bit that goes into the mouth separately. Some people choose to drive with no check.