Why We Have So Many Different Headpieces

Anatomical Bridle Headpieces.

No two horses have the same head shape.

There are basic differences, such as long narrow heads, short wide heads, heads that are wide at the top but narrow at the muzzle, etc.

There are also differing ear shapes - short 'Pony' ears that are bulbous at the rear, ears that are long from Poll to Ear Base, etc.

There are differing Polls too - wide Polls, narrow Polls, Polls that are still rising from the neck and Polls that are flat at that point, etc.

It is impossible to create just ONE Headpiece that is truly 'Anatomical', in all aspects, for all horses, though many Manufacturers do just that.

Other Vital Points

The starting point for fitting bridles is to decide on what style of bit will be used with it.
Different bits have different positions where the cheekpieces attach. For example, a Hanging Cheek bit has the attachment point further forward on the face than the Loose or D Ring. This will alter the angle needed where the Hangers come out of the Headpiece and will rule out some headpiece designs before you start.

If the angle of the Hangers is not in line with the angle required to attach to the bit, then the headpiece will be tilted either forwards or backwards at the Poll, causing Ridge Pressure. In doing so, it will also pull the ear cut-away, into either the top or bottom of the ear, depending on whether the cheekpiece hanger is pulld backwards or forwards to attch the cheeks to the bit.

This a point that most bridle fitters never consider.

Look at the photos below - all are the same Saturn Headpiece, but used on different horses:

Headpiece ridge pressure at the front

Here we have a Venus Headpiece that is putting Ridge Pressure at the front on this horse, because the angle on the hangers is wrong and should be pointing further backwards, like in the Saturn.

Because  the hangers are being pulled backwards, the headpiece at the poll is tipping forwards.

Ridge Pressure at the back

On this horse, the Ridge Pressure is at the back when the Saturn is used. This is because, on this horse, the angle of the hangers was wrong and needed to be straighter, like the Venus.

As the hangers are pulled forwards, the heapiece is tipped backwards at the Poll.

Note how the tipping back has caused the headpiece curve to move forwards at the bottom, cutting into the base of the ear?

No ridge pressure

But on this horse, there is an even pressure over the whole headpiece. It does not tilt either forwards nor backwards and it fits.

THis is because, when the headpiece lies flat on the poll, the hangers point directly to the bit connection point on the face.

Most riders don't know how to judge which ones will fit, so if you are in this position, you have 2 options:

  1. Contact me for the details of your local Bridle and Bit Fitter and they will come out and fit the bridle correctly for you.
  2. Contact me for advice, but it can never be as accurate as actually having the horse in front of you to try different headpieces on.
  3. If there is no fitter in your area, then the photo I need is explained on this page, but it MUST be exactly as the photo shown.