Come in Many Different Styles
The type of Western bridle depends on what your horse is doing. You want to decide which bridle works best on your horse and what type is your personal favorite.
Expensive bridles sell the headstall, bit and reins separately. You can choose what works best for you and your horse.
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The Western bridle is made up of three main parts.
- The Headstall,
- The bit and
- The reins.
The Headstall consists of the Head piece (Crown piece), the cheek pieces and sometimes the brow band and throatlatch.
The Head piece on a Western bridle often goes from the bit on the right side of the horse's head, up over the poll (crown), behind the ears and attaches with a buckle adjustment to the Cheek Piece on the left side of the horses face. Some western bridles have cheek pieces on both sides of the bridle which allow more room for adjusting the bridle to your horse's head.
The Brow Band is the part of the Headstall that goes across the horse's forehead, just above the eyes. It helps hold the bridle in place on the horse's head.
The brow band can be straight across the brow, while other brow bands are two pieces of leather joined in the middle to form a knot, sometimes known as a Futurity Knot.
The headpiece (crown piece) of a One-ear bridle is made from a piece of leather which has openings to fit over the horse's right ear.
Some One-ear headstalls have a loop of leather that fits over the right ear and it slides up and down the crown piece so you can adjust it to fit your horses head. Two-ear headstalls have pieces or openings in the crown piece that fit over both ears.
Some western bridles do not have a Throatlatch. This is the strap on the bridle that goes under the horse's throat and buckles on the left side. It helps to keep the bridle on the horse's head.
Reins are the steering wheel for the bridle. They come in many different styles and are made from different materials.
Most reins are made of leather or nylon. Some reins are covered with rubber so they do not slip from your fingers.
The Leather Split Reins are the most common reins used with the Western Bridle. They consist of two separate long pieces of leather that are attached to each side of the bit. These leather pieces are either 1/2" or 5/8" wide and vary in length up to 8 feet long. Some split reins have a sliding leather keeper that keeps the reins together.
The Game Rein is a single rein that has a swivel scissor snap on each end to attach to the bit. These reins are popular with people who ride gymkhana events like barrel racing and pole bending.
Game reins are great for kids. You don't have to worry about the child dropping one of the reins, but since the game rein is much shorter, the horse can easily pull the rein from a child's small hand. These reins can be made of leather, nylon or cotton web.