Horse bridles come in a handful of basic sizes to accommodate different size horse heads. All bridles have the same basic components and perform the same task, but if the bridle does not fit the horse's head correctly, he may not respond appropriately to cues and may even misbehave due to discomfort.
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Basic Bridle Sizes
The most common bridle size is the average, or horse, size bridle. A cob size bridle is slightly smaller than horse sized, it is designed to accommodate large ponies and small headed horses. A pony sized bridle is made for medium-sized ponies. A small-size pony bridle is for breeds such as the Shetland and minis. An extra large bridle, also called an oversized or draft bridle, is for horses with unusually large heads, such as some warmbloods and draft breeds.
Horse-size bridles, on average, have a 12.25-inch-long noseband, a 15.5-inch browband and 11-inch cheekpieces. Exact measurements will vary by manufacturer. English bridles are more specific as to the component sizes. Western headstalls are more adjustable and a number of items will be labelled as cob/horse size as they can be significantly adjusted upwards or downwards in sizing. Horse-size bridles correspond with large horse halters in size.
The standard measurements for a cob-size bridle are a 11-inch noseband, 14.5-inch browband and 10-inch cheekpieces. Cob bridles fit horses with smaller, more compact or delicate heads and large ponies, such as the Welsh Cob, Arabians, Morgans and some foundation-bred Quarter Horses. Your horse needs a cob-size bridle if a horse-size bridle is still too loose when it is adjusted as tight as it can go without punching more holes in it. You will probably need a cob bridle if your horse wears a medium-size halter.
All bridles will measure slightly differently due to manufacturer differences and the condition of the leather, which tends to stretch out with age and use. Bridles have a number of different holes punched in the cheekpieces, headstalls, nosebands and throat latches in order to allow you to create the best possible fit. Adjust your horse's bridle so that it fits him snugly but not too tightly.
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