Fitting a Double Bridle

Fitting a Double Bridle with Susan Hoffman Peacock!
A little bit bit about Susan:

This California native has spent her life taking advantage of some remarkable learning opportunities. She has worked with wonderful trainers such as, Johann Hinnemann, Mette Rosencrantz, Betsey Stiener and Eicke Von Velthiem. She currently is working with dressage master Conrad Schumacher and James Shaw to study body mechanics. 

Susan has her own training system, the Peacock System, that includes goal setting, lesson planning and organizational skills. Susan is very proud of the work that she does with her clients, horses in training as well as her very successful apprentice program. Susan is a very popular clinician and guest lecturer. She can be found teaching USDF Adult Camps, USPC Clinics and supporting the NAYR throughout the year.

I would like to thank Equine Photographer Sharon Fibelkorn Chapman, without her we would not have had these fabulous photos to share with you!

Susan Hoffman Peacock is a National Clinician, USDF  4th Level Certified Instructor/Trainer, USDF Silver Medalist and National Champion. 

She owns and operates the beautiful Eastvale Equestrian in Eastvale, California. 

You can contact Susan for lessons and to book a clinic in your state at:  

Eastvale Equestrian
 8312 Grapewin
 Eastvale, California 92880

Phone: 909.227.6404
Email: dressagepeacock@gmail.com


Photo by Sharon Fibelkorn Chapman
Photo by Sharon Fibelkorn Chapman
Let's get started!

There are a few key points to remember when fitting a double bridle on your horse. First, don’t be afraid to keep adjusting it just a little up or down. Second, the bridle and bits being too tight or too big is a problem. Lastly, your horse will have the final input on the fit.
1.The bits are the big part of the fit. When I buy a set of double bridle bits I look to see what size in inches from left to right,not thickness. The snaffle bit is on the horse’s daily work bridle The curb or weymouth should be the same size as the daily snaffle. The bradoon or snaffle bit should be 1/8 or1/4 inch larger. This will insure that the rings of the snaffle do not pinch or get caught on the curb. If the bits are too small they will not have the travel that they will need when you manipulate the bit. When the bits are too large they slide back and forth and can bang on the bars causing pain. 
2. The snaffle bit should be placed in the mouth so that there are 2-3 wrinkles in the corner of the mouth. This might be one more small wrinkle than when the horse goes in the snaffle bridle. The curb should hang lower than the snaffle so that they do not touch each other at the tongue. You can check this by placing your finger very carefully between them from the side. 
3. The curb chain is like a puzzle. It lays flat when twisted. Laying flat is VERY important so take your time and make sure that the curb chain is flat before and after you hook it on to the bit. 
4. When there is no pressure on the reins the curb chain should be loose at the chin. There should be enough room for you to place 2-3 fingers between the chain and the chin groove. The chain should be snug when the rein is tightened so the shank of the curb is pulled backwards to a 45 degree angle. 

5. The browband of the bridle should not be too tight. You need to have a big enough browband so that there is no pressure around the ears. This is important because there are a lot of straps going over the horse’s head that the browband contains. A proper fitting browband will allow appropriate poll pressure from the bits. 

6. It is the rider’s responsibility to make sure that the bridle is comfortable for the horse. Take the time to stand in front of the horse and make sure that the whole bridle is straight and even. The noseband should be adjusted 2 fingers below the cheek bones. The brow band should be level. All of the straps should lay flat and not twisted. The straps that have buckle on both sides should be evenly adjusted. 
When you think that you have the bridle fitted properly it is always a great idea to have a knowledgeable friend look at it for you. You might find that you need to readjust the fit until you are happy with it. Always remember that a new bridle will have a breaking in period. After a few days of use, it might need to be tightened up as it settles in.
Good luck and Happy Riding!