In magazines you tend to see so many articles about the importance of a correctly fitted saddle, how it can cause so much damage to the horse's back and tips on how to check if your saddle fits correctly. This has resulted in me becoming a little bit paranoid about my saddles, and I am constantly checking them to make sure that each saddle fits each horse well. However, what you don't tend to often see are articles dedicated to bridle fitting! I know bridles are much easier to fit on a horse and you don't need to worry so much about the bridle as you do about the saddle, but have you ever seen a horse's facial nerves and how bridle affects them?
Brow bands that are properly fitted on a horse bridle will place the crown piece comfortably behind the ear base. If the brow band is too small, it will rub the horse behind the ears and can cause pressure on the nerves. Make sure that yours isn't too small!
A noseband that is too tight causes pressure on nerves, lips and nostrils making it uncomfortable for the horse. It can also put pressure on the nerves to the chin and jaw, which limit a horse's ability to yawn. A well fitted bridle that is not too tight can be checked if you are able to slip to two fingers between the leather and the horse's jaw. I also use neoprene guards to make it even more comfortable for my horses. They have plush fabric on one side for the horse's comfort and protection whilst the foam side grips the bridle for a secure fit.
For sensitive horses, or when the leather of the bridle has become a bit hard I also use a gel poll protector. This lightweight, gel-padded, black piece attaches well to any bridle and ensures that your horse doesn't experience any pain or pressure at the poll. Mine is currently in use with Basse's bridle, but when Vallu is in hard training and we use the double bridle, then I use this to make it more comfortable for him.