Parts of a Bridle

  • Crownpiece: This is the main strap that holds the rest of the bridle in place. It rests behind the horse’s ears. In the simplest of styles, the crownpiece is all there is to a bit.
  • Cheekpieces: These straps connect the bit to the crownpiece. Some bridle styles have only one cheekpiece, usually on the left, and others simply have an adjustable crownpiece instead of cheekpieces. The advantage of cheekpieces is that you can easily fine-tune the bridle’s fit to your horse’s face for maximum comfort and responsiveness.
  • Throatlatch: Often split from the same piece of leather as the crownpiece, the throatlatch (US) or throatlash (UK) extends from the base of the horse’s right ear, under his throat, and buckles on the left side of the jaw. The advantage of a throatlatch is that when properly adjusted, it prevents the bridle from slipping over the horse’s head.
  • Browband: Most bridles have a browband that connects the crownpiece across the front of the horse’s forehead. A browband may be mostly decorative or it may serve the function of holding complex bridle elements together, especially in English disciplines that call for the use of cavessons or double bits.
  • Noseband: Most English bridles are equipped with nosebands, while the majority of Western ones leave the horse’s nose uncovered. The noseband helps hold the bit in place and some riders use it to help keep their horses’ mouths closed. Cranking the noseband too tightly will cause pain and prevent your horse from doing his best.
  • Curb strap: A curb strap or curb chain is used with a curb bit, and is designed to place pressure on the chin groove when the reins are tightened. A similar apparatus called a bit hobble can be used to help hold a snaffle bit in place. Like the noseband, this strap should not be tightened too much.