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How to Measure for a bridle

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A complete guide to bridle sizes

These days most bridles are available in three sizes Pony, Cob, and Full, in addition, some manufacturers offer small pony and extra full. However, it is important to note that there are no industry-standard measurements for each bridle size. Just because your current full-size bridle fits your horse, there is no guarantee that a new one will also fit. It is therefore essential that you check individual manufacturers sizing guides for the correct size. European bridles tend to be a bit larger than their English counterparts and you may find that an English Full is similar in size to a European Cob Size bridle.

Bridle manufacturers also assume that all horse breeds have the same conformation and this can cause problems if your bridle manufacturer won’t mix and match bridle parts. For example, a horse with a short face may need a cob size bridle but if their foreheads are wide, they may need a full-size browband. At Pink Equine we are happy to mix and match bridle parts according to your specific requirements. We make a wide range of different types of bridles to accommodate most customer requirements.

Some measuring guides we have looked at seem to make the process overly complicated. So the aim of our guide on how to measure for a bridle is to keep the steps as simple as possible. There are four different methods that can be used to measure a horse bridle.

Method 1. Use an existing Bridle

If you already have a bridle that fits your horse, take it apart (see our guides on the different parts of a bridle and how to put a bridle together).

Step 1.Take the headpiece with the cheek pieces attached and measure from one side to the other (marked A – B on the image below) with a soft tape measure. This is what we call our bit-to-bit measurement.

Measuring the Headpiece

Step 2. Remove the browband and measure the inside from end to end (marked C – D on the image below).


Step 3. Lay out the noseband and measure this from end to end.


Refer to our horse bridle size chart. You will notice that we provide the smallest and largest measurements taking into account which hole the bridle is put together on. Ideally, your measurements should fall in the middle of one of our sizes. Measurements can be taken in centimeters or inches. If your existing bridle is too tight, remember to take into account any size increases for the new bridle.

Method 2. Borrow a bridle to take measurements.

If you don’t have a bridle for your horse, see if you can borrow a bridle and try it out on your horse for size. For help with fitting a bridle refer to our guides how to put a bridle on a horse and how to fit a bridle. If the bridle fits your horse, follow the same process as in Method 1. above. If a particular piece of the bridle is tight make a note to increase the measurements accordingly.

Method 3. Measure your Horse or Pony.

If you don’t have an existing bridle and are unable to borrow one, you can physically measure your horse for a bridle using a sewing tape measure. There are three simple steps that you need to take.

Step 1. The Headpiece Measurement.

To find the length of the headpiece including cheekpieces, using a sewing tape measure, measure from the corner of the horse’s mouth, where the bit will sit (Marked A on the images) over the poll, around the horse’s ears, down to the other side of the horse’s mouth (Marked B on the images).

The Headpiece Measurement Front on
The Headpiece Measurement Side on

Step 2. The Browband Measurement.

To find the length of the browband measure across the forehead (Marked C – D on the images). Make sure the measurement is loose enough to fit two fingers under the tape. Ensure that the tape measure is far enough back so as not to pull the headpiece forward and thereby pinching the horse’s ears.

The Headpiece Measurement Front on

Step 3. The Noseband Measurement.

To find the length of the noseband, start a couple of fingers width (about an inch) below the cheekbones, and measure the total circumference of the muzzle (Marked E – F on the image). Make sure the measuring tape is loose enough that you can fit two fingers under the tape.

The Noseband Measurement Front on
The Noseband Measurement Front on

Method 4. Use an existing headcollar

Finally, if all else fails and for some reason, you are unable to measure your horse or pony, or get hold of a bridle, use the size of your horse’s headcollar as a guide. It is not anywhere near as precise as the first three methods, but chances are if your horse is in a full-size headcollar he will need a full-size bridle.

Headcollar as a horse bridle guide

Pink Equine has a wide range of horses bridles. If you need a non-standard size, a mix, and match bridle, or have a special request, please do not hesitate to contact us either by phone at 01386 833050, using the contact form, or via Facebook messaging.

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