Measuring a Horse for a Bridle

snaffle bridle

Parts of a snaffle bridle.

A snaffle bridle is the simplest kind of bridle for young riders. It is made up of the following different parts:

  • cheek piece 1 (attaches to the crownpiece)
  • crown piece 1a (attaches to the cheekpiece)
  • browband 2
  • noseband 3
  • throatlatch 4
  • reins
  • bit

Snaffle bridles come in four main sizes: pony, cob, full and oversize. How do you know what size will fit your horse? It is easy to understand that you would not buy a pony-sized bridle for a 17 hand Percheron. But sometimes it is not so clear. When you’re not sure, it is helpful to know how to measure your horse for a bridle.

Measuring A Horse for a Bridle

Use a soft fabric measuring tape with inch or centimetre increments.

The dotted lines in the pictures below, illustrate the position of the tape measure on the other side of the horse’s head, where it is unseen.

Step 1

Measure for the crown and cheek pieces, parts 1 and 1a in the picture of the bridle above.

To do this, measure from the corner of the horse’s mouth, up along the line that the cheek piece would follow, over the ears (for the crown piece), and to the other corner of the mouth.

step 1


Step 2

Measure for the length of browband.

Measure from the back edge of the horse’s ear, around his forehead, to the back edge of his other ear.

step 2

Step 3

Measure for the length of noseband.

Measure the circumference of the horse’s nose, approximately one inch or two finger widths down from the prominent cheek bone towards the nose.

step 3

Step 4

Measure the length of throatlatch required.

Measure from back of your horse’s ear, under his throat, to the back of his other ear.

step 4

Let’s look at different measurements and relate them to horse bridle size. Click here to see a bridle size chart. Refer to the chart to answer the following questions.

1. You’ve followed the instructions for Step 2, measuring for the browband. The measurement was 14 1/2 inches (37 centimetres). What horse bridle size category does this correspond to?

2. The measurement you took for the noseband was 26 inches (66 centimetres). What horse bridle size does this correspond to? 

3. The measurement for the throatlatch was 23 inches (58 1/2 centimetres). What horse bridle size does this correspond to?

Now you know how to measure a horse for a bridle! Be sure to take along your measurements (and tape measure) when you go shopping!

Common Core: 3.MD.B.4, 4.MD.A

Atticus Finch by carters; CC BY-SA 2.0
Buck by WesternStock

Feature image by Liesbeth den Toom; CC BY-SA 2.0



4 Responses to “Measuring a Horse for a Bridle”

  1. JeanieE
    January 21, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    We are headed to the barn now to try out this lesson. We have an incredibly hard-to-fit bridle situation on our hands: an Arabian pony!

  2. HLM
    January 21, 2015 at 10:20 am #

    Super Jeanie! Let us know how it goes.

    • JeanieE
      January 21, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

      My 9 y/o dd did a great job with the measurements, and it is as we suspected” He is a small pony noseband, cob brow band, and warmblood throat latch, lol! BTW how do we figure out head piece and cheek pieces? I’m thinking he’ll need pony cheek pieces with his face being so short.

  3. HLM
    January 26, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    The crown and cheek pieces, when fitted together, should equal measurement 1. Fit them together before buying to make sure they will adjust to equal measurement 1. Again—let us know how it goes. Send us a picture of your Arabian pony wearing the new bridle! We could share it with others as an example.

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