Wrapping a bridle is not only a good reflection on you and your barn, it gives you yet another opportunity to inspect the health and fitness of the leather and the stitching, and it tells people a lot about you as a horse-person. People will be able to see that you care about your horse’s well-being and safety as well as your own because you are careful and conscientious. Most importantly, it keeps your bridle neat and tidy with the leather supported in the right areas to save the bridle from excess wear and tear and premature breakage.
The following guidelines will help you wrap a bridle neatly.
- Start with a well-cleaned and conditioned bridle.
- As you touch each piece, inspect for loose stitching, leather cracks, and other evidence of wear that might make the bridle unsafe to use.
- Put the bridle on a tack-cleaning hook or a bridle rack of some type. It is easiest to use a hook or rack that the bridle will not slip off.
- Stand facing the bridle, as if you are in front of your horse looking at his cute face.
- Hold the buckle of the reins behind the bridle at about the middle (if measuring from the top – crownpiece – to the bottom – bit).
- Take the buckle end of the throatlatch in your right hand, bring it across the front of the bridle and then wrap it around the back of the bridle – going through the buckle of the reins, so the reins are resting on the throatlatch, then bring the throatlatch back around the front of the bridle.
- **Optional** Wrap the throatlatch one (1) more complete circuit around the bridle catching the reins again.
- As you bring the throatlatch back across the front of the bridle pull it up towards the belt-end (with the holes) of the throatlatch and either tuck the belt in to the keeper and the runner, or fasten the buckle to the belt.
- Straighten the browband and the cavesson or noseband.
- Take the belt end of the cavesson and the buckle end of the cavesson and wrap them around the back of the bridle as if you were going to buckle them on your horse’s nose – BUT – keep going back to the front, making sure to catch the reins between the noseband and the headstall.
- Either run the belt end of the cavesson through the keeper and runner, or buckle the cavesson so that the buckle is on the front of the bridle.
- **Optional** If you have a flash or a figure 8 (grackle), the following is a best practice for keeping the flash healthier, longer.
- As with the cavesson, take each end of the flash and run it behind the bridle as if you were going around the horse’s chin – **IMPORTANT** Make sure to run the flash through the bit rings so that the leather is supported on the bit and does not pull on the leather tab that attaches to the cavesson.
- Continue wrapping the flash around to the front and either run the belt end through the keeper and runner, or buckle it so that the buckle is at the front.
- As you finish, take a step back from your bridle and look for symmetry. Make sure you hang the bridle neatly and balanced so that there is no excessive stress on any area that is not meant to be weight bearing.
- Your final picture should have a nice straight line at the browband, followed by the X of the top of the throatlatch, then a straight line of the extra loop of the throatlatch, followed by a straight line of your cavesson, and finishing with the straight line of you flash.
- Now you can proudly display your clean and tidy bridle at horse show or in your tack room, or you can tuck it safely away in a bridle bag knowing it will not be a tangled mess the next time you use it.