It is essential for new riders to learn how to properly put both a saddle and a bridle on their horse. The bridle is a tool that consists of the headstall, bit and reins. It is used to allow the rider to direct and control the horse's movements. In order to be effective, the bridle has to be put on the horse correctly and properly adjusted to fit the horse's head.
Brush the horse's head and face down with a face brush to remove any dirt or other debris that could become trapped between the bridle and the horse's skin during riding. Trapped dirt can irritate the horse's skin and even create sores in extreme cases.
Remove the horse's halter. Restrain the horse by either putting the reins over the horse's head and around the neck or looping a lead rope around the horse's neck.
Place your right arm around the horse's neck so that your hand is between the ears near the poll. Position the bridle in your right hand so that you are holding it by the crown. Make sure the bridle is facing forward and properly aligned with the general shape of the horse's head.
Support the bit with your left hand and gently press it upwards into the horse's mouth. Most horses are trained to accept the bit when it is presented. If the horse does not open its mouth to accept the bit, you can slide one of your fingers into the corner of the horse's mouth into the area of the gum where there are no teeth and apply a slight pressure against the tongue and gum in order to encourage the horse to open its mouth. When the horse opens its mouth, slide the bit into its mouth with your left hand.
Position the crown piece of the headstall behind the horse's ears. Make sure the browband is positioned in such a way that is is below the ears and above the eyes, going across the horse's brow.
Check the position of the bit and adjust the headstall if the bit appears to be too tight or hanging loose in the horse's mouth. The bit should be positioned against the sides of the horse's mouth, creating no more than a couple of wrinkles in the skin in the corner of the horse's mouth.
Fasten the throatlatch, if the bridle has one. The throatlatch goes around the horse's throat and should be fastened so that you can comfortably fit between two and four fingers in between the leather and the horse's skin.
Fasten the noseband, if the bridle has one. The noseband is typically a feature of English bridles and should be fastened so that you can comfortably fit two fingers in between the leather and the skin.
Once all buckles are adjusted properly you should be ready to use the bridle.