Singing the praises of the double bridle

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  • “There has not been – nor ever will be a better bridle than the double!” says showing maestro, David Tatlow. “Although people think of it as a traditional ‘showing’ bridle, horses wear them for dressage, show jumping, to hunt and sometimes in events. I even won a point-to-point on Midgar when he was wearing a double bridle. He used to run out, but I put him in a double bridle with a running martingale on the bridoon rein, and won the following week.

    “There are so many different variations that can be used with a double bridle, perhaps a thick, German bridoon for a horse that won’t go on to the bit, a thinner one for a horse that leans on it or maybe even a twisted bridoon, the possibilities are endless. And, of course, the same goes for the curb bit. The length can vary the pressure greatly, and there are dozens of different types of mouthpieces on them, with or without ports, so that it goes without saying that every horse can be accommodated.

    “The action of the bridoon, which is a smaller, thinner version of the snaffle, is to put the horse’s head in the correct position, while the action of the curb elevates the nose into the correct position. I don’t like to see the nostrils behind the eyes, I always like to see them in frontof the eyes.

    “I believe that a horse can be transformed by a double bridle, and that they do not tire so quickly. A horse who is leaning on the bit and fighting the rider is using valuable energy, and some of the more common types of horses which are allowed to go with their heads on the ground run out of steam very quickly.

    “Nowadays, double bridles are much lighter than the old-fashioned ones, and I do recommend stainless steel bits rather than nickel. Apart from the fact that nickel discolours and wears, there must be a different taste to it, because a horse will always accept a steel bit better than a nickel one.

    “Of course, there are plenty of people who complain that they can’t manage two reins. Well, all I can say to them is that it’s about darned time that they learned how to!”

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