Fitting the Double Bridle
Rally 30th November 2019
Transitions lecture – 30th November 2019

Marj Radford

Double bridle – 2 bits

"The double bridle is like the dot on the letter i, it is to compete, refine and define the rein aids." – Uwe Spenlen

- The double bridle was first used in warfare on horseback, where the reins were carried in one hand with a weapon in the other. It gave the rider precise control of the horse while on the field of battle, often using very strong curb bits with very long shanks.
- In dressage the correct use of the double bridle helps the rider to achieve greater collection as more impulsion comes from behind. The double bridle is there to refine the rein aids and to aid with collection and self carriage.
- There are 7 pressure points on the head and all of them are affected by the double bridle:
* The tongue;
* Bars of the mouth;
* Lips;
* Palate (roof of the mouth);
* Curb grove (under the chin);
* Nose; and
* Poll.
- Double bridles can be worn medium upwards (it is now not compulsory)

Parts of the bridle:
- Snaffle is called the Bridoon
- Curb is called the Weymouth
- There are 2 sets of reins: a thicker or plaited rein for the bridoon and a thinner rein for the curb, which is the leverage bit. Fixed cheeks offer the best protection for the horse’s cheeks.
- Curb guards – prevents pinching and twisting od the chain
- The lip strap is a safety device

- The curb is usually a ¼ inch smaller than the normal snaffle size. This aids better comfort and fit.
- Both bits should be of the same metal, the noseband will sit a little higher than it would in the snaffle mouth.

1. Is it necessary to spend more money to buy the sweet iron bit/springer, etc?
a. No it isn’t. Some horses go better with a cheaper bit. It is very important to make sure the Weymouth shape fits the horse’s mouth structure. Try different bits to know what your horse likes best. Trailing a bit with bit bank can also be a good idea as you can have an idea what your horse likes.
2. If you decide to use the double for competing, how many times a week would you use it in training?
a. Depending on what your horse needs. I personally train in my snaffle and use the double the ride before the competition and that is it. I know in Europe, some riders use the double all the time. I personally would be cautious of this.