The bridle allows the rider to control the horse’s head, and also the speed and direction of the horse. There are many different bridles and bits, which are designed to have different effects on the horse. The bridle is one of the most important parts of communication with the horse when it is being ridden, so try to ride your horse in the simplest bridle and bit possible. Change the bridle only to get more accurate control over a willing, well-trained horse, not as a means of controlling an unwilling one.
A simple snaffle bridle consists of one set of reins, a crownpiece and throatlatch, a browband, a noseband, two cheekpieces, and a bit. The separate pieces can be taken apart for cleaning, for attaching a different type of noseband or bit, or for substituting a piece that fits better. When the bridle is not on the horse, it should be hung from the crownpiece. It is best to use a broad circular or semi-circular support so that the leather is not bent too sharply. Do not store the bridle, or any tack for that matter, in a damp place because the leather can get moldy and deteriorate.
Bits fit over the tongue and rest on the bars of the mouth. There are hundreds of designs, all intended for specific situations. It is best to use the simplest bit you can. Usually, the thicker the mouthpiece, the gentler it is. The most common bit is the single-jointed snaffle; it acts on the bars, the corners of the mouth, and the tongue. Some types of bits include the Eggbutt snaffle, the Loose-ring snaffle, the Mullen-mouth snaffle, the Mullen-mouth Pelham, and the Kimberwick.