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HorseLuva15 06-02-2008 11:10 PM

What does "horse on the bridal" mean?

I had my lesson earlier today - silly question, I have been riding for like 3 years and everything and I always have heard the term "horse on the bridal". I never really thought to ask what it means, but today my instructor said that my horse looked wonderful and he was on the bridal. I am assuming it is a good thing? thanks!

JustDressageIt 06-02-2008 11:13 PM

A horse that's on the bridle is a horse that is in a proper frame; hind end engaged, supple through the back, neck is rounded, and the horse's head is on the vertical.
(the horse's head is perpendicular to the ground, he is on the vertical, and supple and rounded on the bridle)

Jubilee Rose 06-02-2008 11:15 PM

That is a great pic, but don't expect your horse to look like that unless you do high level dressage. That's like a "superframe." :wink:

JustDressageIt 06-02-2008 11:23 PM


Originally Posted by Jubilee Rose
That is a great pic, but don't expect your horse to look like that unless you do a lot of dressage. That's like "superframe." :wink:

Sorry yes very true. In a younger horse or a horse that's not doing level 2 or higher in Dressage, I prefer to see a "long and low" headset, like this: - ignore the rider haha - this horse is a little more elevated, but you get the idea.[/img]

Jubilee Rose 06-02-2008 11:30 PM

Not trying to be picky, but in that first pic, the horse seems to be hanging his head too low ...

amightytarzan5 06-02-2008 11:36 PM

I agree Jubilee. The horse's poll is below its withers. That's not how it's supposed to be.

PoptartShop 06-03-2008 12:45 AM

13 Attachment(s)
Yeah, I agree with everyone. :D That horse does look like his head's a bit low!

HorseLuva15 06-03-2008 10:55 AM

thanks guys! So, I guess I was on the bridal, but didn't eve try to be...any suggestions on how to get there on command? :D

amightytarzan5 06-03-2008 01:15 PM

There's not really a command for it. Not a command like when you say trot, the horse trots. There's no, "Come on Buddy, get on the bridle!" I'm not sure exactly what you can do though. My friend used to ride with her reins at her knees every now and then to get her horse's head nice, low, and on the bit.

JustDressageIt 06-03-2008 01:54 PM

Okay, that first horse was low in the poll, but he was working through his back and was ON THE VERTICAL which was what I was trying to get at.

I have to say no no no to riders dropping their hands to get the horses on the bit; always keep your position correct and make the horse come to you. Also, in response to the "there's no command for it" - yes there is. You keep the horse between your legs and ask for them to give to your hands.. I'll explain more below.

Here is a post I wrote back in Feb illustrating how to get a horse on the bit:


I'll try and explain it in very very simple terms:
You need the horse to be supple through the body before you even think about getting the head in the right place. You can do this by working on bending through circles, and making sure the horse is moving through the hindquarter. To ask for a headset, you keep the inside rein steady and check and give (like squeezing water out of a sponge) with the outside rein until the horse responds by giving through the jaw and putting its head closer to being in a headset, i.e. lowering the poll. When he flexes, stop bugging him with your hands, and keep them steady. As soon as he raises his head or moves it out of the headset, you want to correct it by asking with the outside rein.
Ideally, I want to see a horse with a long and low headset when first learning, then you can bring the neck up and tucked when you further your dressage training. I like to see the neck flexed and the poll around the height of the wither with the head flexed so the nose is on the vertical..It looks more equitation-horse/ hunt-seat horse but this allows your horse's back to strengthen enough to ask for the "swan neck" in dressage, if you're going that far.

Picture examples:

Horse not in headset:

Horses nicely flexed in equitation-style/hunt-seat style headset:

Nice dressage Headset:

Horse Behind the Vertical:

Horse in front of the Vertical:
There is another way of getting your horse in a frame, and it's a little more straightforward:
You keep your outside rein with contact, then take your inside rein and draw your elbow straight back to your hip, and keep dirivng the horse forward in the gait you're trying to accomplish this in. They may fight and toss their heads around, but with your rein at your hip, the horse will reward itself when it goes into a frame.
Note that both reins should be of equal length.

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