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  • Sandy Stetson

Do You Know the Difference Between a Bridle and a Halter?

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

If you have ever been around horses in the past, you have likely seen that they have a lot of gear. Between shoes, saddles, reins and more, there is a lot of equipment (also known as tack in the horse world) to keep track of—and one of the biggest causes for confusion? We find that it tends to be the difference between a halter and a bridle.

At first glance, halter and bridles look quite similar, as they are both worn on a horse’s head. However, that is almost where their similarities end. Today, we will take you through the difference between the two so you can add to your equine equipment education!

What Is a Horse Halter?

A horse halter is worn over the horse’s head and is used to guide the horse in certain situations. The halter has a strap that goes behind the ears, a strap that goes under the jaw and a strap that circles around the snout. Halters are used for leading and tying up horses by using pressure signals over their nose to direct them.

The biggest difference between a halter and a bridle is that the halter does not have a bit (which goes in a horse’s mouth) and is attached to a single lead rope as opposed to two reins. The halter is also called a “head collar” in some parts of the world, which is a helpful analogy as it is most similar to a collar for a dog.

What Is a Horse Bridle?

A horse bridle is the headpiece that is used when someone actually rides a horse. A bridle has a strap that goes behind the ears, under the jaw and around the snout, but the snout strap will also have a bit that sits in the horse’s mouth and is connected to two reins.

The reins and bit are how a rider communicates with the horse—when pressure is applied to the bit, the horse will be trained to perform a specified action.

Bridles are only used for riding and should never be used to secure a horse. If there is an emergency scenario, the horse’s jerking could pull on the bit and do damage to its mouth if it is tethered via its reins.

If you'd like to learn more about horses in person, we'd love to have you visit us at Sombrero Stables! Check out our website today for more info or to book your visit.

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