Have you ever seen a bridle like this? Probably not. There are no shanks and no port but it is not a snaffle. It is not a hackamore even though it does not have a mouthpiece and the headstall for this kind of is unnecessary. But how is this kind of bridle?
It is a piece of rope with a small metal ring on each end which attaches to reins, and a braided rawhide slide creates a loop in the rope. It’s a modified Native American war bridle and it is unusual these days to see a horse ridden with no headstall. A modern war bridle is a thin cord run over the poll and then either through the mouth or under the upper lip, against the gumline of the upper incisors. In some cases, the lower loop goes around the horse’s muzzle rather than under the lip. A loop is used so that it tightens on the horse’s head when the end of the line is pulled. Sometimes a pulley is used to provide mechanical advantage. All designs tighten on both the poll and the lip or jaw. The war bridle is not intended for riding; it is used on the ground for management of an animal. The use of a war bridle is considered by some to be the last resort for handling an uncontrollable animal, but others claim its use constitutes animal cruelty. As with any bit, the war bridle can be a severe instrument when utilized incorrectly. It puts the rider in very direct contact with the horse’s mouth and allows for only limited left and right motion.
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