Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Bridle, the instrument by which a horse is restrained, stopped, or guided. The use of bridles and bits may be traced as far back as the days of ancient Egypt and Assyria, and mention of a bridle bit is found in Xenophon. The ordinary bridle consists of a headstall and a snaffle-bit. The headstall is composed of a strap, which passes behind the ears, a front, which passes in front of the ears, a nose-band, a throat-band, and cheek-pieces. The bit is the most important part of a bridle. The different varieties of bits are almost numberless, but most of them are constructed either on the principle of the snaffle or on that of the curb, or a combination of the two. The snaffle-bit consists of two bars jointed together in the middle, and is prevented from being pulled through the mouth by two perpendicular bars attached at each end and by a pair of rings. It is connected with the reins and head-stall by means of two more rings fastened at each end. The curb-bit consists of two cheek-pieces and a mouth-piece, with a curve in the centre known as the port, and a chain which is attached to the cheek-piece, so that when the curb reins are pulled the chain presses on the animal's chin, and draws down its lower jaw. The bearing-rein used in driving is a rein attached to the bit; its object is to divide the weight on the driver's hands. It is very frequently abused, and converted into an instrument of torture. Other forms of bridles and bits are the Weymouth, the Pelham, the Dwyer, the Chifney, etc. Blinkers, which form a part of the driving-bridle, are pieces of leather attached to the cheek-pieces of the head-stall to prevent the horse being easily startled by anything at the side or behind him.