Sometimes, there are several ways to get something done, and more than one of them would work. But when it comes to how to put a bridle on a horse, there’s actually only one PROPER way to do it.

Note: This will be much easier if your horse is already good at lowering his head. I have several how-to videos on this subject on the Buckaroo Crew.

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How To Put A Bridle On A Horse | Preparation

You can use a soft lead rope for this, and even put some jelly on the lead rope for an extra incentive. Start by rubbing around the mouth with the lead rope. If the horse raises his head, just go with him and hang in there. If he’s been taught to lower his head already, you can get it back down pretty easily.

Put a finger/thumb in the corner of his mouth to encourage his jaw to break loose and the mouth to open.Then lay the lead rope in the crease of his lips while using finger/thumb again until he opens his mouth. Lift the soft rope into his mouth in the position where the bit will lie. Hold it a few seconds and then let it fall out. Repeat this until he seems comfortable with it.

Now It’s Time To Put The Bridle On The Horse

Put the reins over his neck and your left hand on the crownpiece (the top of the bridle). Don’t try to put the bit in his mouth, but lift the bridle up until the crownpiece is near his ears, his nose is through the bridle opening, and the bit is BEHIND his jaw (under his chin). You can use your right hand to keep the bridle open while you’re doing this. Then drape your right arm over his poll between his ears and take the crownpiece in your right hand, leaving your left hand free.

Your Right Hand Has Become Your ‘Working’ Hand

And subsequently, your left hand is the ‘guide’ hand as you put the bridle on the horse. Use your left hand to spread the bit and your pinky finger to open the curb strap. Lower the bridle, use your thumb to encourage his mouth to open, and GENTLY float the bit into his mouth BY raising your right (working) hand so that the bit simply floats into his mouth.

NEVER force the bit into his mouth or let it bang on his teeth. Finish by pulling the crown piece over his ears and buckling the throatlatch.


When it’s time to unbridle, you can teach the horse to be patient by moving the crownpiece back and forth some before you actually lift it off his ears. Keep the entire weight of the bit suspended by your holding the crownpiece as you continue to unbridle the horse.

Never let the bit ‘fall’ out of his mouth. Allow it to float out of his mouth by lowering your right hand that is holding the crownpiece. A horse that is bridled properly will never have a reason to fight against it.

And that’s the best and most accurate way to put a bridle on a horse.


Sometimes it’s hard to know what type of head gear you should be using on your horse. There’s snaffles, hackamores, various shank bits, and the list goes on and on. Because of the complexity of the matter, I made a video breaking it all down and show you what you should be using, when you should be using it, and why.

Go here to get the video: Snaffles, Hackamores, And Bits

Carson James
Carson James

Carson James' background is in Vaquero Horsemanship, and for the majority of his career, he worked on cattle ranches where he rode horses all day, every day. His knowledge comes from real life experience using traditional Buckaroo horsemanship to train horses and fix problems. He is now taking all of this knowledge and experience and sharing it with horse owners through his blog, his Insider list, and his Buckaroo Crew. He has a unique way of breaking things down where they're easy to understand, both for the horse and the human.