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    Features

    • The features of a walking horse bridle are a wide browband, usually brightly colored, matched with a plain noseband, along with a curb chain and throatlatch. The size is usually on the larger side, as the walker is a big breed with a sizable head. It is important the noseband and throatlatch fit properly, so that no more than one finger can slide underneath either at any time.

    Identification

    • A walking horse bridle will also have a special bit. It is usually a simple snaffle-jointed bit with moderate shanks. Some riders will use long shanks, but the longer the shanks the more severe the bit. Since the horse holds its head naturally high as it walks, and the natural nod is supposed to occur in the neck as the horse walks, having too severe a bit can cause the horse to "rack" rather than "walk." The rack is a more elevated gait and, in competition, is not judged on the same standards as the running walk.

    Effects

    • A walking horse bridle has pros and cons. At best, they pleasantly show the horse's head, drawing attention to the eyes by use of color at the wide browband. They also provide effective control while not inhibiting the horse's natural movement. At worst, they can punish the horse's mouth mercilessly, and cause a restriction of the natural gait.

    Considerations

    • Before buying a bridle for your walking horse, consider getting a professional to evaluate your horse. Having a professional trainer try different bits and sizes of bridle on your walker can significantly improve the chances of a good fit. By having a specific type and size of bit and bridle, as well as color and shape of browband, to shop for, you can save yourself a lot of time and money in returns and in training issues.

    Misconceptions

    • A common misconception about walking horse bridles is that they have to have a severe bit. This is not the case. True walkers do not need a severe or "gag" bit. If the horse has been trained properly, he should do his job willingly and without fighting. A walker naturally will "nod," while a horse that is fighting the bit will show tension throughout the body and in the movement of the gait.

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