Fitting a bridle correctly to a race horse is very important for jockeys as they saddle up for a big race.
After all, if the bridle didn’t exist then neither would horse racing as we know it. So what exactly is a bridle? And what does ‘on the bridle’ mean?
WHAT IS A BRIDLE?
Race horses are some of the most powerful animals on the planet and being able to control them when racing is an art all jockeys must learn. Part of controlling a race horse comes from the relationship between man and beast—and a lot of that rests in the bridle.
The bridle is headgear that the race horse wears in order for the jockey to better control it. There is a bit that runs between the horse’s teeth attached to head straps, while reins come back down the neck and into the hands of the jockey.
If a race horse didn’t have a bridle then the jockey would have nothing to hold on to—and would likely fly off the back of the horse as soon as it began running!
WHAT DOES ON THE BRIDLE MEAN?
The term On the Bridle is therefore used when a horse has accepted the bit between its teeth, and the reins coming back to the jockey. Horses sometimes don’t take to the bridle and can grow frustrated—an occurrence many horse racing betting fans may see in the parade ring before races.
When this happens, the jockey will aim to clam the horse down and familiarise it with the bridle. In most circumstances the horse will settle and be ready to race.
Likewise, Off the Bridle is a phrase used when the horse isn’t traveling well.
If a horse wins ‘on the bridle’ it generally means it has cruised to victory and not had to be ridden hard.
WHY DO HORSES HAVE A BIT?
A bit is a vitally important component of horse racing. It runs between the two sets of teeth in the horse’s mouth and is used to clamp the bridle in place. The bit is a far more effective way of keeping the bridle steady than, for example, a nose cone or additional strapping around the head.
The bit and bridle can also reinforce the pressure a jockey will use when steering a horse, as it is attached to the reins. This means the jockey can more safely control the horse, which is beneficial to both rider and animal.
DOES THE BRIDLE AFFECT RACING ODDS?
You may think a horse struggling to be comfortable on the bridle could affect its horse racing betting odds—but in reality the prices are more likely determined by other factors. By the time a horse has reached the parade ring, racing betting bookmakers will have priced it up depending on things like form, age, gender, jockey, trainer and the going.
Granted, some punters may sway away from a horse if they see it fighting back against the bridle or the bit. Yet part of the jockey’s job is to ensure the horse is comfortable before heading out onto the racecourse and so won’t rush to get racing if there are bridle issues.
- What is a Black type horse race?
- What are the different types of going in horse racing?
- What is a bumper horse race?
- What are blinkers and why do some horses wear them?
- What is an Allowance Race in horse racing?
- What is the difference between hurdles and fences in National Hunt racing?
- What is the Rule 4 betting rule in horse racing?
- What is a halter and why do some horses wear them?
- What does it mean when a horse has spread a plate?
- What is the difference between graded, handicap and selling horse races?
- What does a novice hurdle in horse racing mean?
- What is a listed horse race?
- What does a novice chase in horse racing mean?
- Why do race horses have different ratings and what do they mean?
- When does the National Hunt season start and when does it end?
- Why are there different grades of horse race?
- Why are there 3 different types of National Hunt race?
- Why are race horses given different weights and what does it mean?
- How many different classes of horse race are there?
- What is a claiming race and what do they mean?
- What is an optional claimer in horse racing?
- What is a shadow roll and why do some race horses wear them?
- Why do some races start from stalls and some not?
- What is the difference between Derby and Oaks races?
- What does it mean when a horse knuckles during a horse race?
- What is a stayer in horse racing?
- What is a yearling horse and when are they ready to race?
- What does it mean if a horse has won a point race?
- What does a maiden mean in horse racing?
- How are horses’ ages calculated and why is it not the same as humans?
- What advantages do apprentice jockeys get when riding against professionals?
- What is a conditional jockey?
- What does the term ‘connections’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear cheekpieces?
- Who are the stewards in horse racing?
- What does ‘weighed in’ mean at the end of a horse race?
- What is a nursery race?
- Why are some National Hunt races run without fences?
- Why are some horses given a tongue tie during races?