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Work Bridle Styles

Work Bridle Styles

Here are fourteen work bridle styles taken from a 1920’s era harness catalog. Regional variants came with different names and configurations, so much so that we have elected to identify these images by letter instead of name so you may reference these pictures directly when ordering harness or talking about repairs or fit concerns with trainers or harness makers. (B, E, H, I, J, K, L, M) In one region some were know as pigeon wing and others referred to them as batwing or mule bridles, this referencing the tell-tale triangular shape of the blinder or blinker.  The standard rounded blinder was almost always formed with two pieces of leather sewn around a cupped piece of metal. The pigeon wing blinders might have metal cores or not. All of these bridles, including the open bridle (no blinders), feature check reins. G, H, I J, and K all feature gag rein loops affecting the angle which is applied to the bit by the check or gag rein. H, in patent leather, is a showy or show-style bridle. L is a US army style bridle.

When considering older used bridles it is important to disassemble every buckle to determine if there are cracks or is excessive wear pointing to weakness. Most critically in need of inspection are the throat latch buckles, and the bit straps. If either of these should break you will effectively lose control of the horse or mule.