How to Measure for a Bridle or Headstall

Posted by Mary's Tack & Feed on 21st Oct 2021

How to Measure for a Bridle or Headstall

The bridle is an important piece of tack since it facilitates one of the main methods of communication between a horse and a rider. There are several options from which to choose, but not matter what type of bridle you get, it's important to take detailed measurements in order to get the right fit. Learn more about how to measure bridle size and how each measurement relates to a part of the bridle.

Crown Piece

Red Barn Pace Snaffle Bridle

The crown piece is the main strap that goes horizontally across the top of the horse's head. It sits just behind the ears and is the strap that holds the rest of the bridle securely in place.

To measure for the crown piece, follow these steps:

  1. Position a flexible measuring tape at the base of one ear.
  2. Bring your measuring tape over the poll and over to the bottom of the opposite ear.

This will tell you how far apart the widest part of the crownpiece should be.  This will be helpful in determining how an anatomical or ergonomic fitting bridle will fit around your horses ears.


The browband is the strap that runs horizontally along the horse's head in front of the ears. It helps to keep the bridle from sliding back on the head.

To measure the right browband length, follow these steps:

  1. Position your measuring tape at the back outer edge of the horse's ear on one side.
  2. Bring the tape around the forehead below the ears and over to the back, outer edge of the ear on the opposite side.


Kavalkade Integrated Flash Noseband black

The noseband is a strap that runs around the lower part of the horse's face. It is used to help keep the horse's mouth closed while holding the bit in place.

Follow these steps to get a measurement for the noseband on your bridle:

  1. Locate the horse's cheekbones, then place the tape about two fingers below that spot.
  2. Wrap the measuring tape around the nose, keeping it loose enough to just get two fingers underneath the tape.

You can also get the overall length measurement by measuring the distance from the noseband line on the side of the head up to about eye level.

Throat Latch

The throat latch connects to the bridle at the horse's ear and runs under the throat just behind the jaw. This strap helps to prevent the bridle from slipping off the horse's head.

Measure the length of the throat latch using these steps:

  1. Place the measuring tape at the outer edge of the horse's ear.
  2. Bring the tape under the throat, keeping it loose enough to get four fingers under the tape.
  3. Note the measurement where the tape meets the outer edge of the opposite ear.

Bridle Fit Notes

Each piece of the bridle can be adjusted to get a better fit. However, you need the measurements listed above to make sure you start with a bridle that is properly sized for your horse.

Make sure that the bridle straps are snug without being too tight. If they are tightened too much, they can create irritation spots on the horse's head. If it's too loose, the bridle could potentially come off.

Keep these tips in mind as you measure for your horse's bridle, then shop for a high-quality bridle parts and accessories at Mary's Tack and Feed.