Why poll sensitivity and bridle headpiece design matter

Posted on October 28, 2021 by Categories: Blog Tags: , , ,

The importance of a horse’s saddle fitting them perfectly has been known for many years, and most riders are careful to ensure the saddle fits the horse before they climb on board. But even though riders do check most elements of their bridle for correct fit, there is one part that is often neglected – the headpiece. In addition, the impact of poor bridle fit on the comfort of a horse and their ability to do their job can be dramatic. Here at Elevator, it was this specific issue and the tenacity of one woman which led to our first ever comfort bridle being created. It’s all about poll sensitivity and the anatomical headpiece.

The horse’s head is sensitive all over

As you would expect from an area of the body without much fleshy covering, there are a lot of nerve endings close to the skin on a horse’s head. Studies have shown that a poorly fitting bridle can impact performance by limiting flexibility and range of motion in all areas of the horse’s body, all the way from its nose to its hocks. That’s why all riders from a young age are taught about the importance of fitting nosebands and bits correctly, and making sure buckles and straps are sitting in the right place. But the headpiece of a bridle is just as important because the poll area is very sensitive. Pain originating from here can have a dramatic effect on a horse’s willingness to be ridden on the bit and some horses react strongly to excessive pressure on their poll.  

The impact of poll sensitivity

The most severe reactions to poor bridle fit are seen in horses experiencing excessive pressure on their poll. The poll is the area at the base of a horse’s skull, behind its ears. As we alluded to at the start of this blog, it was a sensitive warmblood mare called Elevator who inspired the first comfort bridle. She reacted so strongly to pressure from an ill-fitting bridle on her poll area that she refused to be ridden at all. Her loving owner (and founder of this company) worked to find out what the issue was and eventually created a bridle for the mare with an innovative padded headpiece.

The Elevator Performance Comfort Bridle today

That bridle was the first ever Elevator comfort bridle and it featured the same anatomical design we still use today. It’s helped countless horses be ridden in comfort, from high level eventers to family ponies and happy hackers. Our bridles are crafted from soft and supple English Sedgwick leather to ensure they last a lifetime. If you haven’t taken a closer look at them yet, why not head over to our online shop now: https://elevatorequestrian.co.uk/product-category/bridles/

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