Bridle fit and the neck

Want freedom of movement?  Give your horse the freedom of his neck and head! 

The horses’ neck is highly innervated with locomotory nerves; contains the oesophagus, windpipe and spinal cord, as well as superficial and deep muscles, fascia and ligaments; the neck is his balancer and he will rescue himself in any way he can in order to maintain that balance, loading limbs unevenly. 

This horse (pictured above) will be under stress physiologically and mentally; experiencing neck and poll pain, his stride/ forward motion and overall freedom of movement hindered with the potential for limb, pelvis and back issues etc., and here is why:

Behind the vertical, over-flexed and under strain:

Poll tension; sensitive bursa – little fluid filled sacs – are found between the nuchal ligament and the first two cervical vertebrae and they prevent the ligament from rubbing on the vertebrae and getting damaged.   Due to their sensitivity, they cannot withstand a lot of pressure and therefore, a tightly buckled or poorly fitted bridle will cause the bursa to swell due to fluid increase

Pressure on nuchal ligament all the way to the withers

Compression on the lower cervical vertebrae

Reduced airflow due to very tight flash and position of head

Grooves in sinus cavities due to tight flash

Nasal cartilage damage tight noseband / poorly positioned noseband

Nerve pain and discomfort due to tight flash – inability to move jaw therefore creating jaw tension which travels all the way up to the poll, to the neck, to the shoulders and so on and so forth

Saliva glands under stress (can create bleeding and contusions in the saliva glands)

Lower jaw, TMJ and hyoid tension and one of the key nerves exits here, close to the horses mouth; extra care should be taken if using, for example, a chain on a Pelham bit, and not have the chain too tight

Line of vision is compromised

Flexing at the wrong vertebraemisaligned between axis and 3rd vertebrae causing inflammation and over time possible arthritis

Fixed neckburning muscles contracted muscles tight [and hindered] shoulder movement, hindered forward motion and hindered engagement; repetitive strain.

“Tension is counterproductive to effective balance and the harmony of free movement.”

2 thoughts on “Bridle fit and the neck

    1. Thank you Diana! My apoloIgies for the delay in responding; your message came through to a different location and I’ve only just picked it up!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s