We are about to get our first pony and I am unsure how to put on and fit a bridle.

Can you help? A friend has given me some advice on general care, but I would also be grateful if you can tell me a good source of basic information about keeping a pony?

A Wendy Findlay says: It is very exciting to when you first get a pony, but if you have not done many of the basics like putting on a saddle and bridle then the best thing would be to ask a knowledgeable horsey friend, or even better a qualified instructor to come and help you get started. They can show you what to do in a safe way and give you the little tips that come with experience.

Putting on a bridle is easy when you know how! It takes a bit of practice to do it smoothly so it is helpful to learn with pony that is quiet, opens its mouth willingly for the bit and doesn’t put his head too high.

Start with your pony with a halter on and safely tied. Take the halter off the pony’s head and fasten it around his neck. This will stop him wandering off while you put the bridle on. Then stand beside your pony’s neck facing forward with the bridle in your left hand. Put the reins up over the horse’s neck. Lift the bridle up over the pony’s nose with your right hand so that

the bit lines up below his mouth. Then, and this is part that can be tricky sometimes, use your left hand to put the bit in the pony’s mouth. You may need to stick your thumb into the corner of his mouth and wiggle it around to encourage him to open his mouth. Don’t worry there is a space between the front and back teeth so you won’t get bitten! Once the bit is in, lift

the bridle higher with your left hand and gently tuck the ears through the headpiece. The bit should sit at a comfortable height in the mouth, neither too low nor too high. It should just form a couple of wrinkles at the corner of the mouth.

All that remains is to fasten up the throat lash under his chin – not too tight, you should be able to get four fingers width in the gap – and do up the noseband. Take off the halter from round his neck and you are ready to go!

The British Horse Society is a source of useful information about caring for horses. Visit their website at: www.bhs.org.ukThe Pony Club is a voluntary organisation for young people interested in ponies and riding. Visit their website at: www.pcuk.org

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