What Size is a Cob Bridle? (CWD Bridle Size Chart)

What is a cob size bridle?

a gorgeous black horse with cob bridle

Just like horse blankets, and even their shoes, bridles come in different sizes.

All horses have different size heads and shapes.

If you’re looking for a new bridle for your horse, you will come across cob size, which isn’t obvious as to what it means.

So here will help will explain exactly what it is!

Don’t forget to check our guide: Best Bridles for Horses.

Bridle Size Chart

Bridle PartPonyCobFullOversize
Headpiece29 – 37 inches34 – 43 inches38 – 48 inches42 – 52 inches
Noseband21 – 24 inches22 – 26 inches23 – 28 inches24 – 29 inches
Browband15161718
Throat Lash33 – 41 inches36 – 44 inches39 – 49 inches42 to 52 inches

* Keep in mind different manufacturer vary their measurements for each size. This is just a general guide.

What Sizes Horse Bridles Come In

As standard, horse bridles come in three main sizes. These are pony, cob, and full size.

In addition to these sizes, some brands offer bridles in extra full (oversize), extra small (mini), and warmblood.

While there is usually a guideline bridle makers use for the measurements of their sizes, you will sometimes find some sizes run small or big.

This is just like shopping for human clothes. In one brand, you might wear a size 8, while in another brand you might wear a size 10.

Related: Horse Lunge Equipment and How to Use Them

What Is A Cob Bridle?

cob bridle

A cob bridle falls in the middle of a pony and full size.

Most horses will wear a cob size bridle, it is essentially equivalent to a medium.

The bridle size doesn’t necessarily correlate to the height of the horse.

A tall horse of 16.2 hands can have a small refined head. Breeds that might fit into this category include the Thoroughbred and Warmblood.

Often these horses wear a cob size bridle, even though they are tall.

On the other hand, a short horse of 15.2 hands, such as a Gypsy Vanner will have a broader, bigger head and wear a full-size bridle.

On average, the measurements of a cob bridle are as follows:

  • Headpiece 44 inches from the end of the throat lash to the tip of the throat lash buckle. 29 inches from the tip of each cheek piece strap. 
  • Browband 14 ½ inches but can run smaller at 13 ½ inches.
  • Cheek pieces 10 inches
  • Noseband 23 inches in circumference (the part that wraps around the nose. 32 inches for the piece that goes up the right side of the face and over the poll.

Specialized Bridle Sizes

Some breeds have facial features that require specialized bridles.

These are horses with short heads that fit a cob bridle lengthwise but have a wide forehead where the cob size browband is too tight.

For this horse, you will need a cob bridle with a full browband.

If you find your horse does not fit into a standard size, look for bridles designed for specific breeds.

Horses that often fall into this category are Quarter Horses and Morgans.

Also, very large, heavy breeds, such as the draft horses may need a bridle designed specifically for them if an oversize does not fit them.

Importance Of A Correctly Fitted Bridle

It is very important that your bridle fits your horse correctly.

If it does not, it can cause your horse pain by pinching or putting too much pressure on the facial nerves.

Luckily, bridles are adjustable in many aspects. But some parts, such as the crownpiece and browband are a fixed size.

Cob Size Bridle vs Full-Size Bridle

A cob English bridle is one size smaller than a full-size bridle. On average, each piece of the bridle is one inch longer on a full-size bridle.

For example, if a cob bridle has 10-inch cheek pieces, a full size will have 11-inch cheekpieces.

Keep in mind that some makes can run an inch or two smaller. For example, some cob bridles have 8 ½ inch cheekpieces.

Within each brand, the measurement will go up an inch or two for all sections of the bridle.

So if a pony bridle has 8-inch cheekpieces, a cob will have 9-inch cheeks, a full will have 10-inch cheeks, and an oversize will have 11-inch cheeks.

How to Measure For Your Horse’s Bridle

an equestrian fitting her horse the correct cob bridle size

When trying to figure out if you need a cob size bridle or another size, you can do it in two ways.

The easiest way is to ask someone if you can borrow their bridle to try on your horse.

Of course, if it is obvious that your horse does not have a pony size head (very small) or very large, don’t bother trying on these sizes.

Ideally, you will find a cob or full size to borrow.

If you try a full bridle on your horse, adjust it accordingly and find that is still too big in sections, it is safe to assume your horse needs a cob size.

If borrowing a bridle is not possible, you can measure your horse.

This method is more involved but will save you from buying the wrong size. First, get a piece of paper and note down the following words:

  • Crownpiece
  • Browband
  • Noseband
  • Throatlatch
  1. Using a soft, flexible measuring tape, such as the type used for sewing, start going through your list and taking your measurements.
  2. For the crownpiece, place one end of the measuring tape at the corner of your horse’s mouth.
  3. Wrap the tape up the side of your horse’s face, over the poll, and back down to the opposite mouth corner.
  4. For the browband, place the tape at the back edge of one ear. Then lay the tape across the forehead and stop at the back edge of the opposite ear.
  5. Next, move on to the noseband. To do this, lay the measuring tape one inch below the cheekbone and wrap it around the nose. 
  6. Finally, measure the throat lash area. Start with one side of the tape just behind your horse’s ear.
  7. Then bring the tape down and under his throat and up to the back of the opposite ear.

Adjust The Fit Of Your Bridle

an equestrian getting her horse the correct cob bridle size

Before putting a new bridle on your horse, estimate the holes the cheekpieces need to go on.

This way, you don’t accidentally put it on if it is way too tight or big.

To do this, put your bit on the bridle and hold it parallel to your horse’s head.

Try and place it so the bit falls close to where it would if it were in the mouth.

Make sure the crownpiece is level to the poll. Adjust the cheekpieces up or down a hole if you feel it necessary.

Once you are satisfied, put the bridle on the horse. When you have the bridle on, check the area at the corner of your horse’s mouth.

If you have a regular snaffle bit on the bridle, you should see one to two relaxed-looking wrinkles.

If you don’t see a wrinkle, it is too big, and you need to put the cheekpiece up a hole or two.

If you see more than two wrinkles, it is too tight, and you will need to move the cheekpiece down a hole.

For some bits, particularly a pelham or a kimberwick, the bridle is fitting correctly if there is one wrinkle at the corner of the mouth.

When you are satisfied with the bit height, check the browband. You need to see a gap of between half an inch to an inch from the browband to the ears.

The browband needs to lightly rest across the forehead. If there is a big gap it is too big.

Check that the browband is not pulling the crownpiece forward into the back of the ears. The final part of the bridle to fit is the noseband.

Different types of nosebands need to be fitted in certain ways. Here will talk about a standard cavesson, which most horses wear on a daily basis.

When the noseband is fastened, it should be even on both sides of the face. The correctly fitted noseband will sit one finger’s width below the cheekbone.

Next, make sure the noseband isn’t too tight.

There is a lot of debate about how tight is too tight, but the general rule is you should be able to fit a finger between the noseband and the horse’s jaw.

If you use a flash noseband, this also should fit a finger between it and the muzzle. Check our definitive guide on the purpose of a flash noseband for more info.

The last section to fit is the throat lash. This does not need to be tight. Place your hand vertically between the throat lash and the jaw.

The rule is that you should be able to fit four fingers in this gap, though some riders might prefer a three finger gap.

Check out this video for a quick recap:

Conclusion

Hopefully, you are now armed to find the best horse bridle for your horse. It is fairly straightforward if you know the basics.

When you are fitting your bridle and are still unsure, enlist a more experienced friend to double check the fit.

Cob bridles fit horses with smaller, more refined head shapes.

Keep in mind that a very tall horse with 16.2 hands with a refined head might need a full bridle.

Some brands run big, such a CWD. If in doubt get out the measuring tape.

References:

  • “Bridle Sizes & How to Measure for a Bridle | Dover Saddlery.” n.d. Www.doversaddlery.com. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.doversaddlery.com/how-to-measure-for-a-bridle/a/501/.
  • “How to Adjust a Snaffle Bridle | Dover Saddlery.” n.d. Www.doversaddlery.com. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.doversaddlery.com/how-to-adjust-a-snaffle-bridle/a/498/.
  • “Kieffer Snaffle Bridle Size Chart.” n.d. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.eaglewoodequestrian.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Kieffer-Snaffle-Bridle-Size-Chart.pdf.
  • “Sizing Guide for Bridle Measurements | Elevator Equestrian.” n.d. Www.elevatorequestrian.co.uk. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.elevatorequestrian.co.uk/sizing-guide.
close-up shot of a horse with cob bridle

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Siun L
Siun L

Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
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