January 26, 2005
Longears Friendly Bridles
So how do you find a bridle that will fit those big long donkey and mule ears? That can be a challenge sometimes!
Here are several ways I have found to solve that problem.
There are bridles specially designed for longeared equines, that have a snap on one side of the crown piece. These are usually called "Be Kind To Ears" bridles, or some people refer to them as BKTE bridles. The only places I've found to get them are either mail order from a specialty tack supplier or custom made.
But suppose you just want to be able to find something locally. Here is a great solution I have found. First go to your local tack store and find a bridle headstall that fits your donkey or mule well. I usually have to look for headstalls with large throatlatches. The throatlatch on most horse bridles is a little too small for my donkeys, so I make sure to check that first. I also make sure the bridle has a large enough brow band that it will fit around my donkey's big forehead and ears.
I prefer brow band headstalls as opposed to one-eared headstalls with a loop around one ear. My donkeys' ears are bigger around than most horse ears, and I find that the brow band headstalls have more room to accommodate them.
Once I find a headstall that fits well, I get two large snaps of the style pictured below.
Then I attach the snaps on the end of the bit holders on either side of the headstall. Now I can easily snap and unsnap the bit off of the headstall.
With this arrangement I can unsnap the near side of the bit, then gently slide the bridle down over the donkey or mule's ears. Then I reach across and lift the bit into their mouth. Once they have the bit properly in their mouth, I clip the snap onto the bit on the near side. Next I can finish buckling the throatlatch and making any minor adjustments, and I'm all ready to go!
If I have a larger bridle and my donkey is used to bridles and used to me messing with his ears, I have found that I can get by without the extra bit snaps. I just lengthen the check straps to a looser hole, then put the bridle on like I would on a horse - gently guiding one ear at a time into its place. Then once the bridle is on, I tighten the check straps back up to the proper place.
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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at January 26, 2005 11:57 PM