Fitting a Figure Eight Bridle

A little rusty with these Tack Tip Tuesdays, but I thought I would put a different spin on it since my video was a little rusty.  Thanks Pi… Anyways, down to business.


The Figure Eight bridle gets its name from the noseband. It starts up by the cheek, crosses up and over the nose then down around and in front of the bit. It can also be called a Grackle, Mexican or simply a Crossed noseband. These types of nosebands are used to help prevent the horse from crossing their jaw. The center of this noseband can either be leather lined, or a sheepskin or fleece padding depending on the style.


Like any piece of tack, it is only useful if it is fitted correctly. A properly fitted figure eight noseband will be center and allow ample room for the nostrils. The top part of the noseband should sit on the flat part of the cheekbone. The padding where the noseband crosses should be center on the horse’s face and at least a hand (4”) above the nostrils. This is important for the comfort and fit of the bridle, as the horse’s nasal bone narrows as it transitions down towards the nostrils and can’t not handle pressure.  The remaining straps should come down just in front of the bit, similar to a flash noseband.


I personally always use the two-finger rule when it comes to fitting any type of noseband. If a noseband is fitted too tightly, it can be considered abuse as it reflects pain to the horse, makes them unable to move their jaw, and can affect their breathing. With a Figure Eight noseband, you also don’t want it too loose as it will slip out from under the horse’s chin and flap around. Speaking from experience on that one. Thank goodness for good horses.


The rest of the bridle should be fitted to traditional standards. The throatlatch of four fingers, and the cheekpieces holding the bit zero – two wrinkles (which ever works best for your horse).


Thank you for taking your time to hang out with me on today’s Tack Tip Tuesday. If you have any recommendations for future topics. Please let me know!