mastcomplete (77K)



These can be one-ear, split-ear, slot-ear, sliding-ear, half-breed, etc.

With this style headstall, the horse only has one ear through the headstall. These are convenient and easy to use. They show off a horse that is so well mannered and responsive that you do not need a throat latch or noseband to keep the headstall on the horse. Note: there may be a throat latch and a noseband on some one-ear headstalls.


Browband headstalls or bridles can have a straight brow, a scalloped brow, a "V" brow, a California-knot brow, etc.

Young and unpredictable horses are trained with a conventional browband headstall that has a throat latch. The throat latch is necessary because it is quite possible for an untrained horse to throw its head or slip off a one-ear type headstall, leaving the rider with little or no control of the horse. When you buy a headstall, you plan to make it into a bridle with a chin strap, bit, and reins.

Which style of these items you choose depends upon your experience, the training of the horse, and how you plan to ride the horse.


Reins have two basic styles, the roping rein, and the open or split rein.

The roping rein is one piece of leather or nylon with each end attached to the bit. You ride with your fingers or hand closed around it. It is used when you need to ride with one hand controlling the horse and the other hand free, to hold a quirt, lariat, etc.

Open or split reins are made from two strips of leather attached to the bit. These reins are normally held between the thumb and second finger, with your forefinger placed between them. The remainder of the rein should be allowed to hang down on the same side as the reigning hand. Variations of this style include tied loop, reins with slobber bit ends or clevis, or just straight reins of different widths, lengths, and material.


Chin straps come in two basic styles - all leather or nylon and with a chain in between two strap pieces of leather or nylon.

All leather or nylon chin straps are not severe because they lay flat against the underside of the horse's chin holding the bit in place.
A chain will help put more pressure on the horse's mouth, chin, and bit for control. A single chain chin strap will be the most severe. A double chain is less severe and a twisted link chain even less.