Double/Full Bridle in Hunter Classes – Judge’s Answer

Recently a viewer posted a question regarding using full bridles on Morgan hunters.  I posed this question to my “Judges Panel” and have so far received this answer.  I will update this post when I get other responses:

Question:

Back when I was little & in walk-trot, a bridle was a bridle. But now I am starting to notice more things. Lately I have noticed that 90% of the hunters use a double/full bridle. I always thought they were for saddle seat or high levels of dressage! I guess not. I do think that it would give you more control of the head.

I have been using a pelham in hunt seat equitation. But as a judge, which do you prefer? Do you think a full bridle is too much? I have no clue.
Judge’s Answer:

In the hunter pleasure division any bit or bridle that is legal is fine.  Several years ago there was a big controversy over kimberwicks.  Some judges said that they would not use a horse wearing one and that they were inappropriate.  Well………..the rule book says they are legal so we have no recourse but to allow them.  As judges, we are not to legislate, only to follow the rules.  As a judge I feel that I have no right to say what bit or bridle a horse should wear.  The owner or the trainer knows which bit/bridle arrangement works best for their particular mount.  Even though I may not prefer it I can’t penalize it either, with the exception of a severe bit used on perhaps a ladies or junior exhibitor mount.  It follows also that full bridles are perfectly acceptable.  In fact they are fairly traditional in the hunter world.  They probably started there long before saddle seat was even around. 

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