Some common terms used in Bridle and Harness making.

Australian Nut

A dark reddish colour leather 


A process where a leather loop has a metal or wooden stick of the appropriate width pushed through it and then hammered square, before re-creasing.


The part of the bridle that runs from the headpiece across the horse's forehead. It is designed to stop the bridle slipping too far back.


A means by which a strap can be connected to another strap. They can be single or double buckles (Half or Whole buckles) and made of stainless steel, brass, or nickle.

Caveson Noseband

A caveson noseband has a single piece of leather that runs all of the way around the horse's nose and buckles up under the jaw.

Crank or Continental Noseband

A noseband that has a separate strap under the jaw that does up on to itself.


Makes the nice lines running down the edge of the leather. usually carried out hot.


The part of a bridle that connects the headpiece to the bit. Can be flat or rolled leather.

Dark Havana

A dark brown leather.


Cutting the corner cut off from along the top and bottom edge of a leather strap. All except where two pieces are going to be stitched together. Edges can be made with a number 1 edge for the finest bridles and dog collars, a number 2 edge when you want a smoother finish, maybe on a dog lead, and a number 6 edge on the back of a buckle return making the buckle sit neater.

Endless Plait

A plait made by cutting strips along the length of the leather and plaiting them without cutting across the ends.

Fixed Loop

A small leather loop stitched into a straps buckle return to keep the joining strap tidy and in the buckle. Only used on single buckles.

Flesh side

The flesh side of the leather is the side that was the inside of the cow's skin. Similar to suede


A name used to describe the buckles and other items fitted to bridles and harness. Either Yellow furniture for brass fittings, or white furniture for stainless steel and nickle fittings.

Grain side

The grain side of a piece of leather is the outer part with the nice finish to it. It is the side that the hair grew on when it was on the cow.


The part of a horse bridle that goes over the top of the horses head. A headpiece connects to the cheekpieces and may incorporate the throatlatch.


A thin backing piece stitched to the main bridle leather.

Lip Strap

Part of a flash noseband. The lip strap is connected to the noseband at the front and does up under the bit around the horse's mouth.


The part of a horse bridle that goes around the horses nose.


A soft leather backing with  a neoprene filler making for a soft and comfortable fit for the horse. Commonly used on nosebands, headcollars, and headpieces. 

Patent Leather

A very shiny leather. Commonly used on harness and some dressage bridles.


Leather can be raised by placing another piece of leather between two other pieces before stitching them together. Commonly seen on Bridle nosebands between the front and the backing or padding..

Running Loop

A small loop that can move up and down a strap to keep the end of another strap buckled to it neat and tidy.


A sliphead is used on a double bridle to attach the second bit. It consists of one cheekpiece and a longer cheekpiece that passes up over the horses head and connects to the other cheekpiece. Sometimes a sliphead is used on its own instead of the two separate cheekpieces, usually with a padded poll headpiece.


The process where a cut strap has its edges stained and sealed.


Describes how many stitches are made in one inch. usually 10 or 12 stitches to the inch on a riding bridle, 8 or 10 on a head collar or harness, and perhaps 6 stitches to the inch on a heavy horse harness.


The process of joining two pieces of leather together by a thread. Single-hand stitching uses one needle attached to the thread, double-hand stitching uses two needles attached to either end of the thread. Hand stitching is very strong but takes much longer to do than machine stitching. All of my items are hand stitched. Single-hand stitching is used when the back is not visible as it is not as neat and tidy as double-hand stitching which is used on the best quality bridles, collars, and leads.


Swelled leather has the edges taken off, from the flesh side, almost across the entire width, leaving the centre the full thickness. Once it is stitched to the backing or padding the outer grain side has a nice raised look to it.


Used to stitch two or more pieces of leather together. Thread comes in various sizes. The thinnest I use is 3/18 linen thread, which is used on bridles stitched 10 and 12 to the inch. We then have 4/18 linen thread which I use on headcollars, and dog collars and leads. After that they get much thicker, up to the largest that I use which is 6/18 used on heavy horse harness. Thread comes in a variety of colours, I commonly use black, brown, yellow and white.

Throatlatch or Throatlash

Runs from the headpiece under the horse's throat. A throatlatch can either be part of the headpiece and buckle up on one side only, or a separate strap that buckles to the headpiece on both sides.

Oakside Saddlery,



United Kingdom