Buckle flash attachment
I've always been "taught" that these are evil. As in, they block nasal passages (not a flash per se, but the kind that you add on that have a buckle). True or not? Drop noseband not working out at all, but either does normal flash that comes built-in. Horse likes to open mouth. Apparently he likes to move his jaw, too and is very resistant to the drop...fitted by my very experienced and knowledgable coach. At first he was like "oh, something new" and has now said (screamed) "NO." So I was going to retry flash. I prefer the bridle I own that has regular noseband (sans flash). With the fatness of the noseband leather, I thought about the buckle kind, but don't want to kill the horse in the process. Well, I have moments I might want to, but in all seriousnes, I want the best solution.
I don't have any advise on the flash (except that many people abuse them severely and the horse's breathing is still not affected, so don't worry about that)
However, since you said you want "the best solution" you need to identify the problem. There is a reason your horse has a happy jaw :yes:
Poor bit choice for conformation
Poor hands (very common)
Pain (TMJ, an "EDO" or some chiropractors can help)
Other pain (hocks, ulcers, anything that would make work harder)
Habit caused by one of the above triggers
Best of luck!!
I'll add to flyracing's list
not enough forward
not responsive enough to the leg
Top of my list is:
How old is horse and when were teeth last done? Any overbite by chance? Overbite in front causes hooks preventing correct jaw rotation sliding in back.
One 5 yo started being off on resistant not good on contact 8 months post dental. Got tongue over bit with flash while lungeing. :-( Freaked me out. Got teeth done. Now in plain caveson not crank no flash. Wonderful on contact no open mouth. Happy owner!
One mare absolutely cannot tolerate a flash. Constantly blows nose. Over and over and over and over. Flings head around. Yanks reins violently right or left. Jumps in the air. Teeth done 2x this year. Remove flash and she is like a completely different horse! OK horsie we get the message! :-) Interestingly she goes in a happily in mullen egg butt. Hates french links.
Great list! My horse may have had all of the above at one point or another; at this point the final one.
Originally Posted by flyracing
What I've found is that since it was habit and not a bit problem or pain, etc., a relatively loose flash is enough to remind him to keep his mouth closed. Working harder and carrying himself from behind helps, too... but even that alone doesn't seem to do it.
I haven't heard of a flash being a problem when adjusted properly - but overtightening seems as if it could at least be extremely uncomfortable if nothing more. Ditto on the good luck!
Assuming that the horse's teeth are fine, that he isn't in pain elsewhere, that you're not causing it unknowingly with your riding and that it isn't something that training will fix - Basically if it's just a hard-set habit from poor riding/pain earlier in his career-another option to try may be a Figure 8. You don't see them much, but they're designed to allow the horse to breathe easily while keeping them from gaping, and can be adjusted pretty loosely. They're only legal through Second level, and not allowed at all in FEI Young Horse classes.
Make sure that there aren't any other problems first before turning to tack. Unless it's just that- A habit that he currently has no reason to continue- all it does is hide the symptoms rather than fixing the problem. I had a 20 yo TB gelding who'd been Evented up to Intermediate, and picked up the gaping with the jaw along the way. We checked him from head to tail, tried different bits, but to no avail- And it didn't matter who was riding him. He even did it for my Dressage trainer, who's trained horses up to and competed at Grand Prix. With him we ended up in a Figure-8, which worked better for us than a flash. The problem with the flash is that it's really, really easy to adjust it incorrectly- You see a ton of them sitting too low and too tight.
Had his teeth done by PJ Murphy in the early spring. Has his hocks done regularly (and coffin joints). Has chiro and a/p regularly. Has great feet.
He's very forward and very sensitive to the leg. Getting a lot of "good energy" comments on my tests. That's a huge improvement over years of "lacking energy" and it's due to working him from behind now more than the front of the horse.
Part of the problem is his conformation (he's a QH/Paint and built downhill, naturally) and he really does not easily take weight behind which is where the mouth opens...having said that, once he's worked into taking his weight behind, the mouthing stops. Part of the problem is it is now habit.
I realize there's the underlying issues to be concerned about, and I appreciate the advice. I have an extremely well-respected and knowledgable coach/trainer and I've learned one or two things myself over the years. But I need the assistance of something to help him understand that opening the mouth isn't necessarily the evasion I'm looking for (haha).