How tight is too tight for a noseband & BTV question
What do you consider over tightening? I have a older former Prix St. George Lusitano being brought back after hanging out being ridden infrequently by some hunter riders the last five years.
I am having a running disagreement with my trainer on these two points.
The cavesson. Yes, you can slip two fingers under the crank, but I think it's still too much pressure on his nose and he is an extremely sensitive horse. Because of the bone structure, there is a space between the nose and the jaw that I don't think a crank could ever be so tight that you couldn't slip a couple of fingers under.
He can be mouthy at times and he chomps on the bit when first bridled. I'm riding him in a plain snaffle. (I had extensive dental work done last month when I bought him.) He hasn't been asked to be through and on the bit for the past five years. However, I don't see how we can get a relaxed horse if there is tension on his nose. I'm told that once he is quiet and accepting of the bit again, the noseband can be loosened. I think it's a chicken or the egg. I think he'll be quiet and more compliant if he doesn't have his nose cranked on.
BTV. My trainer is convinced that for now, we need to ride him BTV to build his back. Everything I've read talks about opening the throat up so the hind can step under. The back builds as a result. Is this a modern versus classical issue?
Riding "BTV" (who on earth started that acronym?) may jack up his neck muscle but you may very well lose any collection/tracking up that would build up the rest of him. Not to mention, you may end up with a horse that will hyperflex himself whenever you shorten the reins... which is not what you want (been there).
Ride him on a loose rein and make him go forward, like really booking, so he tracks up underneath. You could also lunge in loose sidereins. No setting the head with them, just enough to keep him from throwing his head up and counterbending.
Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
Thank you for everything boy.
There is simply no reason to have a tight noseband. And if the horse is mouthy, then do some work in hand, get its attention, and it will focus and softly chew. As far as riding btv, why ride in a manner other than that which are not only suggested by the directive and rules, but also proven to correctly develop the mind and body.
When a horse is ridden btv the back is in steady pressure, but it is not changing how the hindleg fold which is what builds the entire topline from poll to tail by having the horse learn to connect to the bridle and be able to stay out to the bridle rather than have the bit imposed upon it.
Agree with other who say find another trainer. You are correct in your thoughts. Stick to your guns.
Your trainer is setting you up for problems. This breed is naturally mouthy. It's a good thing just needs to be utilized. They like bits and chew willingly. Give them room to chew and relax their jaws. They have sensitive mouths and are naturally soft on the bit (some also have weaker jaws and strong contact is too much for them, causing them soreness). Because of this they tend to duck behind the contact so btv is silly. It does NOT increase use of the back and can lead to hollowing the back behind the saddle (per Hilary Clayton, DMV Michigan State). When the horse ducks, they need to be pushed forward into soft contact (not driven hard, just asked to move off the leg).
I've learned that with this breed you build up the contact over time while strengthening them. I also think that pushing them into the bit too soon can force them over tempo. Lots of transitions, change of bend, getting them to relax and reach for the bit, then asking for more forward is a good route.
If you can truly fit two fingers under the noseband it shouldn't be too tight. Maybe something else is bothering him with the bridle. As far as BTV I too, don't see the reasoning. Ducking BTV is hard to correct once it takes hold.