I had an interesting xc go on Toby yesterday. It was equal parts hair raising and brilliant. He jumped through all the combinations like a total rock star, but was a bit of a freight train between fences. I am not ruling out that it could have a great deal to do with "HELL YEAH!!! CROSS COUNTRY!!!!" since he hasn't been on course since early June. However, he's on probation. I may run our next event in the same set up to see how he is (figure eight and full cheek happy mouth snaffle). This will be discussed with trusted advisers over the next two weeks. But I'm also starting to consider some options in case this is going to be his "thing." I rather not repeat it.
Here's the thing. He's quite sensitive, hence the happy mouth. He is easy to cause an over reaction on, even in this. And while he can be strong, he is also quite polite when it counts (ie, he jumped into all the combos and stayed soft and rideable and doesn't cross his jaw or make stupid moves- usually...there was that last fence- in front of the fences). I am loath to bit him up because he is so sensitive...usually. I also am a little hesitant about bitting him up because he doesn't need more bit in show jumping, and I rather not have to do a presto-chango tack change in the quick change overs at our local one days.
Which leads me to a "lever" noseband (although, I've always called it a combination noseband...go figure). Here it is, in case anyone is unsure- http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...0&l=b96aaa94dd I have one in my spare parts box, and I'm thinking of giving it a go. Interested to see what others experience with them has been.
When I competed my horse, he was the type that would frequently run through my aids and could be described as part freight train. Changing him to a lever noseband was like our lightbulb moment. Because he couldn't cross his jaw, my half halts and pulley reins became much effective. You could almost see him think "Crap! Yes, ma'am." I think they're a great solution for those strong, gun-ho horses that need that little "extra" reminder to listen.
I also see Toby's awesome-ness photo. (and I agree that he looks pretty awesome! I'd love to see the picture of the noseband you are discussing, because it sounds like possibly just what I need with Phoenix!
Ha! Sorry! I didn't even notice the link didn't copy and paste right. I'll turn the laptop on and fix that (he's pretty awesome, though, and I never mind showing him off! Part of the issue may have been he's REALLY fit!).
And, yes, Bobby is a very handsome boy, as his brother Ricky.
It was awesome for my jaw-crosser. So awesome, in fact, that we were able to back away from some pretty big mouthfuls of metal down to a french link with the lever noseband ... for a while, at least. I show-jumped him in it, with the french-link, through advanced and loved the feel it gave me. He seemed happy in it, too.
My understanding is that the metal half-moons act sort of like lateral braces. It has leather buckles under the jaw under both the top and bottom ends of the metal arch, and you keep those fairly tight. Between the metal along the sides of the horse's mouth and the snug fit, it helps prevent them from crossing the jaw and grabbing the bit.
For a horse who uses the crossed jaw as its main evasion, it can be very effective and allow you to use a fairly mild bit in combination with it.
Please could you explain the nuances of when to use the kenton and when to choose the lever?
NeverTime's explanation above of how a lever works seems like a good one. The kineton applies pressure on the nose when the horse pulls against you (my understanding). So, I guess if you had a horse that was just a plain old PULLER you might try the kineton, while a horse that crosses its jaw or hangs one way might be better in a lever. I was told today that the lever seems far more effective, for whatever that's worth.
I think trying it is the right answer. From all the descriptions of how it works, it sounded like the perfect solution for Ben. Keep a mild french-link, and go to something that would reduce his bracing -- basically, my hands weren't good enough to have "more" bit, and it was believed by several professionals that this noseband was the answer.
He freakin' hated it. It was AWFUL. He went from being a strong, freight train to being a strong, freight train who also flipped his head and threw a fit.
We lent it to a young rider about 6 months later, and even though it has never been returned, I've been ok with that!
What worked for Ben was a figure 8 with a boucher french link -- go figure -- but if you have a lever noseband already, I'd give it a try and see what you get!
Sensitive horses are an endless puzzle! Mine is retired now, and I miss riding his sore footed, sensitive, think skinned, allergy prone self every darn day!
For a similar issue, I went to a figure 8 noseband with a center revolver loose ring with hooks. It has worked well, but I do keep the noseband tight. My guy also was too sensitive with a gag or pelham and would get backed off or curl.
I'll be anxious to hear how the lever works, as I've always wondered if that would be a solution for us?
Last edited by Rainier; Sep. 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM.