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Photo's Added: Flash rubbing because head too short! Post 19

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  • Photo's Added: Flash rubbing because head too short! Post 19

    I tried a flash on my horse for the first time on Friday. Ever since I got him he, throughout the ride slightly opens and closes his mouth. It hasn't gotten any better or worse so decided to give a flash a try.

    While riding, I liked it because the contact was slightly steadier. He showed no signs of discomfort, but when I took the bridle off; it had rubbed both the outside of the lip and caused a cut on the inside.

    My instructor and I took a look at it today to make sure I had it on correctly (i.e. not too tight or loose). It was on correctly, but what happened was the back part of his head is shallow/short causing the flash to be in a slight V shape versus a loop.

    Anyone run into this before and find a solution?
    Last edited by sheltoneb; Jan. 24, 2012, 10:47 PM. Reason: Photo's Added

  • #2
    Is your noseband high enough? Have you oiled it thouroughly prior using it? Where is the buckle and keepers? You sure it is tight enough?

    The only times I had (or seen) problems with flashs was when they were not ajusted properly.

    I don't understand the 'loop' vs 'Vshape'. Do you have a picture?
    ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

    Originally posted by LauraKY
    I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
    HORSING mobile training app


    • Original Poster

      The attachment is clean. I don't have any pictures with a flash on but below is a picture of his head with the bridle I used. The loop vs. the v shape is trying to convey that where the flash rest in the back of the head is higher than where the bit sits, causing the flash to pull up on the bit vs. just sitting below it. Hopefully that is clearer.



      • #4
        It's difficult to understand from the photo and your description, but this should be relatively easy to sort out just by adjusting the noseband and bit placement correctly. I'm not convinced the bridle in the photo is properly adjusted but the angle makes it difficult to say for certain. Out of curiosity, did you try adjusting the bit before moving to a flash?
        Proud COTH lurker since 2001.


        • #5
          This might not help at all, but just to throw it out there: A clinician I've worked with said that this kind of open mouthed chewing is a sign of "not submitting" to the rider and fighting contact.
          As I said, this might not be helpful at all - simply food for thought.


          • #6
            Your horse's head does not look too short to me.

            Something that you are using does not fit, but it's not the flash per se.

            For reference, this shows my horse the supermodel wearing a brand new bridle.

            Last edited by TheHorseProblem; Jan. 22, 2012, 07:47 PM. Reason: Better photo
            2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

            A helmet saved my life.


            • #7
              From that picture, it looks like the bit and the noseband are too low.
              The noseband should be closer to the cheekbones and the cheek straps should be straight and not be hanging further back like that.

              It should be like that : http://www.equi1.com/341-thickbox/hkm-flash-bridle.jpg

              And not like that : http://johnwhitaker.com/images/products/j/jw8ef-lg.jpg

              Make sure the noseband is tight enough so it is not pulled down by the flash, as it could make the whole thing move and the cause for the rubs.

              Your bridle is pretty but tiny and does not have a loop for a flash attachment. Maybe it just isn't meant to have one on.
              ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

              Originally posted by LauraKY
              I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
              HORSING mobile training app


              • #8
                I "think" I know what you mean. From that picture, although it's hard to tell with the angle, it looks like his lower jaw is shorter than his upper, and that is putting the corner of his mouth even with, instead of behind, where the flash would lay on his bottom jaw.

                Did you stick a flash attachment on this bridle or a different one? On this I would say the cheeks should go up one hole, and the noseband should be raised till it is just under the protruding cheek bones. Raising the bit a hair should help. Good luck.


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for the replies! Below are the answers to the questions.

                  1. Head length. It is not the entire table. It is the distance between the corner of his mouth and the top of his chin.

                  2.Changing the bit. We are going to try that, however I hesitate to do it. When I first go him, he was a pain to bridle. He was in a normal dee snaffle (metal). We figured out that he didn't like the bit and switched to the happy mouth. He now roots for the bit when it is presented. He is very good about letting his opions be known so I think he likes it.

                  3. Submitting to the bridle. Could or could not be it. He is trained to 3rd, while I am a training level rider. I am working on improving, but it will come with time. However, he is very mouthy. He is always 'chewing.' He lips me while I am tacking him up, standing next to him, lips the stall etc. So it could just be an extension of that.

                  To TheHorseProblem: I couldn't see the link. Sorry.


                  • #10
                    trying again...

                    This is a new bridle with a fat crank noseband, so already it is easier for the flash strap to attach without forming a V.

                    It's hard to see the wrinkles in the corners of your horse's mouth, but it looks to me as if your bit sits too low.

                    As far as the comment above that his lower jaw is shorter than his upper, that is the definition of parrot mouth and my horse is very parrot mouthed but we don't have that problem.

                    A question slightly off-topic is whether a drop noseband would accomplish the same thing if OP can't get the flash to work properly.
                    2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                    A helmet saved my life.


                    • Original Poster

                      I agree the bridle in the picture isn't fitting correctly. I was trying to describe it to my sister, so I threw it on him and took a picture to send to her. The bit is now higher in his mouth and the nose band is two fingers below the cheek bone. The now bridle fits like the one in the picture TheHorseProblem posted.

                      In the picture TheHorseProblem posted, at the bit the angle of the flash changes slightly. The way the flash was fitting on Zulu's head, the angle of the flash around the bit is much more pronounced creating pressure on both the bit and his lip. It is caused by where the flash sits on his chin.

                      I have never tried a drop before, but thought of trying one. There isn’t one at the barn I can borrow. My concern is that it would still be pulled up in the back creating the same problem.

                      I will try to take a picture the next time I am out. It may take a few days.

                      Any other suggestions are welcomed! Thanks for the replies.


                      • #12
                        Just to clarify that I wasn't suggesting a drop noseband, rather asking others if that might be a solution.
                        2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                        A helmet saved my life.


                        • #13
                          I think what you are thinking is that the flash loop should be straight where it goes across the bit, and not bend the leather because of the bit. I have never seen that; the chin groove is always going to be in a place such that a straight line between the front of the cavesson and the back of the chin would be behind the bit.

                          In general, yes, one action of the flash is to lift the bit in the horse's mouth.

                          Your horse may be one that cannot wear a flash. Or, it may be that the leather of this particular flash is too stiff. Frankly, it is hard not for a leather strap that goes across spit every day not to end up stiff.

                          Things to try:
                          - condition the heck out of the flash strap to make it as soft and conforming as possible
                          - consider if the flash strap could be thinner than the one you happen to have.
                          - A drop noseband
                          - A Micklem multibridle
                          - A figure-eight noseband
                          - Or, stick with the cavesson and forget the drop/flash.
                          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                          • #14
                            OT, but what kind of bridle is that, OP? It's really unique.
                            Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                            • Original Poster

                              poltroon. In every sales picture I have seen, the flash in basically straight. Below is a link. I don't think it was suppose to pull up on the bit a lot. I thought it had minimal effect on the bit and that it only lightly supported it on the bottom, and kept the mouth action of the horse contained, making the bit steadier.


                              I am going to try other noses bands, but am afraid that I will have the same problem. If I can't find anything to work, I will go with the plain cavesson and noseband.

                              cleozowner. I got that bridle at the sample sale in the Perry's booth at Rolex last year. I don't think it went into production. I liked both the two toned leather and the rolled pieces. I thought it would look good on my horse's head.


                              • #16
                                Several things may be involved here. All the photos show a bridle with a loose ring snaffle, and you have a straight happy mouth. That could change the fit on the lips.
                                We put some vaseline or bag balm on the horses lips before adjusting the flash so it does not pinch dry skin.
                                Did you oil or lexol the flash before using it? Dry leather can cause a heck of a rub.
                                Good luck!
                                "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


                                • #17
                                  If you raise the bit higher, the flash does end up being a straight line. However, some horses really don't like a high bit placement (mine is one of them!).

                                  I'm wondering if maybe you shouldn't just try a drop noseband on him, since the ring on the noseband allows for different angles on the upper and lower parts of the noseband (if that makes sense).
                                  Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                                  • #18
                                    For some horses, it's hard to get the flash properly adjusted because of the shape of the face. Some horses just can't wear a flash, but I'd suggest finding the best-quality one you can before you give up. I've had a "Cheapie" made of thicker, stiffer, leather with sharp edges and it did exactly what yours did. Switched to a Jerry's Harness flash (and bridle, pricey but very high quality and American-made). There have been no problems with rubs since then.

                                    Mine is one of them; I've tried several different kinds of flash bridles on her and no matter what I do with the noseband, the flash pulls it down in the middle. I am currently trying to find a Figure-8 for her, since for all intents and purposes, her bridle kind of looks like a Figure-8 when the flash is on. She went well in a Figure-8 when I free leased her to an event rider. The Figure-8 **is** legal for dressage, but you won't see many of them. Depending on how they are made, they can be more adjustable than a regular cavesson+flash. Unfortunately, Jerry does not make Figure-8s.

                                    (Mare has a beautiful face but it is short and triangular. I started with a Jerry's cob-sized bridle -- they run a bit large. The throatlatch, cheeks, cavesson-holder, and flash have all been shortened by Jerry and the noseband is the only cob-sized part of the bridle left! She takes a generous full-sized or WB-sized browband.)
                                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by sheltoneb View Post
                                      poltroon. In every sales picture I have seen, the flash in basically straight. Below is a link. I don't think it was suppose to pull up on the bit a lot. I thought it had minimal effect on the bit and that it only lightly supported it on the bottom, and kept the mouth action of the horse contained, making the bit steadier.

                                      It is straight in that picture because the bit is engaged and is being pulled up and back in the horse's mouth. In addition, it is brand new and unconditioned tack that will still be stiff.

                                      It is really normal for the flash to bend around the bit.
                                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thanks for the replies.

                                        Quietann, good to here that a horse with the same sort of problem found a solution.

                                        not again, the flash was borrowed for me to try. I have no idea if it was conditioned or not.

                                        Poltroon, thanks for explaining about the angle. I will have to take a look at the other horses at the barn that go in a flash next time I see one, but what you say makes since.

                                        I was able to get to the barn and take some pics. I had returned the attachment, so I had to coble a flash out of the throat latch and some twine. Don't worry, I didn't ride him, it was just to get some pics.

                                        I posted an album of photo's on my facebook page. The include a picture of the bridle with out a flash, a picture of both sides with the flash and close up of the bit with flash on both side.