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Flash Noseband Freakout???

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  • Flash Noseband Freakout???

    So I posted a few pics of me riding my horse with his new bridle that he got for Christmas. It has a flash noseband so I figured I'd give it a try because I am still working on consistant contact and thought the steadiness of the bit it provides may help us/me. He came from a H/J home that always rode him in a mullen mouth pelham but has been retired for a few years...So his previous owner saw the pics and had a mini melt down over the flash!!...says he does not need that!!...I explained to her that I was trying it for these few reasons...
    1) To help steady the bit in his mouth at times when my hands are less than best!
    2)to help with the W/H transitions....where he does open his mouth in resistance.....which was greatly improved!!
    3) I just had his teeth done and a TMJ adjustment..and was told that he has a lateral disalignment and a monkey mouth...(undershot jaw) so issuse with contact are common.
    My question is..if properly fitted, is the Flash concidered a harsh noseband??? I would be so surprised that it would be legal in lower level dressage if it was... Or is it possible that her objection is mostly because it (the flash) is illegal in the hunters??...as always thanks in advance for your comments!!
    "Success comes in cans, not in cannots!"

  • #2
    Nope, not harsh... it just gets a bad rap because it is so often misused. Far too many are adjusted wrong or used unnecessarily. For me, I tend not to introduce them until I have a real reason to do so, but that's just because I like to keep things as simple as possible. Don't worry about the freakout, I suspect this is just a case of misconceptions of dressage from an outside discipline.
    Proud COTH lurker since 2001.

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    • #3
      I don't get flash nosebands myself - but my background is also in hunters. We know relaxation starts in the jaw - think licking a chewing when your horse relaxes and learns in your groundwork. I don't want my horse to cross his jaw but it doesn't take much to teach any horse to be soft in the bridle...and I want them gently mouthing the bit at all times - this is a sign that they are respecting the bit, not ignoring it. Of course there is a fine line between chomping out of nervousness or evading by grabbing the bit and fighting the contact too. And using a flash won't help these problems either and will likely make them worse. I can possibly see the use in a horse you know is relaxed but plays with the bit significantly...but in my experience its more of a nervous habit from tension. I don't even tighten my noseband to give them every opportunity to stay relaxed in the bridle. And obviously a flash can restrict breathing if not fastened correctly as well.

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      • #4
        When I started Dressage I was unable to find a bridle without a flash. I had never seen a flash before, but thought maybe I'd missed something during my 30 yr hiatus from riding, so I figured I needed one. Soon enough I realized my mare didn't need a flash--she had no mouth problems--then I learned that a flash was nothing but an unnecessary quick-fix. The tactful rider does not use a flash to strap a horse's mouth closed, she looks for the reason behind the mouth problem and solves IT. None of my mares are ridden with flashes, nor cranks, and I've finally stopped using nosebands entirely unless I'm showing.
        Megan

        "The horse you get off is not the same horse that you got on. It's our task as riders to make sure that the difference is for the better."

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        • #5
          If used correctly and thoughtfully, I don't think they're a "harsh" noseband. Previous owner needs to realize she doesn't own YOUR horse anymore, and therefore she doesn't get a say in what you do with him now.

          That said, look to your riding before choosing a flash noseband to fix a gaping mouth. My young mare did the same thing, and my trainer at the time slapped a flash on her. Well, come to find out it was my riding that was causing the gaping mouth. I found a trainer who taught correct dressage, my riding improved ... and my mare no longer opened her mouth. No more flash for us.
          Full-time bargain hunter.

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          • #6
            I have used a flash for most of my riding life and I like them a lot. It can prevent a horse from learning to be locked in the jaw. Many people have adverse reactions about a flash and will tell you that you don't need one. Most of the people I have seen in real life who say this have horses who are locked in the jaw. As with all things with horses, TO EACH HIS OWN. I personally have adverse reactions about many/most gadgets that people will strap on a horse. Less is more. If your horse is having an adverse reaction to the flash, it could be because it's just different or it could be because he is telling you that he has issues with suppleness particularly in the jaw. Try it and see if it makes a difference. Try to be introspective about it and investigate the changes that you could make with or without the flash to help him along.

            First, look to yourself! The rider's hands make all the difference. If your hands are unsteady, then you could be teaching him to lock or resist with the jaw. In addition, you might need to change your ideas about what it means to make a horse soft in the bridle. I see people flexing like crazy to get horses "off the left/right rein" and they're never satisfied when the horse won't give. Listen to your horse and try to think differently.

            My current horse was resistant when I first started using a flash. I tried to be kind by not cranking the noseband and making sure that it was adjusted high enough not to be restrictive. Last night, I rode my horse, who is just a little out of work from a personal holiday, sans noseband. ( I had taken it off for other reasons and forgotten to put it back on.) It was interesting for me to look in the mirror and notice that during our ride she had generated slight foam around the mouth with a bead on her lips. My horse is not as soft as I'd like, but I was pleased to see that she has developed a relaxed and comfortable relationship with the bit.

            A flash is a tool like any other. Learn not to depend on it. I am also a big fan of taking off the spurs.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by threemagicalmares View Post
              When I started Dressage I was unable to find a bridle without a flash. I had never seen a flash before, but thought maybe I'd missed something during my 30 yr hiatus from riding, so I figured I needed one. Soon enough I realized my mare didn't need a flash--she had no mouth problems--then I learned that a flash was nothing but an unnecessary quick-fix. The tactful rider does not use a flash to strap a horse's mouth closed, she looks for the reason behind the mouth problem and solves IT. None of my mares are ridden with flashes, nor cranks, and I've finally stopped using nosebands entirely unless I'm showing.
              ~ 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

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              • #8
                What's confusing about that? USEF rules require a caveson for showing. It's pretty easy to remove the cavseon for everyday riding and then put it back on for shows.
                Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SillyHorse View Post
                  What's confusing about that? USEF rules require a caveson for showing. It's pretty easy to remove the cavseon for everyday riding and then put it back on for shows.
                  But... what is the point??? Nosebands are evils now?
                  Nosebands are a quick fix?
                  ~ 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

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                  • #10
                    Nosebands really serve no purpose if they're adjusted properly. If you (not you in particular, alibi_18) need to crank your noseband super tight, that's the quick fix.
                    Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.

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                    • #11
                      While I personally use a flash sometimes, I am a minimalist, as every piece of tack I don't use is less time spent cleaning, so I could see skipping the noseband altogether sometimes, less to clean.

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                      • #12
                        The question is why you use any piece of tack. Valid reasons (i.e. a drop to prevent crossing in the youngster in the first place perhaps).

                        But, the reasons you gave make the horse pay the bill (for your 1/2/3). For 1, the bit is equal when the rider is stable, so position the horse and keep the connection. 2. The horse opens the mouth when the bit is being used on the bars and/or the horse is too low/closed. Ride more effective hh/demi arrets instead. 3. Issues with contact are not those of the horse, they are the responsibility of the rider to develop/sustain/maintain a better connection, not the horse's mouth being closed.
                        I.D.E.A. yoda

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                        • #13
                          I am not confused at all why someone would not use a caveson at all, outside the show ring.

                          First, I agree 100% with Ideayoda's post.
                          There are a lot of horses who do not know how to respond to the bit. And there are a lot of riders who cannot take responsibility for their own weight, consistently, in order to maintain a soft contact. So lots of folks simply train their horse to go forward while the rider maintains backward pressure on the reins. Generally, it takes a strong noseband, crank or flash, to accomplish this. And then, hey presto, it appears that the horse is accepting the bit...to those who can't see the locked jaw and tension in the horse, and to those judges out there who accept it as 'correct'.

                          Second, once you have that control (of the horse's mind/response to the bit, and control over your own body) you do not need anything to keep the horse's mouth shut. Bill Dorrance in his book talks about cavesons, and about horses 'Letting go of trouble', or as Tom Dorrance describes it, 'Letting the Butterflies Out', when a horse yawns. The Dorrance brothers didn't use cavesons so their horses could yawn when they needed to. I don't know why horses yawn like they do after, say, a chiropractic adjustment or some real thinking about something you just taught them, but if they have a noseband on, they can't do that. My OTTB certainly doesn't have 'butterfly' moments every day, but when he does, I can see him really processing something significant (to him). The yawn, to me, represents the horse letting go of something physical or mental that has been 'holding' him, like a muscle brace or a mental difficulty. Since I don't need to strap his mouth shut, I don't ride with a caveson, so when he needs to yawn, he can.

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