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Poll Pressure

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  • Poll Pressure

    What do you guys do for a horse that's very sensitive to poll pressure? I'm not looking for a debate. I'm just curious if you change equipment or bit. Currently in Courbette bridle with a cavesson fastened loosely and this bit

  • #2
    I found this bridle in Europe--it's great. My dressage horse loves it.


    • #3
      Mid, how would you know that poll pressure is the problem, what would you be seeing the horse do?

      If a horse was sensitive to poll pressure, say, due to a previous injury, abcess or the like, I'd put some padding under the crownpiece of the bridle, or buy a padded bridle, or both. My pony seems sensitive to the bridle in general so I bought a mild bit and ride with light hands and a light contact.

      I'd have a tough time with changing bits to change the amount of poll pressure, as I'm not sure I believe the usual information about which bits cause poll pressure and which don't.


      • #4
        Wow Eesterson, I love the design of that bridle!!!

        SLC, it's just common sense (to me) that heavy bits put torque on the poll. A double bridle's curb exerts poll pressure. Anything I can do to make my horse more comfy in the poll, I'll do. While I can't prove it, there have been times that during riding in the double, I have inadvertently caused poll pain, which I believe is like hitting a nerve. It didn't happen often, but I stopped using the double because of it.


        • #5
          DIFFERENCE Collection
          "The Difference" range of bridles stems from the collaboration between Dy'on and Equality Line after an idea from Lisen bratt Fredericson and Peder Fredericson.

          It was designed to avoid any pressure behind the horse ears which is a particularly sensible and innervated zone.

          It is noticeable that the pressure from a regular headpiece can create a real discomfort for some horses and generate communication problems between the rider and his horse.

          Thanks to the exclusive shapes of its headpiece and of crossed throat latch, this bridle stays behind this neuralgic center and relieves the most sensible horses

          my horse is "sensible" and does not need a special bridle

          I agree with ToN, the weight of the bits in a double can cause some horses an issue.
          I would try some sort of padding...maybe that black foam you see people use under some nosebands?
          Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. –Sebastian Junger


          • #6
            Poll pressure, in its usual use, is not due to the weight of the bit, but to the bit having an action that actually puts a type of leverage on the poll, for example, as the bit pivots in the mouth, it pulls on the cheekpieces and puts pressure that way on the poll. I'm saying that's what I don't think is reliably designated for specific bits.

            The idea of that sort of 'poll pressure' is that it causes the horse to put its head down and round its neck.

            While double bridles are more heavy than snaffle bridles on average, I'm not sure of how much that actually affects horses, or restricts their motions. I think if a bridle is fitted well, the extra weight is still within a comfortable zone. Too, curb bits need not be heavy. I have some that are and some that are rather light.


            • #7
              I can not speak about any "study" on poll pressure due to the weight of the bridle, but I can tell you that when I hang my double bridle off my head it is significantly heavier then my feather like weighted snaffle bridle and I hold my head differently.


              • #8
                This is interesting...I have been eye balling the thin line bridle...



                • #9
                  JRG, the concept of poll pressure usually has nothing to do with bridle weight, but with leverage, the actual action of the bit itself, that puts pressure on the poll.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                    JRG, the concept of poll pressure usually has nothing to do with bridle weight, but with leverage, the actual action of the bit itself, that puts pressure on the poll.
                    Thank you I am aware of how a bridle works. I was stating an observation.

                    Bossmare, that looks like the snaffle bridle you can get in Dover's cat. for around 90.00.


                    • #11
                      I believe Dressage Extensions carries Cashel foam channels that can be used under crown pieces or cavesons. They also have some sheepskin caveson and crown "pad thingies".


                      • #12
                        The original poster did not say anything that I can see about using a double bridle. If the headstall is a normal headstall, and is being used with the snaffle bit shown, then I might think the headstall's browband is too small for this particular horse. If that is the case, it is probably holding the bit hanger too closely over the acupressure points that are immediately behind the ears, creating moments of discomfort when the reins are used.


                        • #13
                          The op mentioned a change in equipment. What have you tried?


                          • #14
                            I agree about the browband possibly being too short, which is the case with most that come with bridles. One suggestion would be to get a padded cutback crown piece with a longer browband. I like the bridles were the noseband is part of the bridle.....like the Jerry's Bridle.



                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by angel View Post
                              The original poster did not say anything that I can see about using a double bridle. If the headstall is a normal headstall, and is being used with the snaffle bit shown, then I might think the headstall's browband is too small for this particular horse. If that is the case, it is probably holding the bit hanger too closely over the acupressure points that are immediately behind the ears, creating moments of discomfort when the reins are used.
                              No double bridle. I have no concrete evidence that he's experiencing poll pressure when I'm on his back. However, on the ground, if I put my hand on his poll with gentle pressure, he will put his head to the ground. We are at training level. The bit is mild and he accepts it. Teeth are good, saddle fit is good, shoeing is good, diet is good, selenium is adequate
                              He often does try an evasion by getting behind the contact which I can overcome by driving him forward.

                              I think the browband is a strong possibility. He has a big head and it seems tight in that area. I will try riding him without it and see how it goes before I go shopping.

                              I guess my question should have been: explain to me if this loose-ring snaffle bit can create leverage to exert pressure on his poll.

                              Thanks everybody.


                              • #16
                                poll evil crown piece

                                eesterson's bridle crown piece works well for a horse who has injured his bursa behind his ears. One of my vets recommended it for one of my horses who was flipped by the cowboy who was starting him under saddle. We have done osteopathic as well as regular work on him. It has been many years since the original injury, but he is still hyper-sensitive. I think the common name for this injury is "poll evil".
                                Intermediate Riding Skills


                                • #17
                                  Poll Evil is an infection. Sometimes the infection starts because a trauma breaks the skin and allows the infection to get in. It is usually a brucellosis infection and if it worsens, winds up with draining tracts (fistulas) and can leave a thickened area. A similar condition can happen in the withers. I think there are (human) health issues as brucella can infect humans.

                                  your horse might have been trained to put his head down when you put your hand on his poll. Many horses are taught that. That's often how breakers bridle the horse, and it's quite common in Western training overall.

                                  If he's just lowering his head, not shaking his head or raising his head and trying to avoid being bridled, I'd question if he actually is sensitive in the poll.
                                  Last edited by slc2; Sep. 8, 2009, 08:07 AM.


                                  • #18
                                    have you had a good vet and/or chiro/accu. person look at the horse? maybe they are in pain already and any tweak in the poll area makes it worse?


                                    • #19

                                      My horse didn't have the broken skin/infection. We know that he was cartwheeled and he did have other major injuries from it. He does shake his head, raise it and use to panic if there was ANY poll pressure or he brought his head into vertical position. He is better now, but just started again under saddle. He has a super temperment, so he is trained to do things on the ground plus clicker positive re-enforcement..

                                      Ps, I hope your asthma gets better. This is one of the worst times of the year for me, too.
                                      Intermediate Riding Skills


                                      • #20
                                        I had a beautiful very delicate looking bridle with a split headpiece for my mare. She hated it (too much pressure). I now have a jerry's bridle with padded crown and she's very comfortable with it - and by the way I use the same bit that you have in your post.

                                        My double is an Arc d'Triumphe and also has a padded crown used with a short shanked curb and more narrow bit as she prefers that.
                                        Now in Kentucky