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The Subject of Nosebands

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  • The Subject of Nosebands

    My horse, to date, has been ridden in a regular noseband, and as of the last year, with a flash, relatively tight. I do not consider it overly tight, but when it is time to buckle it up, I can see my horse is not too happy with it and I have seen her raise her head in slight objection.

    Today I picked up a crank cavesson with flash. I wanted to try it because I like the idea of the leverage for balanced fit, the wider area to distribute the pressure and the padding.

    Unfortunately I didn't get to try it because the full size was much too big for my fine headed 16.1h Trak's face, so I rode without any noseband at all for the first time ever. It felt really good! I don't know if I was just more conscious of it, but I really was aware of my rein pressure, that she was on my correct rein, and that her shoulders were straight. I have to say, it was a very inspiring ride and now I'm questioning the use of the noseband at all! I plan to ride tomorrow again naked from the browband down, but after that, I'm not sure...

    She is about a year and a half into formal training and though we have had issues initially with head throwing and resisting contact, I can confidently say that has been resolved through training, dental care, and using a double jointed bit. We are training 1st/2nd level, though I don't really have any plans to compete (just not my cup of tea), but I do want to continue training to as far as we can go. We ride at a dressage barn with some pretty accomplished riders/horses, who all use Cranks, I imagine we will get the "look" for not using a noseband.

  • #2
    Who cares if people give you "the look". If your horse is more comfortable without a noseband then just leave it off the bridle- especially as you have no "need" to use it if you're not planning on competing.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by TraksRuleDutchDrool View Post
      My horse, to date, has been ridden in a regular noseband, and as of the last year, with a flash, relatively tight. I do not consider it overly tight, but when it is time to buckle it up, I can see my horse is not too happy with it and I have seen her raise her head in slight objection.

      Today I picked up a crank cavesson with flash. I wanted to try it because I like the idea of the leverage for balanced fit, the wider area to distribute the pressure and the padding.

      Unfortunately I didn't get to try it because the full size was much too big for my fine headed 16.1h Trak's face, so I rode without any noseband at all for the first time ever. It felt really good! I don't know if I was just more conscious of it, but I really was aware of my rein pressure, that she was on my correct rein, and that her shoulders were straight. I have to say, it was a very inspiring ride and now I'm questioning the use of the noseband at all! I plan to ride tomorrow again naked from the browband down, but after that, I'm not sure...

      She is about a year and a half into formal training and though we have had issues initially with head throwing and resisting contact, I can confidently say that has been resolved through training, dental care, and using a double jointed bit. We are training 1st/2nd level, though I don't really have any plans to compete (just not my cup of tea), but I do want to continue training to as far as we can go. We ride at a dressage barn with some pretty accomplished riders/horses, who all use Cranks, I imagine we will get the "look" for not using a noseband.
      I am going to try to be very controlled, however, you are touching upon one of my soapbox subjects .

      First of all, I want to praise you for listening to your horse, she is and always should be your priority, however, when it comes to tying a horse's mouth shut, you may not have much support on this subject.

      I think it is disgusting that most "dressage bridles" have flash and/or crank nosebands, and it is actually takes a good bit of looking to find nice black bridles which have plain french cavesons.

      Over use and abuse of horses with flashes and cranks (oh, yes, and we now have flashes with cranks, how lovely) is one of the shames of dressage. Just think about it....how would you like it if someone said he wanted you to trust him, following him, listen to him, and then physically tied you into a position which caused you discomfort and pain? How could you trust that person? With correct training, horses willingly accept the bit, and that relationship with the horse is far more rewarding and beautiful than any forced action. The exceptions to this rule are so few, that flashes and the like should be hard to find. I want to go on and on with this subject, but I will stop myself (trust me, it's not easy LOL).

      In conclusion, yes, please get rid of the noseband, for your horse's sake. As for the showing, there are some nice bridles (takes some looking) with plain french cavesons which are completely acceptable for showing. She may have some reaction to the noseband at first, but when she learns that nosebands will never be applied tightly, she will relax. As for what others think, stand up for your horse, your job is to protect her, not to be fashionable.

      *Stepping off soapbox.* LOL!!!
      It is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

      Comment


      • #4
        Flashes are definitely part of the dressage "look"--I agree with NE that there are way more flashes out there than horses that likely need them. It does seem like good dressage work would eliminate the need for a restrictive measure like a flash.

        Back when I rode hunters, everyone used a standing martingale, even me, though my OTTB was always rooting and pulling down, trying to run off with me (we were a green/green combo!). Flashes in dressage seem to be another part of the "outfit."

        I'd be interested to hear other peoples' view.
        2007 Welsh Cob C X TB GG Eragon
        Our training journal.
        1989-2008 French TB Shamus Fancy
        I owned him for fifteen years, but he was his own horse.

        Comment


        • #5
          I myself don't like to "tighten" a nose band. I need to be able to slip my fingers under in, not cram them under it. If you horse is happy with out and working well I'm all for the "nude look." Don't know if you can show without one?? You may even want to try a "Drop" noseband, properly fitted of course!
          "Success comes in cans, not in cannots!"

          Comment


          • #6
            I've never used my flash, and don't think I could find it now if I had to. I use the noseband, but can easily put 2-3 fingers beneath it.

            Comment


            • #7
              I imagine if they're any type of (good) riders at all they only 'give you a look' for no noseband if your horse looks like crap...if she's going better without a noseband no one will really notice.
              Now in Kentucky

              Comment


              • #8
                well, the goal should be to graduate away from the flash anyhow: The double has non.

                Most people I have seen in the (very) past opting out of using a noseband had usually ill fitting tack and unkempt horses. (or on the race track)

                General consensus was that you had to have a caveson to ride correctly: adjusted about 2 fingers below the cheek bone with 2 fingers fitting under the strap.

                Or a dropped noseband for the green horse: about a hand's width above the nostrils, also with 2 fingers space.

                Sadly in the past decades cranking stuff shut has become the norm. It usually does not help though.

                So ditching the flash in favor for a nice caveson that complements the horses face is not a bad idea. Just remember: leave some room...

                Comment


                • #9
                  well, the goal should be to graduate away from the flash anyhow: The double has non.
                  Look at many (if not most ) horses in double bridles....they are using cranks (and often so tight one can see the noseband pressing into the horse's skin). And why do these horses need cranks when they should be accepting the bit at those levels??? Because many of our "top" trainers in the US think it is a good idea to put a flash on a 3 year old horse. Once you set up a relationship with a horse of "I will force you to do what I want you to do, and I don't mind causing you pain," it is very difficult to ever step back from that (it is easier to retrain a horse and gain his trust, than to change a human's thinking--if it is in the rider's mind "I will force you," it will never be a thing of willing beauty)....and so, we have GP horses with crank nosebands.

                  Remember, horses are born wanting to please!!! If you ever doubt this, just think of what we do to these big, gentle creatures, and they are so happy to oblige ...really, they could kill us any time they wanted to.

                  I'm sorry ...*Removing myself from soapbox, once again.*
                  It is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You can always use a crank noseband but leave it so loose that it's not doing anything. Then you'd have the correct "look" without irritating your mare.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      agree with dwblover -- a crank noseband does not have to be cranked! For that matter, neither does a flash; I just rode a borrowed Haflinger in a clinic and the flash on his bridle was to the last hole but very loose; I didn't want to punch holes in someone else's tack so I rode him that way, and he was fine. (Owner seems to be of the "dressage horses wear flashes" ilk, but doesn't know enough to know that it was loose, so whatever.)

                      I'm looking forward to getting back on maresy *without* a flash; I guess that's one advantage of a long rehab period, she won't remember that she "needs" it. I never liked it and neither did she, but she got pretty dependent on it while she was in training, and she was becoming difficult to bridle because she disliked it. Also will be ready to ditch the "dressage-obligatory" loose ring snaffle for an eggbutt or something else that doesn't make her fussy.
                      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Non-Dressager here, quick question!

                        Is a noseband required tack for Dressage tests? Can you ride a test without one and not get eliminated?
                        Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sublimequine View Post
                          Non-Dressager here, quick question!

                          Is a noseband required tack for Dressage tests? Can you ride a test without one and not get eliminated?
                          It's required.
                          You have to have experiences to gain experience.

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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I just bought a new bridle for my horse--struggled to find one without the flash loop. Went with my second Jerry's handmade (it's loffly!).

                            I had just put a regular crank (never tight, like the padding) with a flash as a matter of course when I got this horse. All my bridles have them. I realized he seemed to always rub his nose at any opportunity. He never was bad in the bridle, but if the reins were loose, he was rubbing his nose. Finally it hit me over the head--DUH! So I took the flash off (and then finally bought one without) and no rubbing. He doesn't cross his jaw or open his mouth, so I had no reason to be using it anyway!

                            I think my profile has a pic of him, sans flash.
                            From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Thank you all for you feedback, especially NE Rider - I do agree with you all.

                              My bridle is a Devocoux, obviously french, and so has a regular cavesson, but also a flash attachment, so I can and probably will go back to not using the flash again. It's a really nice bridle and the flash attachment actually goes through a cut out in the noseband itself, so there is no loop sitting there unused if you do not use a flash. So for all of you looking for a nice dressage bridle with a plain noseband - check out Devoucoux's web site!

                              My trainer's philosophy on using the flash is that it keeps the bit more 'still' in the mouth thus making the signals that the rider gives more clear. This does make sense to me, especially for a horse and rider like myself, who I will be the first to say, can be hand heavy (working on it!) and my horse, who as I indicated, was mouth sensitive. Having said that, when I rode without the noseband she did not run around with her mouth open, so I am pleased our training is on the right course. We have mirrors in the arena and I could see the times where she was resisting or playing with her tongue were the times I was holding with the rein for too long or pulling backwards.

                              My next question is, with good riding - soft but firm contact and ridng from the leg/seat in balance, can the horse relax his jaw enough to move through his body with a locked tight noseband/crank? Does it provide a sense of security for them (i.e. keeping the bit 'solid')? Or does it depend on the temperment of the horse - one who naturally fights this amount of control vs one who enjoys a sense of security? This might be hard to answer, but something to ponder in our rides today!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I was an "always a flash" person until recently. I found a very nice padded flashless crank on extreme sale and bought it on a whim. Tried it and lo and behold...horse was much better about contact. I adjust it so you can fit a good two fingers width. It only comes into play if he really opens his mouth (which happens only occasionally). I also think he likes the comfort of the padding.

                                Just because it is called a crank doesn't mean you have to crank it....

                                edited to respond to your last post...
                                Just because it is dressage does not mean things are written in stone. Try flash and flashless and see what works better. Horses are individuals and sometimes you have to try different things. The results are frequently surprising.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by TraksRuleDutchDrool View Post
                                  So for all of you looking for a nice dressage bridle with a plain noseband - check out Devoucoux's web site!
                                  Thank you for the tip!!!

                                  My trainer's philosophy on using the flash is that it keeps the bit more 'still' in the mouth thus making the signals that the rider gives more clear.
                                  Wow, this is just sad. Think about this...we place pieces of metal in horses' mouths, a very sensitive area on any animal, and the trainer thinks that the horses cannot feel this??? A horse, who can feel a fly, cannot feel a piece of metal in his mouth??? Sorry, just don't buy it.

                                  Always go back to "My horse can feel a fly, are my cues lighter than a fly"?


                                  This does make sense to me, especially for a horse and rider like myself, who I will be the first to say, can be hand heavy (working on it!) and my horse, who as I indicated, was mouth sensitive. Having said that, when I rode without the noseband she did not run around with her mouth open, so I am pleased our training is on the right course. We have mirrors in the arena and I could see the times where she was resisting or playing with her tongue were the times I was holding with the rein for too long or pulling backwards.
                                  I want to hug you right now LOL!!! This is true communication with your horse!!!! She is able to tell you "I don't like this, please do it this way" and you are responding!!! Your horse is training you to be a better rider!!! What greater joy in the world is there than a connection with an animal as large and powerful as a horse?!?!?!

                                  Some may like talk about using the bit as communication, but when it comes down to it, many trainers don't want to listen to the horse, they only want to give orders. I want my horse to be a willing partner, not a slave.

                                  My next question is, with good riding - soft but firm contact and ridng from the leg/seat in balance, can the horse relax his jaw enough to move through his body with a locked tight noseband/crank?
                                  I have never seen it. Let's say you are going to a therapist.... You arrive at the office, and the therapist opens the door with a smiling face, and says "Please come in." You walk into the office, the door is closed behind you, and the therapist turns to you and states "For the next hour, SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!!!" This is what we are doing to our horses by tying their mouths shut.

                                  Does it provide a sense of security for them (i.e. keeping the bit 'solid')? Or does it depend on the temperment of the horse - one who naturally fights this amount of control vs one who enjoys a sense of security? This might be hard to answer, but something to ponder in our rides today!
                                  I don't buy the "sense of security" argument. For those horses, I would stress that it is the steadiness and consistency of the rider's hands/legs/seat that should be stressed. Horses are individuals, and need to be treated as such (as a previous poster said ). The amount of contact needed is different for different horses.
                                  It is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    You said;.My trainer's philosophy on using the flash is that it keeps the bit more 'still' in the mouth thus making the signals that the rider gives more clear.

                                    Like so many things folk tell you about academic riding this one is yet another illusion. You hear it all the time. I'm really surprised and very pleased to see the supporters of your position in this thread. Count me as another one.

                                    The necessity to observe relaxation of the lower jaw,with mobilization of the tongue as proof of good training was removed, inexplicably, from dressage tests in 1958. Such a desirable function in the mouth cannot occur when it's tied shut with crank nosebands and flashes. If the soft mobility of the jaw continues at every gait,the horse's movements will be dependable, precise and gracious.

                                    It was Hunersdorf, 200 years ago,who said " is not the horse's mouth the starting point for collection,and for all desired frames;and is it not true that we are never ready to properly work our horse until he begins 'to taste the bit'?".

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      tell me about...

                                      Tell me about your double jointed bit. Please! I've been thinking about trying one. Brands, what to look for?

                                      OP: Congratulations on finding what your mare prefers! I know that can be challeging! And good for you for going with it regardless of perception!
                                      Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by NE_Rider View Post
                                        Look at many (if not most ) horses in double bridles....they are using cranks (and often so tight one can see the noseband pressing into the horse's skin). And why do these horses need cranks when they should be accepting the bit at those levels??? Because many of our "top" trainers in the US think it is a good idea to put a flash on a 3 year old horse. Once you set up a relationship with a horse of "I will force you to do what I want you to do, and I don't mind causing you pain," it is very difficult to ever step back from that (it is easier to retrain a horse and gain his trust, than to change a human's thinking--if it is in the rider's mind "I will force you," it will never be a thing of willing beauty)....and so, we have GP horses with crank nosebands.

                                        Remember, horses are born wanting to please!!! If you ever doubt this, just think of what we do to these big, gentle creatures, and they are so happy to oblige ...really, they could kill us any time they wanted to.

                                        I'm sorry ...*Removing myself from soapbox, once again.*

                                        Well, since you pointed it out, I did also say that the cranking part is a new thing in the last 2 decades or so.

                                        The original doubles, from back when the rule of the 2 fingers were actually observed didn't have a crank, hardly any padding either...


                                        Like this :
                                        http://www.doversaddlery.com/images/300/12868.jpg

                                        just as double.

                                        your argument is drawing as dangerously close to the ever so colorful RK discussion, but hey those topics are related.

                                        Comment

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