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The flash (or anything that closes the horses mouth)

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  • The flash (or anything that closes the horses mouth)

    I am reading thrrough some posts and someone pasted this post ( http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=223453 ) and was reading it and it mentioned closing the horses mouth

    "Gob-straps: Is the coloquial name that English Horsemen give anything that is designed to hold the horse’s mouth shut. They’re very much the vogue nowadays and I HATE them. If a horse is opening it’s mouth, then it’s not comfortable and a gob-strap is just stopping it from opening it’s mouth. It’s not going to make it more comfortable.

    When you have a difficulty it’s best to try to trace it’s origin. So go back to use of hands, bridle fit, bitting and bit position. I know gob-straps keep the mouth shut but it’s prevention not cure. The cure must come from the bit and he’s holding his mouth open to avoid pain. DON’T JUST STRAP IT’S MOUTH SHUT!!"

    is all of this true. I have been told by many people I should put a flash on my mare, but never really told why and when I have put on on her she throws a fit. OTOH, I put one on another mare i had and she liked it and focus' better with it, but IDK why so now I am afraid her bit is hurting her or something.
    When do you use a flash and when do you change the bit?
    *Paige*
    ~*It's not about the ribbons, but about the ride behind it"
    R.I.P. Teddy O'Connor

  • #2
    In addition to "strapping the horse's mouth shut" a flash provides some stability for the bit, holds it in proper position and can help prevent pinching the lips.

    I don't use one on EVERY horse I ride, but I do for most of them.

    When starting green horses, one can make the argument that beginning with a flash prevents the horse from ever learning to open its mouth in resistance. I generally prefer it because it keeps the horse from yawing its mouth wide open when he's still learning to steer, reducing the risk of pulling the bit through the mouth.

    A tight flash/figure-8 noseband can sometimes allow the horse to remain in a milder bit, as he can't avoid the action by opening his mouth. It sometimes helps a horse that pulls by hanging on its lower jaw, mouth gaping open.

    However, if the horse properly accepts the bit, chances are it doesn't need a flash. One TB I ride *hates* flash straps and tosses his head incessantly with one. He has a very soft mouth, and while he does chew with his mouth open more than ideal, he is quite easy to ride in a plain noseband (if you have good hands!).

    Yes, flashes can be an apparent quick-fix for riders who abuse the bit. There is the likelihood that if your horse goes around with mouth gaping open hanging on you, you're probably hard-handed hanging on him. In which case you need to fix your own issues. But there are instances when opening the mouth is just a simple form of resistance to a difficult moment, and a flash is a relatively harmless device to circumvent that particular resistance.

    When the horse is avoiding the bit or the rider's command (say, to turn) by opening the mouth, the rider probably uses MORE rein pressure to attain the desired response (not saying this is CORRECT, just saying it happens!). However, if the horse wore a flash it would be unable to gape the mouth, and the rider likely could use *less* rein pressure to achieve the desired response; thus, the horse actually experiences less pain. The rider gets to ride a little quieter, learning to use LESS hand...rewarding the horse even further.
    “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
    ? Albert Einstein

    ~AJ~

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    • #3
      I have found with my mare, that she likes a super stable bit. The flash just adds to the stability for her. I don't use a loose ring on her any more for this reason, and I add the flash. She now goes right to the bit and happily chews away. She just likes a super stable place to go, I guess. It's not so tight that she can't chew. People get rabid about certain "tools", but I see them as just that-tools. Don't abuse them, use them with kindness and thoughtfulness and go about your business.
      http://www.chronicleofmyhorse.com/profile/MarnieCollett

      "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."-Aristotle

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      • #4
        I think that, like almost everything else with horses, it depends on the horse. What your quote says can definitely happen, but I don't think it is necessarily always the case.

        I've tried different things with my horse, and just recently found a bit that he likes, and it seems like he goes so well that he doesn't need a flash. I may try this, but I think one of the reasons he likes this bit better is that it is a D-ring instead of a loose ring. He likes the stability. Because of that, I will keep the flash because it adds to this overall effect.

        A school horse I know goes in a loose ring snaffle, and no noseband at all! That's just what he likes and is comfortable with.

        So, now that I've told you "it's different for every horse," and been incredibly unhelpful, I'll go eat some lunch
        Jenny
        T3DE 2010 Pact
        Luck is the residue of design -Branch Rickey

        Comment


        • #5
          Check out the Micklem Bridle...........has worked wonders for my wee horse.

          http://www.williammicklem.com/multibridle.html

          It keeps the bit stable without putting to much pressure.

          My guy has thin skin and has earned his "princess and the pea" reputation
          Susan
          http://community.webshots.com/user/ss3777
          www.longformatclub.com

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          • #6
            Also, not everyone over here calls it a 'Gob strap'. I've never heard the term used.

            They are like any horsey item- they work well for some horse, and not so well on others.
            Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by badawg View Post
              I have found with my mare, that she likes a super stable bit. The flash just adds to the stability for her. I don't use a loose ring on her any more for this reason, and I add the flash. She now goes right to the bit and happily chews away. She just likes a super stable place to go, I guess. It's not so tight that she can't chew. People get rabid about certain "tools", but I see them as just that-tools. Don't abuse them, use them with kindness and thoughtfulness and go about your business.
              This is me and my gelding too. Mine is such a stability junkie that he also goes in a baucher cheek, which holds the bit up up and off his bars in a very steady position. It has nothing to do with quiet hands--in fact it was my trainer who figured this out, both by riding the horse with with extremely quiet hands and seeing how he reacted with/without the flash on the lunge line with side reins.

              He can go without the flash and be just fine, no pulling or tugging or anything like that. But he has made it clear that he prefers the flash.
              Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

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              • #8
                Funny that you say that, jn4! My mare also goes in a baucher single jointed snaffle. I chose the single jointed snaffle over the french because I discovered her tendency to go down, down, down in a french link. Go figure. I'm not sure who it was who told me this, but I know it was a clinician I rode with last summer (maybe it was Jimmy) but french links are intended to get a horse to come down to the bit. So, good for a horse that doesn't trust contact, or one with naturally high carriage that you want to lower a bit. My mare needs a bit of elevation, as well as stability. Bitting is so interesting.
                http://www.chronicleofmyhorse.com/profile/MarnieCollett

                "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."-Aristotle

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by badawg View Post
                  I'm not sure who it was who told me this, but I know it was a clinician I rode with last summer (maybe it was Jimmy) but french links are intended to get a horse to come down to the bit. So, good for a horse that doesn't trust contact, or one with naturally high carriage that you want to lower a bit. My mare needs a bit of elevation, as well as stability. Bitting is so interesting.
                  Yep, that's how mine ended up in a double-jointed lozenge baucher. I think it has a lot to do with my horse's history. I bought him out of a barn full of little kids who yahooed around on him, yanking on his face and allowing him to travel hollow. It was tricky figuring out how we'd hold the bit stable but still encourage him to come forward-down-out and engage with the bit. Sounds like your mare had the same stability issue but needed elevation instead of foward-down-out! Interesting.
                  Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Meanwhile my mare will rear with anything jointed in her mouth. It's a rubber dogbone bit for her. She can go without a flash just fine most of the time, but she can also be a jaw crosser, so it's a figure 8 (all phases) for us. It's not about the gaping, but about the crossing. Every horse has bad days, too. some days the flash will never come into play, but it's like what Wofford says about the running martingale; you'd rather have it and not need it than the other way around. It need not be tight (most people have theirs too tight), but if your horse is going to gape and potentially have the bit slide through the mouth I'd rather "tie its mouth shut" with a well-fitted flash.

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                    • #11
                      I am not a flash fan

                      This has the best explanation about a flash that I can find and it also talks about my preference which is a drop noseband.

                      http://www.sustainabledressage.com/tack/bridle.php#drop
                      The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mugsgame View Post
                        I am not a flash fan

                        This has the best explanation about a flash that I can find and it also talks about my preference which is a drop noseband.

                        http://www.sustainabledressage.com/tack/bridle.php#drop
                        I'm a longtime fan and reader of that blog, but where does she address bit stability? Oh wait, she doesn't. I agree that using a flash as an attempt to strap your horse's mouth shut, or to avoid gaping, is idiotic and counterproductive and you'd be better off with a drop noseband. But like most any tool out there, a flash can be used effectively and to good effect or it can be used thoughtlessly and even detrimentally. Sustainable Dressage is very classically oriented, and I don't think she's concerned with how a horse might need or like in the jumping phases of eventing. Which is where my horse really likes his flash. And since it is sort of ridiculous to constantly be taking it on and off for flatwork versus jumping days, I mostly leave it on.
                        Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Um slight derailment but anyone have advice about getting a horse who is used to a flash to go well without it? When I put maresy in dressage training, she got her tongue over the bit a few times, and trainer put her in a flash. That helped, but trainer never took her out of it -- basically all the horses she trains go in a flash, until they go into a double bridle. Since eventing is probably not something we'll be able to do (due to my injuries), I'm looking for other options and would love to do rail classes at little open shows -- but around here they use 4-H rules, which do not allow anything but a plain cavesson. (Of course one can use all sorts of harsh bits under those rules, but drops, flashes, figure 8s etc. are considered EVIL.)

                          I've pulled the flash off a couple of times and maresy's been very fussy, above the bit, and has gotten her tongue over the bit once (though she quickly figured out it was pretty uncomfortable, and got it back where it belonged.)

                          I will admit I do not have fabulous hands, which does not help, but they are not terrible!

                          So... bitting options? Things to try???
                          Last edited by quietann; Jan. 2, 2010, 11:34 PM.
                          You have to have experiences to gain experience.

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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by quietann View Post
                            So... bitting options? Things to try???
                            Raise the bit a hole or two. You don't have to gag her with it so tight, but bits that hang lower in the mouth DO tend to be easier to get the tongue over.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Allagash's mom View Post
                              Raise the bit a hole or two. You don't have to gag her with it so tight, but bits that hang lower in the mouth DO tend to be easier to get the tongue over.
                              That or put her in a different bit- she may not be able to get her tongue over something designed differently...
                              Big Idea Eventing

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