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Not using a noseband?

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  • Not using a noseband?

    The little mare that i have been riding is always very fussy about having a tight noseband on her bridle. She has a parrot mouth and is just not a fun ride when she fights it the whole time. So, I used to just put (had her halter on under her bridle) and I rode her yesterday without putting the noseband back on and she was fine without it. I know that the noseband helps with the bit action, but would it be bad to just ride without one most of the time? Like I said, she will tolerate it loose but forget about tightening it at all. She goes in either a eggbut french link or slow twist D-ring depending on what we are doing.

    So, is there any reason I shouldn't ride without a noseband?
    Who say's your best friend has to be human?

  • #2
    Just leave it loose. You should be able to put two finger between their skin and the noseband. I know thats not the way its normally done, but horses are much happier that way.
    I love cats, I love every single cat....
    So anyway I am a cat lover
    And I love to run.


    • #3
      Originally posted by sschuessler View Post
      The little mare that i have been riding is always very fussy about having a tight noseband on her bridle. She has a parrot mouth and is just not a fun ride when she fights it the whole time. So, I used to just put (had her halter on under her bridle) and I rode her yesterday without putting the noseband back on and she was fine without it. I know that the noseband helps with the bit action, but would it be bad to just ride without one most of the time? Like I said, she will tolerate it loose but forget about tightening it at all. She goes in either a eggbut french link or slow twist D-ring depending on what we are doing.

      So, is there any reason I shouldn't ride without a noseband?
      Do what works. For you. For her. Lots of horses are ridden without nosebands. Though they are required by tradition at horseshows for most divisions (not jumpers). IMO, if you are pulling on the reins hard enough for the horse to open it's mouth and come into contact with a correctly fitted regular noseband, you are pulling on the mouth too hard, and there are other training and riding issues that you need to address as a result. The correctly fitted regular noseband is primrarily for attaching a standing martingale to, if neccessary. And for holding the mouth closed when in high pressure competition where the rein pressure necessary for the moment may be more than you would normally wish in order to keep both horse and rider safe during a precarious moment, eg during a race, or galloping cross country etc. If you are using it to keep the mouth closed during regular riding and training, there are other problems that need addressing.


      • #4
        I can't think for any reason why that would be a problem. But when was the last time she had her teeth checked? A good dentist might be able to ease some of her discomfort.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks-- She had her teeth floated in June and he didn't see any problems then so she should still be fine. She has always had issues with anything fitting tight on her due to super sensitive skin and her bridle is not the best quality. She never really pulls on me and I ride mostly with my seat before hands (as it should be)... and doesn't need a standing martingale (arab + restraint = a terrible combination) My trainer was just questioning why I didn't use it and I told her why and she couldn't come up with any reason she would absolutely have to have one. Good to know I am not breaking any unwritten rules other than tradition with not using one.
          Who say's your best friend has to be human?


          • #6
            For schooling I'd remove the noseband from the bridle entirely. Done and done!

            I school without a noseband...most of the people at my barn eventually strip off theirs as well. Makes bridling quicker, and none of these horses (including my own) need their mouths buckled shut anyway. I guess there would be exceptions if your horse tends to flip her tongue over the bit, but gosh, our horses go in such a happy relaxed way without them.

            Of course for showing my show bridle is traditional with a regular noseband, properly fastened. Not too tight, not too loose, not too high, not too low

            Best of luck, and best wishes for a pleasant, less stressful riding experience for both you and your mare. It means a lot that you are taking the time to try to seek out a way for her to be more comfortable.

            (first post from me on the COH forums...hi, everybody!)



            • #7
              Personally, I think that nosebands were invented long before modern equine dentistry methods were. And they have just hung on as tradition since then.


              • #8
                My bridle has a noseband, but its just a plain one that I leave loose enough that I don't even bother undoing it to take the bridle on and off. Its there because the English bridle looks complete with it. It serves absolutely no other purpose though. I don't see a point in putting something restrictive on my horse's face if he goes perfectly well without it.


                • #9
                  Cavesson nosebands are for fashion and there is no other reason to use. Some nosebands are to hold the mouth closed e.g in showjumping and eventing but racehorses, for example, often don't use them. I recently asked the BHS about fitting a cavesson noseband and was told:

                  A cavesson noseband should be fitted one to two fingers below the protruding cheekbone depending on the length of the horse’s head and the mouth.

                  How tight the noseband is fitted is personal preference. If the noseband is used purely for aesthetic reasons then one or two fingers should be able to slip easily between the noseband and the horse’s face. Some people use a cavesson noseband as a form of restraint. In this case it is usually fitted tighter, but it should not be so tight as to cause the horse pain and distress. The horse may well show this by being unsteady in it’s head, an unwillingness to go forward and/or possibly an uncomfortable demeanour.
                  "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths


                  • #10
                    If you plan on showing in hunter or eq divisions, I would try to solve the problem at home since it would be an added hurdle to try to tackle the show environment plus adding something she doesn't like.

                    If you just ride at home, I don't see why you need one.

                    But, I would agree on the equine dentist. I did the A circuit as a Jr. and then had a break for a while...when I came back, the dental work was way more involved. This may be the only way anyone does it now, but was it done with all the modern crazy looking equipment by an equine dentist (where they really only do teeth)? That makes a big difference. Also, consider TMJ...I'm not sure, but it could effect this.

                    Also check the position- I see many nose bands way too low and that is a sensitive area. Maybe before investing in an expensive bridle, try wrapping it with something soft and cushy?

                    I would also think about the bit. A slow twist can be sharp, depending on the bit and a french link can be too wide in the middle and slide the joints at each end into the corners of their mouth, bother the tongue etc. Maybe something soft and not broken? I'm just thinking she may be trying to keep away from something uncomfortable with the bit, keep her mouth off of it a little. Maybe something not with a harsh port, but a little room for the tongue (some hate pressure on the tongue). With any broken bit, I would make sure there is a little curve to keep her comfortable. But, bits are trial and error, just be sure to use the right size and make sure there is nothing sharp or uncomfortable on the bit.

                    Of course, there is no reason it has to be cranked tight, although as everyone has said, many do it.

                    Is she sore when you press where the nose band would go?

                    Sorry for such a long response, just fascinated and as a scientist, love thinking about things like this. You are really observant to pick this up. She is lucky to have such a nice owner : )

                    Good luck and post an update.


                    • #11
                      I have one that goes completely without. She will show jumpers over here so I'm not fussed. Much much happier. She had lots of issues with her teeth as a youngster and also has a low flat pallet. This just makes her happy. My other one goes in a shadow roll, a small one. Keeps her head where I like it and she also seems happier. Love jumpers! Anything goes.

                      COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                      "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.