Mark Walker Jumping | 119 Questions | 197 Answers

How to choose your noseband ?

How to choose your noseband ?
I have an 8 year old (only started being schooled properly at 7) Welsh mare, she is the forward and sensitive type and often works herself up. She has been ridden in a drop noseband and wasn't too happy about it, we switched her bit from a loose ring Waterford snaffle to a hanging cheek, she then was ridden in a regular noseband ( very loose) and eventually we took it off altogether since she seemed happier that way. However, she can be quite strong so I'd like a noseband for insurance when we go on more energetic rides, any recommendations?
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I own Thoroughbred horses and two of them always spit their bit out so I use an Australian noseband (that weird racehorse noseband). However, with my Gelderlander I use a drop noseband. This only when I take them out on the gallops though because I usually ride bitless. I use a 3-1 event bridle but I remove the bit from the but hangers.
I choose a noseband for my horses depending on their physical attributes, as well as what I'm trying to accomplish.

If a horse tends to swing his jaw to the side, a figure 8 noseband can help correct this behaviour. A regular European flash is useful if they open their mouths often to evade the bit.

I use a Micklem bridle on my own horse, since he is very sensitive and doesn't like the feeling of being "tied down" with a flash. He's very strong however, so the lowered noseband helps me gain more leverage without needing a stronger bit.

A drop noseband is useful for a strong horse that's soft in the mouth. I find horses who pull are often fine with a flash or crank noseband, but a sensitive horse who is strong often does well with a drop noseband that allows you to keep their nose in and a bit lower, without wrestling or needing more bit.

Once you get to upper levels, rubber or rope nosebands can provide extra control without needing more leverage in terms of bit or other gear. Horses that require a combination bit with a long shank can benefit from a rope noseband, always fitted high, to apply more pressure since in these cases a flash is not necessary.

At the end of it, it's just important to try different bit and noseband combinations to see what works for your horse. Always rule out physical discomfort before trying something if you're looking to correct a behavioural problem, but often a different bit and noseband can make a difference if they're uncomfortable.
Drop nosebands prevent the horse from opening his mouth
crank nosebands designed for dressage horses, theyre trendy and do the same thing basically but can be tightened really severely (not always preferrable)
a cavesson is the classic type and its probably the softest/more universal

Figure 8 bridle nosebands stabilize the bit and do not interfere with the nasal passages/if a horse is heavily breathing it does not restrict air intake so they tend to be popluar with the jumper and cross country crowd

Mickelm bridle nosebands are designed to work like a figure 8 but they avoid the sides of the horses mouth so that it doesnt rub against their teeth
The nosebands have the same overall function (preventing the horse from opening his mouth too much and holding the bit in his place). But some are more severe than others.

A beginner or "average" rider should climb only with a French noseband because it allows the horse to defend himself from a hand fault. A more experienced rider could use any noseband (soft hand).

However, the morphology of the horse is also an important criterion. You have to try several models to see which is more suitable.
It is to find a noseband that does not crush the lower jaw or the main nerves of the horse. The inside of the cheeks must also be monitored.

It is necessary to choose the right size (it must not rise too high or go down too low on the chamfer). It must be well regulated to avoid pain.
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