Limebrook Farm Livery Yard
Introduction to Nosebands
A noseband is the part of the horse's bridle that goes around the mouth and jaw of the horse.
All pictures on this page are reproduced with permission from the Shires online catelogue
A well trained horse can be ridden in a cavesson noseband (pictured below). The cavesson is the simplest noseband. When fitted correctly it should have little or no action on the horse's head.
If a cavesson noseband is fitted correctly you should be able to fit two fingers under it.
Show jumpers and polo ponies sometimes wear rope cavessons which are far more severe than leather ones.
Another common form of noseband is the drop noseband which is fitted with the back strap passing below the bit. When fitted correctly it can increase pressure on the nose and lower jaw, and on the poll. Care must be taken not to fit it below the base of the nasal bone as this can affect the horse's breathing. The drop noseband stops the horse opening his mouth and evading the bit, thereby ensuring the rider remains in control.
A form of noseband you will see very often is the Flash noseband. In this case there is an additional strap added to the cavesson and which is fitted below the bit.
The advantage of the flash noseband is that it can be used with a standing martingale, whereas a dropped noseband cannot.
Another advantage is that the 'flash' can be removed when the horse is less likely to be strong (in summer months for example when the horse is at grass). A 'flash' can also be added to a standard cavesson by a simple attachment.
A Cavesson with Flash
A Mexican noseband is considered to prevent a horse from crossing his jaws, and sits higher up the face. Other similar nosebands are the Grakle or Figure of Eight. These nosebands work by putting pressure on the horse's nose. The central point should not lie below the nasal bone.
A Mexican Noseband
The Kineton Noseband is thought by some to be a very severe noseband, but a totally opposite school of thought puts it as a gentle one to use for horses that tend to put their heads down and run, and do not like poll pressure.
If your horse gives you a problems it may well be worth looking at a different noseband - espeically if your particular problem is braking!
Not all bridles need a noseband and as with bits you can use trial and error to see which suits your horse and your style of riding best.
If your horse holds it's head too high you might want to try a sheepskin noseband which some think persuades him to carry his head lower. This is a simple piece of sheepskin which fits over the cavesson noseband.
Nosebands come in a variety of designs, and can be purely decorative. Nosebands can help give a correct appearance to a horse's turnout at shows - if your horse has a long face a high noseband can make it appear shorter. Different nosebands may make your horse more attractive.
As well as the look, nosebands can be designed to discourage a horse from opening his mouth and evading the bit. Nosebands also serve a purpose in stopping a horse from pulling, and sometimes it is worthwhile changing the noseband before looking for a more severe bit.