What type of noseband is currently fitted on your bridle? Is it one that you chose or one your instructor or yard manager recommended? Maybe it’s the same noseband that your horse wore when you bought them, and you’ve never changed it? At Elevator Equestrian, we sell four different styles of noseband – the cavesson (in ‘regular’ or crank style), the cavesson with flash, the grackle and the drop. All are common nosebands regularly seen on horses competing, hacking, racing and hunting but what is the intended purpose of each? Let’s take a closer look!
The Cavesson Noseband
The cavesson in its simplest form is just a plain noseband, which can then be made more interesting with a rolled, raised, patent or coloured finish. When it’s fitted correctly the cavesson has no action on the horse at all. It can be used to attach a standing martingale if you ride in one, but it doesn’t have any influence on the horse’s mouth or the bit. In fact, a cavesson is more likely to be included to make the horse look smarter, or to break up a long face – in short, for aesthetic reasons! Crank cavesson nosebands have a different attachment to a regular cavesson with two D-rings and a buckle under the horse’s chin. They have attracted some negative sentiment thanks to some riders over-tightening the noseband causing discomfort to the horse – not helped by the name ‘crank’, most likely! But when fitted correctly, a crank noseband should offer an exceptionally comfortable fit.
The Flash Noseband
The flash noseband, which is also known as the Aachen noseband, is a thinner strap which attaches to a cavesson noseband (crank or normal) and then drops down at an angle below the bit. The flash is designed to keep the horse’s mouth closed and prevent them from evading the action of the bit. They are also useful for keeping a jointed loose-ring snaffle central but have fewer options for adjusting and fitting it than a grackle noseband. If you ride in a standing martingale then the inclusion of a cavesson means you can still attach it and use a flash.
The Mexican Grackle
The Mexican Grackle is a cross noseband designed to relieve pressure on the cheeks and teeth thanks to its higher cut than a flash. Because it applies pressure over a wider area and more evenly, it’s seen as being kinder. It also has rings instead of fixed leather joints which mean that the noseband can pivot and offer more flexibility. The grackle is often used to remind the horse not to open its mouth or cross its jaw in order to evade the action of the bit.
The Drop Noseband
Drop nosebands are designed to discourage a horse from opening its mouth to evade the action of a bit but sit in a lower ‘dropped’ position compared to the other noseband styles. Drop nosebands are a popular training aid in the hands of professionals working with younger horses. That’s because they are helpful when the horse is learning to accept the bit, as they aim to stop it horse crossing its jaw. Drop nosebands can also be useful for helping the bit stay in a central and stable position in the mouth, again helpful for young horses being taught steering!
Here at Elevator, we have various different rolled, plain, white and patent leather versions of these noseband styles to choose from. Plus, our founder Jo is the font of all knowledge when it comes to the bridle and noseband style which best caters for your needs. Why not take a closer look and drop us a line if you need some help or advice? https://www.elevatorequestrian.co.uk/products/bridle-parts.html