First of all, does the word natter translate into American English? It may be one of my favorite words. Along with ninny. So today I’m a silly ninny nattering about nosebands.
This past weekend, while assisting a friend in her own horse shopping adventures, I witnessed some very, erm, strong opinions on nosebands. In the world of dressage, there’s a lot of different nosebands that are totally legal. Flash nosebands, regular cavessons, drop nosebands, figure-eights… all totally legal. Beyond dressage, there are even more options. And in this individual’s opinion, the flash was the only thing a dressage horse should go in and the rest of it (as in a bridle without a flash) was “hunter jumper stuff.”
Now I’ve used a flash noseband plenty of times, but my main preference is to go without if possible. So as soon as I purchased the PS of Sweden bridle, I tossed the flash attachment in the bag and never looked back.
To me, a flash can easily mask training issues, like bracing against the bit and hide underlying tension in the form of gaping and gnashing the bit. I have nothing against those that use a flash in their training, so long as the flash is at an appropriate looseness. But plenty of times I have seen a horse with the flash making an obvious depression in the horse’s skin, to me an unfair application of equipment for the sake of a better impression. For me, I go the way of the Wofford when it comes to flashes.
But then there are other controversial nosebands out there. Some people absolutely abhor crank nosebands, reasoning that they invite overtightening. Some dislike a dropped noseband, or a big floofy noseband, or a thin noseband, because of aesthetics or other reasons. For instance, I’m not a huge fan of the way Micklem bridles look with their noseband. But I have no beef with those that use them, since I appreciate that the riders who use them are doing so for the comfort of the horse. Nonetheless, there are dressage enthusiasts who would wish them out of the arena in a second.
It’s interesting to me that for such a basic piece of leather, that there are boundless options that elicit so many opinions from horsepeople. Whatever your style, or beliefs, or discipline, I’m guessing you took some kind of consideration into what adorns your trusty steed’s snout.
What do you use on your horse? What is your rule for tightening, if you use a crank or otherwise? What nosebands do you avoid at all costs? What options would you consider other than your current choice?