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Snaffles in dressage

This is a discussion on Snaffles in dressage within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Why only snaffles in dressage
  • Why are all riders in snaffles at the olympics

View Poll Results: Do you think a snaffle with drop/flash noseband is better than a double bridle?
Yes 8 72.73%
No 3 27.27%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

 
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    08-10-2008, 03:49 PM
  #11
Yearling
Thanks for explaining that! I only ever see horses being ridden in snaffles or the occasional gag, so while I know that curbs provide leverage and put pressure on the poll, I don't know much more than that. Your explanation has put your question into context for me :)
     
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    08-10-2008, 04:56 PM
  #12
Banned
[quote="ponyboy"]
Quote:
Originally Posted by claireauriga
A curb makes the horse transfer their weight to the hind end and drop their head vertical, which is how they are supposed to be in dressage. It's about leverage..
Not entirely correct. High level dressage can be performed in a snaffle only. At the level the double is used it allows the rider to refine the aids given. The snaffel does not have quite that capability but can and is used in the training of higher movements.

In competition the playing field is raised and refinement at it best is mandatory so the double is usually used..
     
    08-10-2008, 07:06 PM
  #13
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by ponyboy
The pressure on the poll and chin that a curb provides is what puts the horse in the proper frame. Snaffles only pull straight back, which is why if you try to put a horse in a fame using a snaffle they will open their mouths, so you need a flash noseband to stop that. When you collect a horse in a snaffle you are literally asking them to "stop" and "go" at the same time. A curb makes the horse transfer their weight to the hind end and drop their head vertical, which is how they are supposed to be in dressage. It's about leverage.

My question is whether people think hauling on a snaffle bit the horse can't escape from (because of the flash) is still less harsh than using a double bridle.
I don't think I would agree with all of that. I've never used anything but a snaffle to teach a horse to go in a frame. You begin teaching a horse to go on the bit by teaching them to submit to it, which is very possible (and IMO ideal) with a snaffle. In fact, you would never start a horse using a double bridle! A horse should know how to collect and go on the bit in a snaffle by the time you start using a double. A snaffle can do quite a bit and the action it has on a horse is a lot more complicated then "pulling straight back", just like 'stop' is a lot more complicated then just pulling on your reins. Now a beginning level frame and a grand prix level frame are different and to get a grand prix level frame a double bridle is much more effective because of the curb, leverage, etc.

I honestly don't know why so many dressage riders use a flash. They aren't even allowed in the hunter ring, where opening mouths/evading the bit is also penalized. Anyone have an answer to that? I do think hauling on the snaffle with a flash is harsh! But hauling on any bit is harsh...
     
    08-11-2008, 01:46 AM
  #14
Foal
The point of the flash noseband is as people say to stop the horse opening in the mouth, that is, to stop it resisting the rein contact, some horses use opening their mouths as an evasion, or, they get the bit under their tounge.

I really think the serverity of the bits is caused by the individual rider, and the way that the bits are used
     
    08-11-2008, 12:00 PM
  #15
Showing
I also don't know why so many dressage riders are riding with a flash.. I personally don't like them, and don't use them.
A bit is only as harsh as the hands behind them.
     
    08-11-2008, 12:30 PM
  #16
Green Broke
A double bridle is used (or is supposed to be used) only in the upper levels of dressage, where the advanced movements come into play...introduce it prior to that, and you are making up for a lack of training :) By the time you introduce a curb bit, the horse must be under himself completely and moving from his hind through his back and then into the neck and head (not a headset by any means)

The flash is used to keep the horse's mouth closed - so they can't harden the corners of their mouth- but I am 100% sure you cannot show with them past a certain level. Again - well trained (or correctly trained) dressage horses don't need them. I think that the use of the flash stems from an unbalanced rider who is not steady in their hands...the horse gets a hard mouth because of it, so the rider introduces a mechanical cure (JMO)

In the correct hands, however, neither of these are harmful; nor one "more harmful" than the other :)
     
    08-11-2008, 03:43 PM
  #17
Yearling
Just to clarify, I'm not talking about low-level dressage here. I'm talking about what I saw in the Olympic eventing dressage - they were asking for collection, not just working paces, and yet about half the riders were using snaffles - nearly all of them with flash nosebands. I'm pretty sure flashes weren't allowed in dressage at all at one time either, were they?

Yeah, people are trying to take shortcuts in training. Unfortunately that's what happens when a sport becomes more popular and there gets to be more money involved.

My experience with this issue comes from Icelandics - they are ridden in snaffles with drop nosebands and since gaiting is the same as collection riders have the same problem with horses opening their mouths. I've heard people complain that all Icelandics seem to be heard-mouthd and stiff in the poll and I think this is the reason why. It is bad riding and I'm sorry to see the same thing happening in dressage.
     
    08-11-2008, 04:18 PM
  #18
Green Broke
I'm not sure if they've ever banned flashes in dressage... long as I can remember they've been allowed! When you are showing in dressage through USDF (US Dressage Federation) you can start using one at 3rd level. They become mandatory at some point, I believe Prix St. Georges? (someone correct me if I'm wrong!). When it comes to the dressage phase of EVENTING, then you can start using one at Intermediate but I don't think they're ever required. I think that's why a lot of Olympic riders are using snaffles/flashes, they are eventers first, dressage horses second. That's my guess anyways.
     
    08-11-2008, 08:33 PM
  #19
Yearling
Heh, a similar discussion goes on here.
     
    08-12-2008, 12:02 PM
  #20
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by upnover
I'm not sure if they've ever banned flashes in dressage... long as I can remember they've been allowed! When you are showing in dressage through usdf (US dressage Federation) you can start using one at 3rd level. They become mandatory at some point, I believe Prix St. Georges? (someone correct me if I'm wrong!). When it comes to the dressage phase of eventing, then you can start using one at Intermediate but I don't think they're ever required. I think that's why a lot of Olympic riders are using snaffles/flashes, they are eventers first, dressage horses second. That's my guess anyways.

Upnover, I probably had it backwards!
     

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