Cavessons and snaffles

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Cavessons and snaffles

This is a discussion on Cavessons and snaffles within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category

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    07-01-2014, 06:43 PM
Exclamation Cavessons and snaffles

I've read that Cavessons keep a horse from opening it's mouth too much and if they fall it will reduce mout and face injuries. My mare is constantly opening her mouth and don't say it's the bit cause we've tried every humane bit and settled on an O-ring snaffle. Should I get one just I case. I run her a lot and I barrel race and I'm willing to look weird being a western rider with a Cavesson if it keeps my horse safe
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    07-01-2014, 07:04 PM
Super Moderator
You would really need to get a specific type of cavesson to prevent her opening her mouth - a figure 8, flash strap or a drop are the common ones - but you also need to look at why she's doing it - if the snaffle is getting into a position where its having a nutcracker action then its going to make her open her mouth to try to avoid the pain
2BigReds likes this.
    07-01-2014, 07:06 PM
@jaydee she doesn't like the bit. She'd rather go bit less but I barrel race nada t high speeds I need more brakes and whoa
    07-01-2014, 07:23 PM
Cavessons don't do anything apart from help stabilise the bridle. They're purely decorative.

If brakes are a problem you really need to concentrate on the schooling side to try to get the horse more between hand and leg. However, we all know horses 'forget' when they're doing something they love :) The grakle is a pretty strong noseband that helps stop a horse crossing its jaws, the most common evasion with a puller. Forget the Mexican Grakle - waste of time IMO. The traditional type, where the nosepieces run through loops at the ends of the cheeks rather than being fixed to rings, concentrates the noseband's action lower down the face where it's most effective.

Personally I'd always try a stronger noseband before going stronger in the mouth.
Clava likes this.
    07-02-2014, 12:10 PM
Cavessons don't even stabilize the bridle, all they do is decoration and stop a horses head/face looking too long

They were originally designed and used as an attachment point for a standing martingale - so unless you plan on using one of those they serve no real purpose

If I were you I would look at using a different bit - you don't necessarily need a stronger bit , just one that your horse is happy with.

Also you may consider further training - most horses will respond to voice commands or a shift in the riders weight to relay instructions - if all you are using is the reins and bit then there many forms of communicating with your horse that you aren't using
    07-02-2014, 01:08 PM
Super Moderator
If she doesn't like that bit then why not change it for something else? As I said - jointed snaffles don't suit all horses in all situations
    07-02-2014, 04:00 PM
Did you not see what I said in my post? We've tried every humane bit we can get our hands on. I'm just ask about a caveson. @jaydee
    07-02-2014, 04:05 PM
Super Moderator
I loathe tight cavessons. If you want to keep the mouth shut then try a drop noseband, my haffy wears one for that reason, but only with her dressage snaffle, she has a plain cavesson with her kimberwick for hunting.
    07-02-2014, 09:12 PM
Bodidley, with what information that you have gave so far I would have to guess that the problem is your riding(i.e. Pulling on the horses face) or a physical problem with your horse(ie. Teeth), either way a cavesson or 'mouth shutter' is only going to Band-Aid the problem not fix it.

The use of a cavesson or mouth shutter in western training should be adjusted loose enough that it doesn't keep the mouth tied shut and lets the horse relax the chin but when the mouth gapes the horse bumps into it encouraging him to keep his mouth closed.

Either way I suggest you find the root of the problem before using one even though you might have to use one for a short while to break the habit even after the problem has been resolved.
bsms, Foxhunter and Cynical25 like this.
    07-03-2014, 01:13 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by bodidley7    
Did you not see what I said in my post? We've tried every humane bit we can get our hands on. I'm just ask about a caveson. @jaydee
You just said that you've tried 'every humane bit' you could get your hands on - which to me doesn't mean that you've tried every bit available - especially as you've settled for a single jointed snaffle which is not a bit that I would use for a horse that opens its mouth to avoid it because that probably means its getting a nutcracker action when you give her a pull especially if her heads raised at the time
Forcing the horses mouth closed will help stop the cycle of behavior if its just a habit - but its not solving the reason why she's doing it if there's a reason such as to avoid pressure, to try to get her tongue over the bit

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