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    11-20-2009, 04:57 PM
Green Broke

I have a question for you English discipline riders. What is the purpose of the flash noseband (or any noseband other than your regular cavesson that I see on English bridles)? I've heard that it is to keep the horse from opening its mouth to avoid the bit. If that's the case, why do you not just take some pressure off their mouth? Is it necessary to tie their mouths shut?
Forgive me if this sounds like I am bashing you English riders,because I am not at all. I just ride western and this seems odd to me. I have always been taught that if a horse is opening its mouth to avoid the bit, then there is something wrong, like they are uncomfortable or something. Wouldn't tying their mouth shut cause the nutcracker of the snaffle to poke the soft palate and put more leverage ability on the bars since the horse cannot open its mouth to try to relieve the pressure??... Thank you guys for straightening this out for me.

You see to me it looks like this horse is very uncomfortable and stiff. Shouldn't the comfort of the horse prevail over the looks in the show ring?
I'm not meaning to offend anyone at all, just seems kind of cruel to me.
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    11-20-2009, 05:00 PM
Super Moderator
I believe that is a flash and it's to keep the horses mouth shut.
    11-20-2009, 05:49 PM
The flash provides additional support to the horse's jaw, in particular to its lower jaw. This is particularly useful for a horse that needs to be encouraged to take contact, such as a young dressage horse in training. The flash can also be useful for a horse that has already learned to gape its mouth to avoid contact, however it should NOT be used to hold the horse's mouth shut. A horse should be allowed some movement in its jaw to allow the horse to be soft in the mouth, and to have a relaxed and therefore responsive jaw.

I use a dropped noseband with Frida. The nose band provides support
Of the horse's lower jaw, much like the Flash, however it has the advantage of not sitting along
And not pulling the cheeks into the horse's molars as would a cavesson.
    11-20-2009, 06:10 PM
I ride english and I don't use a noseband my horse was never trained with one, so he gets very uncomfortable and misbehaves when I use one on him. That being said, I expect him to give to contact on his own free will, not because I'm yanking him into it.

The worst noseband is the crank cavesson used in dressage, seriously, even the name sounds cruel.
    11-20-2009, 06:19 PM
Green Broke
See, that's what I was thinking, since how I understand, English is a very disciplined discipline, with an emphasis on good training and rider/horse connection, shouldn't the horse be able to comfortably give to the bit and have a relaxed collected expression without having its mouth tied shut if it has an adept rider and is trained properly? Yet in competitions I always see horses with expressions like the one I put in my OP, and a lot that I see have the nose bands to keep their mouth shut especially in jumping....
Thanks guys for the replies.
    11-20-2009, 06:44 PM
The flash should only be put on tight enough that you can still fit your fingers between that and the horse nose and the band. It is suppose to assist in not allowing the horse to resist the bit but it is not suppose to inhibit their actions nor breathing. Unfornuately dressage is very old classical mind set which even if your horse could go without it you still have to wear it. It was created for a purpose but not always is it needed. Sort of like in Western riding when your horse hits a certain age they have to use a shank even if you could do everything in a snaffle and your horse is happy going in it. Some things are pure tradition.
    11-20-2009, 06:51 PM
Wanted to post a little better picture of the use of flash band. Here is Karen O'Connor on Upstage.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Karendressage2.jpg (29.0 KB, 108 views)
    11-20-2009, 09:10 PM
Remember that you can't say "all you english riders". There are many different disciplines, training styles, levels, and opinions in the english world. That would be like saying every western rider/horse has a curb bit or tie down
    11-20-2009, 10:59 PM
Green Broke
hiwaythreetwenty- See, even in that pic, the horses lips are open like it is trying to open its mouth... Which makes sense the way the rider has its neck all shrimp curled behind the vertical...

1dog3cats17rodents-I never said All English riders use them, I realize that that is a broad generalization and is very unfair and would never group all riders like that...

I just can't seem to get my mind around the fact that people would use something to prevent a horse form showing it is uncomfortable... Obviously gaping mouth means discomfort or "avoiding contact" why would they avoid contact with the bit if it didn't make them uncomfortable?

And why does a horses jaw need support? That just seems like a vague excuse to hold their mouth shut.... can't they support it on their own? Are horses really that inept they can't hold their own jaws without something to support it? I just don't get it..
I am honestly not trying to be petulant, I am just trying to understand. But to me it seems like the nose band is used as a crutch for riders just like tie downs and draw reins and such, to force the animal to do something uncomfortable just to make them look better. It makes more sense to me to just work out the horses issues with the bit than to try to force them to "make contact" by making sure they cannot open their mouths and just have the nose band for decoration for "traditions sake" but not to where it keeps the horse form expressing its discomfort...
I am in no way trying to argue with anyone, I'm just trying to get it in black and white if nose bands are used as a crutch or if they have any real value whatsoever in English riding other than its just tradition...

As a person raised and riding western, I am just trying to understand English better. Just so yall know, the big reason I am asking is I was having a conversation with some of my old rodeo buddies and English riding was brought up. Now I am in no way biased toward English, I don't think western is better or superior in any way... but unfortunately most of my friends do, and they began saying that English is all about silly tradition and looking disciplined and such. Where as I am trying to be open minded, it got me thinking and then I saw the pic that I posted and was like, "wow, that horse looks very unhappy" and read up a little on nose bands and such and all I can get is a bunch of stuff about "supporting the horses mouth" and "used to keep the horse on the bit" but none of that really makes sense at all to me.
    11-20-2009, 11:15 PM
Sorry, only had time for a quick post before...

I do use a loose flash band. My boy loves to play with his mouth. Even without a bit he likes to grind his teeth, but with the bit he gets very "into" the bit, chewing and grinding, etc. The bit doesn't matter, he's healthy his teeth were recently floated, he's just a baby who likes to play. The flash prevents him from chewing quite so much. He still can play with the bit, but not too a point he is totally zoned out.

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