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Flash or Figure 8?
as the title says... which one is better and why?
the woman who owns the barn where i am boarding occasionally gives me "lessons" in exchange for me working her horses for her. tonight, she mentioned that i should get a flash noseband for my mare because she tends to gape her mouth open quite a bit.
all thoughts and opinions are welcomed :)
I'm not a fan of tying a horse's mouth shut to prevent gaping. Try and find out what is causing your horse to gape. If your horse is gaping it is most likely not relaxing the jaw and flexing at the poll correctly. She may dislike the bit, or the amount of rein pressure, she may need her teeth/mouth checked. She's gaping to avoid contact (which is not what you want) so rather than cosmetically hiding it (which is all that tying her mouth up does), get to the underlying cause and fix that or she'll never end up working properly.
Thanks for your response! i do think that she is gaping to avoid the bit... we just recently overcame our issue with rooting and now this has come up.
what would your suggestion be to try to get her to seek the contact rather than avoid it?
What is she going in at the moment? If you can try a few other bit types out that'd be very helpful. If she's trying to escape the nutcracker action of a single-joint bit I'd move to a french-link; if it's the thickness of the bit with a low palate or small mouth I'd try a thinner one (probably best to be a french-link as well); if she wants tongue relief I'd try a low port; if she doesn't like things moving around in her mouth I'd go with a mullen mouth.
Try keeping your contact as soft as possible, don't pull her into a frame with your hands because it'll be a false frame and will cause resistance and tension (the opposite of what you're aiming for).
Hope this helps!
right now she is going in a loose ring french link snaffle. so far she seems to like this bit the most.... before this was a regular snaffle but it seemed she was trying to escape the nutcracker action by rooting (or so we thought).
Do you have any pics of her bridled/ridden? That'd help heaps. She may also have tension in the poll or neck which can cause gaping, so you could think about getting a chiro out to check. With the pigrooting, did you have her saddle fit checked? If she's experiencing back pain (something you can check with the chiro) she may be tense throughout her body.
unfortunately no bridled or riding pictures. her saddle was checked (by the trainer) and she said it fits very well. she also doesn't show any signs of pain or soreness through the back.
the chiro is supposed to be coming out next week to look at another horse at the barn so i will see if they can squeeze my girl in at the same time.
Yeah, if you can get the chiro in that'd be good - there's definitely tension in her somewhere. If it's in the back or shoulders I'd get a pro saddle fitter out to make sure the fit was good.
Flash nosebands only do half a job, which is why some clever-clogs designed a crank fitting so you can really lever the horse's jaws together :( A drop noseband is better, IMHO.
A grakle (figure 8) is a strong noseband for horses that cross their jaws to pull. Good for jumping/cross-country because it attempts to get over a problem using the horse's strength against itself rather than rider vs horse. Unfortunately schooling won't always overcome excitement, and it's usually better to be safe than run away with.
I prefer just plain noseband, but it's harder and harder to find a good dressage bridle with one. :( I have flash on my show bridle, but I keep it loose when I ride (I don't need one, but it looks better when attached).
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