So, I loooveee bridles, I have actually lost count of how many I have :oops:
But I see a lot of negativity about the crank noseband (sometimes called a swedish cavesson).
I know that people say that it is too tight, and of course- tightening the noseband to keep the mouth closed is not really ideal (putting it mildly).
However, I find that the crank nosebands are, like any noseband- only as tight as you make them, and therefore have a hard time seeing the negativity behind it.
I'd really like to hear some thoughts or facts that people have around this- and perhaps help me understand said negativity ^.^
As you say, a noseband is only as tight as the person makes them. The negativity comes from the fact that it can be tightened much further than a normal noseband. Its because is works like a pulley does.
That being said, I ride all mine in crank nosebands, my mare looks odd in a normal one because her head is a funny shape, its a bit like a wedge shape - it tapers off to a tiny little muzzle, so the crank looks better as its able to lie flat even though it not tight at all.
I have a crank on my two year old Thoroughbred filly.
And I hate it.
Why? Because I don't use it to crank her mouth shut, and therefore it has the same function as a plain flat cavesson, but takes twice as long to buckle up. I'm a very lazy person by nature so why bother? My gelding's bridles are both plain flat cavessons, and I can do them up and undo them with one hand if I feel like it, very quickly and very easily.
I can't do that with the crank.
MY reasons for disliking them are purely lazy, and also because they were designed specifically to crank the mouth shut and therefore the design ENCOURAGES over-tightening and misuse. Unfortunately it is very difficult to find a nice quality dressage bridle without a crank and a flash these days, and, stupidly, it costs MORE to buy a 'show' bridle with a plain flat cavesson [less leather by far!! also less hours involved with the manufacture] than it does to buy a dressage bridle with a flash and crank. Usually raised and padded, nearly always with piping and a blingy browband. No thanks. I prefer my plain flat leather. But why should I have to spend MORE to get less?
Crank nosebands often have so much padding that they have to be looser than other nosebands to keep them from pushing the cheeks into the horse's teeth. Try squishing your cheeks into your teeth from the outside and you can see how uncomfortable this is. Many people put the noseband on so tight that rather than activating only when a horse opens their mouth, the pressure from the noseband is constantly on the face. I've even seen the face with all the skin smashed and pushed out around the noseband like a woman's belly when she is wearing jeans that are way too tight.
I don't find much difference between a crank and a regular noseband. However I don't tighten my nosebands tight to begin with unless I have a horse that likes to cross its jaw.
As for it being impossible to find nice dressage bridles without a crank or flash. I've never really had a problem. The only problem I have with dressage bridles is they all come with stoppers on the reins and that drives me mad. Why would I need stoppers on my dressage bridle reins?
Anyway cranks are like any other piece of tack out there, its only harsh if used incorrectly.
I love crank nosebands! I'm midgettly short and for taller horses I am perched on a stool trying to fiddle the bridles into place. Real easy to just pull the crank noseband to the proper fit and buckle it.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with a crank noseband IF you aren't cranking it down tightly!
There a gigundo warmblood where I board who has an Otto Shumacher bridle with a crank noseband. I absolutely love it because I don't need a stepstool, I can reach up there, pull it until I feel it hit the correct hole (he's the only one that's ever used this bridle, so only one hole in the noseband has wear) buckle it up, make sure no hairs are caught and done.
NB I don't think there are stoppers on my reins that came with my dressage bridle. I didn't go hog wild buying a really expensive one though (trainer told me to go middle of the road, good chance with a young, greenie that it would get destroyed but he's a good boy and it still looks new) I have a Bobby's dressage bridle with a regular noseband and a flash. I wish I'd bought the crank one though.... Mr Mouthy is busy contorting his entire mouth and trying to lip me while I struggle to buckle the regular one.
I've only used a couple bridles with crank nosebands, and I didn't care for them. They probably weren't super high quality (as they were the barn's tack for their schooling horses) but I found the thicker padding meant that it didn't lie on the horse's face correctly unless it was at least snug. In contrast, the plain cavessons that I've used have been very easy to leave quite loose without sticking out in strange ways.
I had a hell of a time finding a black bridle without either a flash or crank- most of the flash nosebands come off, but leave the tab hanging down on the horse's nose. My horse doesn't need his mouth strapped shut, and I don't find the look appealing.
As for the comment on strapping the horses mouth shut. There was no need for the snarky tone in that comment. It could easily have been "my horse doesn't need one and I don't like them anyway". Some horses do need the flash, and its not because they are over bitted or it hurts or any other million reasons people will try and say they are used for.
Wow let's learn about correct use of tack for a moment :)
The purpose of a swedish - or crank - with a flash is for use with a loose ring snaffle. The flash is meant to stabilize the bit in the horse's mouth that the loose rings are not clanging around. Not to "crank the horse's mouth shut".
I own various bridles with various closures. I do prefer a flat buckle on a noseband, as well I prefer the noseband to be large enough that it is on the second to last hole, or the last hole. That way, it is nearly impossible to get too tight by anyone. I do have cranks, and they do look nice, and as long as it is me doing them up, I am happy with them.
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