Crank, Flash, or Figure 8?
My mare sometimes opens her mouth to avoid the bit. I want to keep it shut, but I don't want to put on anything more than neccissary, or anything tighter than necissary. So what would you recommend- a crank, a flash, or figure eight caveson?
I've tried some of these already, but I want a general opinion of what people think is best. Thank you.
First make sure that her teeth are okay.
Because you say she only does it once in a while, why not just keep working with her through it. Are you going through a new phase in your training? She might just be resisting it a bit and showing you her frustration. If it were me, I wouldn't bother with a nose band.
What discipline do ride in primarily? If you're showing dressage, I don't think you can ride with a figure 8 nose band. I believe they are more of a jumper thing. The only real difference I see with them is that it creates less bulk around the cheek and bit.
If your really looking to keep her mouth shut, I don't think a crank nose band does that much. It just makes it easier for you to adjust the band and it also makes it easy to accidentally over tighten it.
If you do decide to go with a nose band, I think a simple flash would do. Be careful not to put it too tight because you still want her to mouth the bit and keep her jaw relaxed, not tense.
Thank you for your response!
I've done dressage, but I'm making the switch to jumping (and you're right, figure 8 isn't allowed in dressage.) My mare opens her mouth when she decides she wants to pull me to a jump rather than listening to me and going quietly. She does it in other situations as well, but there is an example.
However, I think you're right. There's more training issues there than her just opening her mouth, and strapping it shut isn't going to solve much. I'll re-think my approach :)
none of the above.
trot work. yes i sound like a broken record - get used to it lol because i've found trot works!
teach her to first SEEK the bit on a long rein by working on a forward steady trot. use your seat and legs to set the pace and regulate the rhythm of the trot. as she relaxes, eventually her back will come up and you will find her driving off her hind and reaching for the bit and into the bridle.
then and ONLY then take a very light yet still long rein contact. as the horse learns to accept the contact and you are able to follow the subtle movement of her head and mouth within her gaits, you will be forming an open line of communication with your horse. bits are not breaks - the are old fashioned wired telephones that let us talk directly to our horses.
as your horse learns to accept the bit and not brace the need for accessory tack and hardware will diminish. does this mean i am anti-fig-8? no not at all. as a matter of fact i use one. when in the hunt field for safety. but on the flat i always school with my curb rein off, in just a mullen snaffle (or whatever snaffle appropriate for the horse i am working) and often no noseband at all.
you see tying the horse's mouth shut doesn't encourage the horse to accept the bit. it simply forces them to find new ways to brace or evade. if you didn't want to take your meds as a kid, shoving it in your mouth and mom holding your mouth shut didn't make you swallow the meds did it? well... and even if it did... it wasn't a pleasant experience. then again who's tried to worm a horse that hates wormer haha!
point being is that if we want the bit to be a tool of communication and not a forced method of control, we need to teach the horse the language we want to speak, not change languages and force them into it.
hope that helps!
She has all the knowledge to carry herself properly, accept the bit, etc. She just "cheats" sometimes, you know?
But I COULD use my seat more when that happens, so I'm not saying it's all her fault! Just a dang balancing act.
Could it be the bit, My horse did the same thing when I tried him in a french link, but goes just fine in a snaffle
pyro - balancing act had me LOL bc i know JUST what you mean. my ottb will grind his teeth when pissy. even on a long rein. just cuz... so time to adjust my seat etc etc etc lol.
buckcherry - agree also re: bits. my one horse HATES anything with joints, even a three piece. and will rear at a single jointed snaffle bc he has a low soft palate.
playing around with different bits is always an option as well :)
Hmm, I could try a different bit. I just use a loose ring snaffle, but maybe she'd like a french link. It could be the nutcracker effect making her open her mouth. Now why didn't I think of that earlier? Lol. Thanks for drawing my attention to the cause rather than a simple fix!
glad that collectively we were able to help!
@ CJ82Sky - bits are not breaks - the are old fashioned wired telephones that let us talk directly to our horses.
Love it and its So True!!! Its kinda scary how many riders out there who would rather bit than ride - "Biting" I believe its called.
I had an old coach that use to say, "if your having problem with your horse over fences, go back to the basics and see were YOUR training is lacking, sometimes its the horse, but not all the time. And the best way to see the errors is stripping away all artificial training aids we use and put a nice happy snaffle in the horses mouthand just do some good old trot work... because trot work via flat work, pole work or even jumping little x's. You can find all your little rider errors. if you cant control your horses trot gate from going faster or slower or a completely different gait all together - than how are you suppose to control them at a canter or gallop? Trot is an excellent gait, cause you cant really fake anything if your jumping or going flat work!
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