Know your nosebands

With a variety of different nosebands on the market can make it difficult to know which one would be most beneficial but each one has a specific purpose.

All nosebands aid increased control of the horse or pony either on their own or pairing with another piece of tack i.e. a flash or martingale. Ensuring you have the right noseband to suit your horse is vital for their comfort and happiness as well as that of the rider for a relaxed ride.

Things to consider before trying out a new noseband

Before making the decision to switch your horse’s noseband, it is important to look at other factors which may be causing your horse to become unsettled or reluctant to the riders aid/contact. Ill-fitting tack i.e. saddle, bit or bridle as well the horse’s well-being can cause discomfort or pain.

Different types of noseband

Nosebands need to be carefully and correctly fitted for full advantage and does not interfere with the bit or cause discomfort from being too tight or too loose. Another point to note is if it is going to be used for competitions purposes make sure you check the rule book as not all nosebands are allowed – especially for dressage.

A cavesson noseband is the most common and simplest type and can give an aesthetic appeal when showing or riding. A cavesson encircles below 1-2 inches of the cheekbone and helps to keep the horse from opening his mouth. A flash with an attachment or a standing martingale can be added for extra control.

A crank noseband is similar to a cavesson yet the noseband is padded underneath with a leveraged buckle that doubles back and when tightened can help to prevent the horse evading the bit and helps to keep the horse’s mouth closed.

A flash noseband is a cavesson noseband with an added attachment of an extra strap that comes in front of the bit known as a flash. The benefits of using this type of noseband is it prevents the horse from opening his mouth and crossing his jaw yet holding the bit steady in the horse’s mouth.

A grakle noseband creates a figure of eight that crosses over the cheekbone, down to the chin groove where it attaches to the buckle then comes under and past the groove and back over the cheekbone, which is kept in place with a leather pad with some having sheepskin to prevent rubbing. The main purposes of using this noseband is to reduce the horse from crossing his jaw or opening his mouth as added pressure will be put on the bridge of his nose and chin groove.

A drop noseband sits lower on the horse’s nose and encircles the chin groove in front of the bit. This helps to reduce the horse from opening his mouth and crossing his jaw as pressure is applied low on the nose but once the horse relaxes the pressure stops and then has the same benefits of a cavesson noseband.

​Another point to consider is using a soft sheepskin noseband cover to discourage the horse from raising his head too high and becoming unbalanced. Other benefits include reducing the pressure or pinching from nosebands and will help the horse to become more relaxed to the riders contact.


If you are still unsure on which is the best option for your horse or if you are trying on a new noseband, an instructor on the ground or in the saddle can help gauge if they think the horse may need something different.

If you would like to view more of our equestrian equipment, head over to ArdMoor now.

Ardmoor teamBuyers guidesEquestrianGuidesHomeNews
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