Questioning the Drop Noseband.
Having studied horsemanship for a few (plus) years, it seems I’m perceived as having reached the age of “wisdom.” Hmmmm… I’m not sure about that, but maybe that’s wisdom, since I’ve made enough mistakes to know I don’t have all the answers. In any case, people write to me and ask questions. I’ll post the questions that come up regularly, or are simply interesting concepts to discuss. Feel free to comment. This is really intended to be a discussion page.
Q: Is the drop noseband a wardrobe issue? Or, is there a purpose/function that makes sense if you have the horse giving you a soft feel?
A. It depends on who you talk to. Some English riders will say that a drop noseband helps keep the snaffle bit in place; that it steadies the bit and helps horses hold the bit in their mouth, keeping the tongue under the bit. As a temporary explanation, to provide clarity to the horse, that’s decent logic. It’s akin to temporarily tying the bit up on a green horse in a Western bridle (photo below).
The key difference between the Western and English application is the word, “temporary.” A drop noseband usually isn’t temporary, because a drop noseband also keeps the horse’s mouth closed. In many instances, horses wearing drop nosebands still have pursed lips, strain against the rider’s hands, and the horse’s mouth is open as far as they can get it. The drop noseband adds leverage. When you see a drop noseband, notice how tight the noseband is buckled. Ultimately, if the horse understands what the bit means and knows how to give to the bit, there is no need to add a noseband.
Feel free to comment. If you want to send me a question or comment (and wish to remain anonymous), you can also send e-mail through my website. http://www.bettystaley.com