Five Steps To fit a Drop Noseband
Why would you want to use one
Drop nosebands are often used by trainers starting young horses because they help to stabilise the bit in the horses mouth. This also helps to prevent them opening the mouth too much and evading a contact; young horses sometimes do this when they are learning about having a bridle on. Our five steps to fit a drop noseband has been written to help riders and owners fit a drop noseband properly. We are of course happy to help with fitting advice.
If you are concerned about a horse evading the contact, we would of course always advise you to seek the advise of a veterinarian in case of another underlying issue.
The Spanish Riding School were the first inventors of this type of noseband and always have one in the tack room for their young horses. Once the rider feels that the horse is confident in holding the bit, people often change to other nosebands such as the cavesson. However some horses do seem to prefer the stability that a drop noseband provides and continue to stay in one.
Our five tips to fit a drop noseband
1. NEVER fit a drop noseband too tightly. As with all bridle parts, it should not be fitted tightly. The purpose is not to clamp the horses mouth shut, but to offer stability. You should always be able to slide a finger under the whole noseband, all the way around. It should not affect jaw mobility
2. ALWAYS make sure you fit the drop noseband above the “fleshy” part of the nose. It should sit on the bony part of the nose (not too tightly of course!). If your are not sure, use you hands to feel over the horses face until you can feel the bone. As a guide, it should be around 6cm above the nostrils (about a hands width). The horse should be able to easily flare the nostrils. If it is fitted too low there is the possibility to cause stress fractures to the nasal bones (dramatic, but certainly possible!)
3. NEVER fit a standing martingale to a drop noseband. They are not designed for this use. If you feel your horse needs a standing martingale, then there are other noseband options that may be suitable
4. THE sides of the noseband straps should not interfere with the eyes. They should sit far enough away that the horses’ vision will not be impaired (nor cause any irritation).
5. THE drop noseband rings should not interfere with the bit rings. The width across the nose should be far enough away that the noseband rings do not touch the bit rings. We also recommend that you do not use a loose ring snaffle (with large rings) with a drop noseband as theses have much wider bit rings (as do other bits such as the universal gag).
We hope that this has helped you to fit a drop noseband correctly. Every horse is different and there is not a ‘one size fits all’ rule- they are one of the trickier nosebands to fit and we are of course always happy to help.
To view our range of drop nosebands please click here