The nose knows! But do you know what noseband is right for you and your horse? There are so many options. Let's look at the most common types of nosebands.
Also known as the english noseband, standard noseband, or plain noseband. This is the most popular noseband and most horses tolerate it very well. The regular noseband keeps the horse from opening their mouth to the extreme, and you can attach a standing martingale to this noseband.
Also known as the aachen noseband. This noseband adds a strap to help keep the mouth closed, and also helps stabilize the bit in the mouth. You can also use a standing martingale with this noseband. Its important to not overtighten this noseband; it is designed to help remind the horse not to gape their mouth, NOT to force the mouth closed. Some horses actually prefer this noseband as it keeps the bit stable and quiet in the mouth.
Also known as the grackle or mexican noseband. This noseband is popular amongst jumpers, but can be used on any horse. This noseband can help prevent a horse from crossing its jaws, and can be more comfortable as it doesn't lay against the teeth. Some horses find it less restrictive as it lays diagonally across the face. You cannot use a standing martingale or any tiedown with this noseband.
Also known as a Swedish noseband. The name of this noseband is misleading, it is NOT meant to be cranked tight! The bottom of the noseband, under the chin, has a pulley action that allows you to make the noseband tighter than other nosebands. However it is NOT meant to force the mouth closed. This noseband is common in Dressage, and is often paired with a double bridle. However, any horse that prefers plenty of padding on their noseband might do well in the crank noseband.
Also known as the Hanoverian noseband. This noseband is not as common, and is most often seen in Dressage. It helps to keep the horse from gaping its mouth, and also helps stabilize the bit in the mouth. It cannot be used with a standing martingale or any tiedown. Proper fit is especially important in the drop noseband to ensure it is not too low on the muzzle, constricting airways.
Also known as a puller noseband. This is not a very common noseband and is used for a specific purpose - horses who pull on the bit, or who respond well to nose pressure. This noseband transfers pressure off the bit and onto the nose. It does not prevent the horse from gaping its mouth, as it doesn't completely encircle the nose like other nosebands. It cannot be used with a martingale of any type.
Also known as the combination, or combination lever noseband. Thia noseband works similar to a figure 8 noseband. It prevents the horse from crossing its jaws with the metal bars it has. It can also be helpful for horses who get rubbed or sensitive around the corners of their mouth, as it keeps the noseband well away from the corners of the mouth. This cannot be used with a standing martingale.
This is a newer addition to the noseband family, and is actually referring to the entire bridle. The Micklem is designed to avoid pressure on the bony and sensitive areas of the face. It works similarly to a drop noseband, preventing gaping and helping to stabilize the bit. Optional clips can be added to attach the bit rings to the noseband, making it more like a Kineton noseband. When these clips are used (not pictured), bit pressure is transferred to the noseband.
Okay, so this is not a type of noseband - but certainly should be considered if your horse seems unable to tolerate most nosebands. Going without a noseband is perfectly acceptable, and is actually the norm in Western riding.
I hope the above information helps you decide what is best for your horse. No matter what noseband you pick, ensure it is properly fitted and adjusted. You should be able to fit at least 1 finger, if not 2-3 fingers, under any noseband. A good guide to go by is if your horse cannot take a sugar cube from your hand and chew it, the noseband is too tight. Best of luck picking the perfect noseband for you and your horse!
The Info Pony