Over the past 6 months riders have been adding drop nosebands to their bridles in herds! (While tack often comes in and out of popularity due to its presence in the big shows/pros/internationally, I’m curious as to your experiences with them.) What advantages do you find with this particular piece of tack?
Well firstly, it isn’t a fad. A figure eight and flash are more of a fad than a drop! They have been around for ages and are and have always been highly regarded in German training.
Drops provide a more comfortable fit than a flash or a figure eight. They help to prevent opening of the mouth while still allowing the horse to move their jaw and chew on the bit. I flat all of mine in a drop or Micklem (which has a drop action).
Really? I haven’t seen any outside of dressage in years. Where are you geographically?
I started riding in the mid 1980’s - used to see an occasional dropped nose band on a dressage horse - but they certainly were not popular in any ring.
Hardly saw any in the 1990’s - I distinctly remember ONE horse in our barn went in a dropped (out of 25+ event horses) and I was working at a large training center with 200+ horses at the time. Two event barns, two dressage barns, a jumper only barn, and three hunter/jumper/ eq. barns. I do not recall seeing any of them go in a dropped noseband.
But lately I have seen them in the jumper ring, and dressage rings.
So while it is an OLD piece of tack - it has become more “trendy” as of late. Just like how figure 8 became a must have for eventers after the US eventing team all wore them. I don’t think figure 8 had just been invented - but tack does go in and out of trends.
And I think they are generally not popular in eventing as you run a risk of constricting the airway if the horse does not have low set nostrils.
I really like the drop. When properly fitted it doesn’t restrict breathing or gentle chewing and prevents excessive opening of the mouth, or the horse gaping and bearing down on the bit. I use it quite frequently on a hot mare that likes to gape and chomp when faced with a new problem. With the drop, you can often go to a less severe bit than you would have with a regular cavesson. The dropped noseband also helps stabilize the bit, which some horses really like. The only downside to a properly fitted dropped noseband is it isn’t flattering to the horse’s head.
I haven’t much use for the flash, it really doesn’t do much unless you tighten it so much you distort the cavesson and at that point you are much better off using a drop anyways. The figure eight is used to stabilize the entire jaw and prevent crossing of the jaws and is not an alternative to the drop. All three pieces of tack have their place, but for fussy horses or those that just gape and bear down I find the drop to be best.
Not a “fad” as they hve been around “forever”, but apparently becoming popular again - which is, to me, a good thing.
A dropped noseband is FAR superior to both a flash and a figure 8 because you can set the POSITION and the TIGHTNESS separately.
For what it is worth, I like to set the dropped noseband quite high, but quite loose (2 fingers).
I can’t do that with a flash or a figure 8. If I make it loose enough, it hangs down too low. The only way to get it in the right place is to make it tighter than I want.
The flash is a bastardization created by the German auction system- to allow the demonstration rider to have something to attach the standing martingale to, while also preventing the horse from opening its mouth.
The figure 8 supposedly allows the horse to breathe more effectively. But if a dropped noseband is properly adjusted, it doesn’t interfere with breathing.
ETA that i will say that it is important that it fits properly. Often, with the non-adjustable type, the nose piece is too long, making the rings on the noseband interfere with the rings on the bit. For most horses, I much prefer the the with a couple of buckles that allow you to asjust the length of the nose piece.
I did see one recently on Reed’s new horse, Cos I Can. But you don’t really see an abundance of them in the jumper ring.
Very popular in Europe again, seemed to come in via the French and now lots in the drop. A far superior noseband to a flash too.