Should I buy a figure 8 noseband and can I put it on my regular bridle?

I’ve notice my OTB is opening his mouth every time I ask him to slow down or stop. I was wondering if a figure 8 noseband would help me slow him down. My mom wants to try and different bit but I feel he’ll open his mouth even with a different bit. What do you guys think? And also if I buy a figure 8 noseband can I put it on my regular bridle or do I need to buy a whole new bridle? Thanks!

why don’t you ask your trainer rather than a forum of people who don’t know you or your horse?

I have talked to my trainer, thank you but I would like others opinion on it too so I have multiple people. And the people on here have had experiences and most know a lot about horses

In the old days, people generally had one bridle and switched out the noseband or reins as needed. I still own the figure-8 I used in the 70s for cross-country and have used it on my mare occasionally as she tends to chew on the bit and cock her head sometimes. It does help. No need to buy an entirely new bridle.

After you check his teeth and check your bit for rough spots and make sure he has no sore spots in his mouth and ask your trainer what you’re doing to make your horse open his mouth, and have fixed all those things, yes, you can put a figure eight on a regular bridle. If you still think you need it.

(Can you tell that I think tieing a horse’s mouth shut is the most over used substitute for training the horse and/or rider in current use? Well, that and drugs.)

Depending on what bit you’re using, I might try switching first. For example, if you’re using a single-jointed snaffle, they put a lot of pressure on the tongue when you activate the reins, so your horse might not like that. A mullen mouth puts pressure more on the bars, and a double-jointed bit would spread pressure across the bars and tongue.

I wouldn’t necessarily bit up, just try a different shape if you haven’t yet already.

My jumper would toss her head every time you applied pressure to the reins. She was going in a single jointed snaffle at the time. I tried the figure eight route but eventually started playing around with different bits. Went to a three ringed double jointed elevator, a gag, mullen mouth, french link loose ring and a double jointed snaffle.

The hardware that so far works the best with my OTTB is a comfort mouth Myler bit and a Micklem bridle. I’m confident I can wean her off of the Micklem bridle into her old regular bridle but this is working well right now and I don’t want to jinx it.

I found that when my jumper would toss her head around when I applied rein pressure was because the pressure was too much for her so she was trying to evade it. Bitting up made it worse, bitting down worked wonders for her.

Yes, check his teeth first, OP.

Having a figure 8 noseband in your tack room is a good addition. You can get one quite cheaply; you do not have to get a top of the line.

Yes you can use it on your regular bridle; just change the noseband out. But, like a jigsaw puzzle, you will need to look at a picture to figure what goes where.

I prefer the type without the rings. The one where there are just 2 long pieces of leather, one on each side that cross over the nose. With that kind you can make sure that there is a continuous pressure all the way down. With the kind with the rings on the cheek bones, you have one tightness under the jowl and another degree of tightness for the figure 8 part.

If it does not help this horse’s problem, you will still be happy you own it down the road.

Not every decision requires a degree in brain surgery. Try it. If it works, then good. If it makes your horse fuss with his head and try to evade the bit, then look into all the other things that posters recommend.

Well sheeit that just about defeats the purpose of this whole forum, doesn’t it?

OP, a horse gaping his mouth when you pull on him is a pretty crude problem. By that, I mean he needs an education to the bit (maybe you need some for your riding) and maybe strapping his mouth closed with a figure 8 would be a temporary part of the fix.

Obviously, he can open his mouth less with that noseband. And of the “strep 'em closed” options out there, I think a figure-8 is about the softest one.

But really, your horse needs a couple of substantial, deeper, more time-consuming bits of training:

  1. He needs to be taught “the right answer” to pressure on his mouth when you pull. The right answer is, really, “soften your jaw and poll” not “stay hard and let the person pull on you.”

  2. Your horse needs to be taught how to use his hind end so that he is strong enough to rock back on his hind end and slow down or stop softly when you ask.

So you have compounding mental- and physical problems to work on.

  1. You shouldn’t be riding in such a way that has so much hand, so hard and for so long, that the horse gapes his mouth when you apply pressure.

Riding from your leg, to your hand and using it softly but effectively is a third, substantial part of your fix.

A figure 8 (or a flash, or a drop noseband) fits in here just at the beginning of the training (if your hands aren’t that good) as a crutch for your horse. I don’t consider it a cure to the gaping problem alone.

Maybe the complicated, correct fix is the reason that poster told you to ask your trainer. Your problem takes more than a piece of tack to fix. But you can do it! Keep asking questions if you need to.

A figure eight, properly fitted and adjusted can gently spread any pressure created by the horse opening it’s mouth along the horse’s face, restrict how far open the horse can get it’s mouth, and prevent excess movement of the bit.

Fitting and adjusting it can be tricky if you haven’t used one and aren’t familiar with how to do this. Best to get someone (your trainer?) to help you with it so you are sure you won’t be doing more harm than good.

Note that you cannot use a standing martingale with a figure eight, because it will cause the noseband to tighten unevenly, causing pain.

A noseband by itself will not ‘slow the horse down,’ nor will any specific type of bit accomplish this on its own. It’s important to follow an overall training program, so working with an experienced instructor is very important.

Do you understand the concept of a forum?!