Nosebands No Longer Compulsory in Dressage in NZL National Competition 

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 10:43
New Zealand
No noseband :: Photo © Silke Rottermann

The recent ESNZ Dressage Conference (New Zealand) passed a rule change that nosebands are now optional in all levels of national competition.

A remit put to the Planning Forum in April 2024 proposed this changed based on fairness to the horse and rider choice. It was moved a rule change be considered at the Annual July Conference where it was passed by a 26-2 vote majority. It was agreed that in times of considerable public scrutiny of gear used by dressage riders, that to make a noseband optional was a step to demonstrate willingness to change years of tradition in dressage sport – back to the future when nosebands were not the norm.  

The change became two pronged. The decision to not to wear a noseband was perceived to be fairer to the horse in the opinion of some, and this is undoubtedly true depending on the type of noseband used, its tightness, the correct training of the horse and the ability of the athlete. 

"It is the tight / wide / poorly fitted noseband that has created much public debate and rightly so. We have all seen it at some point.  This is about equine wellbeing and social license," said Sue Hobson, chair of Dressage NZ. 

"This rule change also gives athletes a choice – they can choose not to wear a noseband either because they believe it is better for their horse’s comfort,  or they prefer the visual look of their horse’s face without a noseband," Sue continued.

Hobson concluded: "Either way -  it is immaterial – the decision is with the athlete. It is inclusive approach allowing  athletes to make what they think is best noseband decision for them and their equine partner. "

Related Links
On the Ignorance of Noseband Tightness and Vague FEI Noseband Rules
The Art of Fitting a Noseband Has Been Lost
Effect of Noseband Positioning to Fascial and Neural Dynamics of the Head
ISES Suggest to Empower FEI Stewards to Control Tightness of Noseband
Vital Signs: Untightening the Question of Noseband Fit and Measurement
Noseband and Poll Pressures Underneath Bitless Bridles Measured

Must Read
Noseband Special: Part I: The History of the Noseband
Noseband Special: Part II: The Purpose of the Noseband
Noseband Special: Part III: Riders and Trainers on Their Choice in Noseband
Noseband Special: Part IV: The Thicker, the Wider, the Better?