The Art of Fitting a Noseband Has Been Lost

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 16:06
Health Care
The noseband should sit between the nasal notch and infraorbital canal

-- by Vikki Fowler, Veterinary Equine Dental Technician

The Art of Fitting a Noseband Has Been Lost

It would appear the art of fitting a noseband has been lost. My Facebook is constantly flooded with nosebands sat so far down on the nose that they would be restricting the airways and causing pain. But obviously if people are posting these images, proud as punch, they have no idea what damage is being done. In fact a lot of the modern bridles encourage this!!

So here is a video of a horses skull. Pay particular attention to how thin the nasal bones are below the nasal notch. Note that on this skull, the right hand nasal bone has been fractured (I don’t know how, it was like this when I received it) which demonstrates how incredibly delicate these bones are. A noseband SHOULD NOT sit on these bones below the nasal notch. That includes drop nosebands, flashes and every other crazy noseband out there.

Now every horse is different. You can see from my three horses at the end of the video that sometimes the nasal notch is higher on some, lower on others. This means that there will be horses that can not wear a drop noseband because of their physiology. Accept this and find a noseband that does fit.

You will also note the infraorbital canal. This is an exit for a vast number of nerves and the noseband MUST NOT overlie this either. That includes grackles. The infraorbital canal is not as easy to feel as a small muscle sits over the top so the old rule of being 2 fingers below the facial crest will ensure you do not apply pressure to these nerves.

Now I know I will get loads of people saying “well why wear a noseband at all!?!” and you’re right, but a well fitted noseband does no harm at all. Whether it’s there or not is unimportant, as long as it is fitted correctly. And this applies to halters too.

Related Links
Noseband and Poll Pressures Underneath Bitless Bridles Measured
Boots and Bandages - Are we harming our horses as we try to protect them?
From the Horse’s Mouth... Actually the Horse’s Tongue

Eurodressage's Noseband Special
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?