Left: A simple bridle without a noseband is the most pleasant, force-free
scenario because it allows the horse unlimited chewing activity and does not
restrict him in any way.
#2: An English noseband (sometimes called a "cavesson") is the mildest
noseband you can use--if buckled fairly loosely. The jawband runs directly
under the cheekbone around the horse's head, resting on solid, less
pressure-sensitive bone. When the reins are tightened, the pressure is
dispersed onto the nasal bone and the lower jaw, and it is further lessened
by a wide strap. The noseband prevents the opening of the horse's mouth,
but still permits sufficient chewing activity. Because of its high position
on the head, it does not impede the horse's breathing.
#3 A dropped noseband can be the most troublesome for horses because it is
so often used without an understanding of its purposes and with intended
force. When used by hard hands, pressure points are focused on the chin
groove and the lower, sensitive area of the nasal bone. If adjusted too
high, this noseband pulls the bit into the corners of the horse's mouth. If
adjusted low, it restricts the horse's breathing. There should be room for
two or three fingers between the noseband and bone in order to make such
restriction bearable for the horse.
#4: A figure eight noseband has crossed straps that can slip if the rosette
in the middle has not been stitched tightly. The often thin, rounded straps
may cut into the horse's skin.
#5 A lever noseband. Both of these noseband styles extensively restrict
the chewing activity because of the straps surrounding the lower jaw,
although breathing is not inhibited.
The English noseband remains preferable because it only encompasses the
lower jaw once and does not restrict chewing activity.