Last updated: August 8, 2021

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Welcome to our big noseband test 2021. Here we present all the nosebands for horses that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best noseband for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying a noseband.




Summary

  • The noseband completes the bridle and consists of a noseband and neckpiece. There is a wide range of different types of nosebands to choose from, but you should question the usefulness of each type.
  • Correctly buckled, the noseband offers the advantages of supporting your horse's lower jaw, allowing chewing activity and ensuring that your horse doesn't resist rein aids.
  • However, if the noseband is buckled too tightly, it will hinder your horse's breathing and may also affect your favourite's facial nerves.

The Best Noseband: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a noseband

How is a noseband constructed and how does it work?

By definition, a noseband consists of a noseband and a headpiece and completes the bridle. Depending on the type, a locking strap may also be attached.

The noseband offers you support when riding, as it keeps your horse's mouth closed and prevents it from evading your aids. Because of this function, the noseband is also called a flash noseband.

If you have a sensitive horse that chews contentedly while riding, you can also consider leaving out the noseband. (Image source: pixabay.com / sv40)

The noseband also protects your horse from too much pressure on the lower jaw. Since the noseband supports the lower jaw, your horse can relax its chewing muscles while riding.

You must make sure that the noseband is never buckled too tightly. As a rule of thumb, there should be room for two fingers between the noseband and the bridge of the nose.

What is the difference to a snaffle?

A bridle is colloquially referred to as the entire head frame of the bridle, although it is actually only the mouthpiece with which you can steer your horse.

The bridle, like the noseband itself, is only part of the bridle. In addition to the noseband already mentioned, the noseband also consists of cheek pieces, buckles or leather buttons, depending on the type.

What is the noseband used for and is it really necessary?

The noseband is mainly used when riding in the English style to relieve the horse's lower jaw. However, it is often misused to "solve" rideability problems.

In fact, you will hardly notice if your horse resists your rein aids, as he cannot escape them with the noseband.

The effect of the noseband depends on the correct buckling. You can find out whether you really need it by simply leaving it off.

How do I find the right noseband for my horse?

The optimal fit of the noseband depends on the shape of your horse's head (shape & length of the head as well as the curve of the bridge of the nose). You should also consider beforehand what purpose you want to fulfil with the corresponding noseband.

It is important that you know the effect of your horse's equipment before you use it. Therefore, you should inform yourself thoroughly before deciding on a noseband for visual reasons. (Image source: unsplash.com / Kirsten LaChance)

In the decision section, we have listed all the different types of nosebands and how they work. There you can find out what benefits each bridle offers you.

If you are inexperienced with the buckling of nosebands and do not know which model is right for you, we strongly recommend a personal consultation.

What does a noseband cost?

If you buy a noseband without a snaffle, you will find offers between 15€ and 33€. The prices vary depending on the supplier and with well-known brands you can even pay up to 90€ per noseband.

Below we have included a table so that you can imagine what prices you should expect for which type of noseband.

Type of noseband Price range
English noseband 22€-40€
Hanoverian noseband 15€-90€
Mexican noseband 14€-48€

Please note that nosebands in combination with snaffles are more expensive and can reach prices of up to 200€ per model.

Is there an alternative to the noseband?

The only alternative to a noseband would be to go without one. If you ride without a noseband, you should have a good grip on your horse, as he can easily escape your reins by opening his mouth.

You should also be aware that the risk of injury to the mouth does not decrease without a noseband, but is even greater.

Decision: What types of nosebands are there and which is the right one for you?

There are countless different types of nosebands. Whereas in the past there were only a few central models, nowadays nosebands with new cuts and patterns appear at regular intervals.

A basic distinction is made between the following three classic nosebands, namely the...

  • English noseband
  • Hanoverian noseband
  • Mexican noseband

The following table lists all other types of nosebands as well as their central functions and additional interesting information about them.

Type of riding halter Features Additional information
Swedish riding halter Comfortable for horse and riderIn but the pull is greatly increased by integrated pulley Special form of English riding halter.
Combined or Irish noseband Due to additional locking strap the snaffle lies calmly in the mouth. The pressure is thus also distributed over the chin groove Special form of the English noseband. It combines the advantages of the Hanoverian and English halters.
German noseband The height of the noseband is not adjustable on this model It is the oldest model and is rarely seen today but most likely on Shetty and coldblood snaffles.
Bow noseband It has a relatively sharp effect and does not restrict the horse's breathing. However, it can restrict his chewing activity Commonly used on horses that let their tongue hang out to the side.
Kineton noseband The corners of the horse's mouth can be easily pinched. The noseband also sits very loosely and slips down Rarely seen today as it used to be used mainly for hunt riding in England.
American noseband It looks particularly sharp because the noseband is very thin and thus exerts pressure at certain points Mainly found in western riding so that the horse does not bite the cattle.
Micklem Bridle The relatively new model ensures optimum pressure distribution and is gentle on sensitive areas of the horse's head The Micklem Multi Bridle can be used with a bit or bitless.
The double noseband / double noseband The so-called "double noseband" precisely controls the horse's jaws as well as the mouth opening This model combines the high buckling of the English and the deep buckling of the Hanoverian noseband. It was specially developed for strong horses, but can be adjusted to fit any horse. It is only approved for medium (M) level and above and not at all for show jumping competitions.

The Australian, Indian, Iberian, Russian and Baroque nosebands are also available. In the following we would like to explain the main advantages and disadvantages of the three first-mentioned and central types.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the English noseband?

The English noseband is a real all-rounder. While it discourages opening of the mouth, it still allows the desired chewing activity. In addition, it is the only noseband that can be used with chin chains, so it can also be used with the double bridle.

The noseband of this noseband lies over the bit. The narrow and wide design fits almost any horse. However, there are better nosebands in terms of optimal pressure distribution.

Below we have summarised the main advantages and disadvantages of this noseband:

Advantages
  • There are wide and narrow versions, which makes it suitable for almost every horse
  • It allows chewing activity
  • It can be used as the only noseband with curb bridles (and other bits with chin chains).
Disadvantages
  • No good pressure distribution, as it is a point load.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Hanoverian noseband?

The Hanoverian noseband is particularly suitable for horses with a long mouth. The noseband lies under the bit in this type.

This noseband ensures that the snaffle lies quietly in the mouth and prevents the lower jaw of your horse from moving sideways. In addition, the corner of the mouth is not pinched.

With this model, however, the correct buckling is particularly important, as otherwise your horse's airways are blocked and his chewing activity is prevented. In general, it has a sharper effect than other nosebands, but is also suitable for sensitive horses.

Below we have summarised the main advantages and disadvantages of this noseband:

Advantages
  • Chin and locking straps ensure that the snaffle lies still
  • Especially suitable for horses that want to swerve due to the lateral movement of the lower jaw
  • The corner of the mouth is not pinched.
Disadvantages
  • The narrow design makes it look comparatively sharp
  • It can obstruct the horse's respiratory tract with great effort or incorrect buckling
  • Chewing activity can also be prevented with incorrect buckling.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Mexican Caveson?

The Mexican Caveson is particularly suitable for show jumping as well as for eventing, as it offers the horse the most freedom of nostril. It can be adapted well to various head shapes and is also comparatively light.

The buckling below the cheekbone is absolutely important, otherwise it presses too hard on the bone and causes defensive reactions. You also have to make sure that the padding is good, otherwise it will chafe.

Below we have summarised the main advantages and disadvantages of this halter:

Advantages
  • This noseband offers the most freedom of movement as it is buckled up high
  • It is therefore particularly suitable for competitive sport
  • It can be adapted well to different head shapes and is comparatively light.
Disadvantages
  • Good padding is necessary with this noseband, otherwise it can press and chafe.

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate nosebands

In the following we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible riding halters.

The criteria you can use to distinguish between the different halters are as follows:

  • the size
  • the shape
  • the material
  • round stitched or flat stitched
  • the colour

In the following sections we will explain what is important for each criterion.

Size

The size of the noseband is mainly specified as warm blood or thoroughbred, but sizes such as cold blood, pony or Icelandic are also rarely found.

The length of the noseband varies depending on the size. For example, its length is shortest on the pony, a little longer on the thoroughbred and warmblood and longest on the coldblood.

The following table should give you an approximate impression of the sizes and the associated length of the noseband:

Size Length of noseband
Pony approx. 44 cm - 58 cm
Thoroughbred approx. 52 cm - 60 cm
Warmblood approx. 56 cm - 68 cm
Coldblood approx. 62 cm - 72 cm

When buying online, it is advisable to read customer reviews, as it is often mentioned how the size actually turns out.

Shape

Some brands also offer various shapes of noseband. These are the following:

  • regular
  • conical
  • extra wide
  • ergonomic
  • anatomical

The following table summarises the key features of each shape:

Caveson shape Features
Regular Regular halters are characterised by a timeless look.
Conical Conical nosebands distribute the pressure from the tongue to the charges.
Extra wide Extra wide nosebands distribute pressure better and are more comfortable for the horse.
Ergonomic Ergonomic nosebands improve the horse's freedom of movement and prevent the mouth from being pinched.
Anatomical Anatomical nosebands are optimally tailored to the horse's face shape and do not affect sensitive areas (cheekbone, nasal cartilage, etc.).

Material

Cavesons are mainly made of leather. A special variant of this is patent leather. It is characterised by a shiny surface, but you can also choose smooth leather. The buckles are often made of brass.

The following table almost summarises other materials that can appear in combination with the noseband.

Material Features
Cord noseband A cord noseband made of rope material looks sharper than a leather noseband.
Synthetic materials These are used because they are easy to clean and last almost as long as leather. However, they are not (yet) allowed at tournaments....
Biothane These are made to order and are relatively expensive. However, you can customise the colour of every part of your noseband.
Pads You could also order a foam pad for the noseband, which would be gentle on the horse's neck, for example.

Round stitched or flat stitched

Careful stitching is essential for the longevity of the halter and also to protect your horse from injury.

Often the noseband is round-stitched, which makes it look relatively sharp compared to flat-stitched leather.

Colour

Leather nosebands can be found in the classic shades of brown and black. It can also have a white lining. The studding with rhinestones and glitter is more common for the snaffle.

Some suppliers allow you to customise the colour of your halter made of rope material. In this case, there are hardly any limits to your choice of colour.

Other colour variations such as green, rose gold, gold or cognac are only possible with the Biothane material, whereby each additional colour is charged extra.

Facts worth knowing on the subject of nosebands

How do you put on a noseband correctly?

Snaffles are adjustable in size and can be adapted to the shape of the horse's head.

Before you start riding, you should check once again that no ear is pinched and no strap is twisted. (Image source: unsplash.com / Ken Lawson)

The rule of thumb is that there should be room for a finger between the noseband and the cheekbone. The strap should be buckled so that two fingers still fit between the strap and the bridge of the nose.

The headpiece should be able to be loosely slipped over the horse's ears when it is put on. You should make sure that it does not press against the ears or rub anywhere.

What happens if the noseband is buckled too tightly or too loosely?

If the noseband is buckled incorrectly, you will counteract loose riding. You can even cause your horse physical and psychological pain if you do not close the noseband correctly.

The following table summarises the effects of a too tight or too loose buckle:

Wrong buckling Effects on your horse
Too tight If you buckle too tightly, you cut off your horse's chewing activity and practically cut off his air. This causes stress and discomfort in your horse. In addition, you impair his facial nerves.
Too loose A noseband should be loose. However, if it is buckled too loosely, it does not work properly and disturbs your horse more than it helps. It will also no longer protect against injuries in the mouth area.

Can I use the noseband at competitions?

According to the LPO, you may compete with four nosebands. These are the following:

  • Hanoverian noseband
  • English noseband
  • Combined noseband
  • Mexican Caveson

Please note that only the English noseband is allowed in dressage competitions with a double bridle.

Image source: pixabay.com / PixelwunderByRebecca

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