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Friday, 29 March 2019

How to Tell If you Really Need That Gear To Ride

I'm sorry to tell you this, a lot of horse riding gear is used because the horse is not trained correctly.  It really is just a short cut instead of re-training.  Most people don't know this and it really isn't your fault.  We are told from a young age that we 'need' these things to help us.  

Here is how you can tell if you are using your gear for the right OR Wrong Reasons.  


The martingale was originally made for horses who rear up as a safety measure.  It has also been used for horse's who throw their heads up and back (which is a HUGE sign of pain or frustration).  This is used while the horse is being re-trained so that the rider will be safer.  

Most people use a martingale because their horse holds his head high while being ridden (especially in show jumping, the horse raises his head as he is approaching a jump which is completely natural).  This is something that can easily be trained out of a horse, instead of masking the problem.  

3-point or 5-point Breastplate

A breastplate is used for keeping the saddle from sliding backwards.  A 5-point breastplate was specially made for show jumpers (Big jumps, not all jumpers) because of the movement, they need more support.  They also come with Martingale attachments so you don't need both.  

Breastplate shouldn't be used for any other reason because they can actually stop the horse from moving correctly.  The position of most types of breastplates means that even if the horse doesn't show anything, it could be restricting his shoulder movement.  

Flash or figure of 8 Nosebands

These nosebands are used WAY too common for completely wrong reasons.  

A flash noseband is used to close the horse's mouth around the bit to avoid him putting his tongue over the bit (completely barbaric if you ask me).  They DO NOT help to control the horse or aid in any other way.  If your horse is opening his mouth while being ridden it's either a training issue, he's in pain or he just doesn't work with a bit.  

A Figure of 8 noseband is used to stop the horse crossing and locking his jaw so that he can evade contact, which again, there is always a reason they will do that.  It is used by show jumpers and eventers quite a lot because it apparently allows for more air intake (although a normal, well-fitted noseband wouldn't affect air intake).  

Honestly, I would stay far away from these nosebands.  They really aren't necessary if your horse is properly trained, he isn't in any pain and you are a decent rider.  


I am not a horse trainer or any other equestrian professional.  I only give advice on horsey topics that I have experience as a horse owner in.  Please don't follow my advice without contacting a relevant equestrian professional.  


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