Horse Noseband Types: Cavesson, Flash, Crank, Drop, & More


Nosebands for horses are an integral piece of any English bridle, regardless of discipline. But choosing the right noseband can be a challenge.

There are several different horse noseband types of nosebands available, but not every noseband is acceptable for every discipline or appropriate for every horse. Here, we’ll demystify the five most common nosebands in English riding – the cavesson, crank, flash, figure eight, and drop noseband. We’ll look at what each one is, how it works, and how to fit it properly.

Why Do Bridles Have Nosebands?

Before we talk about nosebands, we should mention why exactly we use them in the first place. Many styles of riding don’t use nosebands at all, so why all the fuss about nosebands in English riding? 

Nosebands do a few things, but the main purpose is to encourage bit contact by keeping the horse’s mouth closed. This prevents him from putting a tongue over the bit, crossing his jaw, opening his mouth, or otherwise trying to evade the bit. A noseband can also act as an attachment point for standing martingales or tie-downs. 

Aesthetically, a noseband can help balance out the look of a horse’s face – a thin noseband can make a fancy horse look even classier, while a wide noseband can help balance out a thicker profile. 

Cavesson Noseband

What is It?

The cavesson noseband is the most common noseband in English riding, and you’ll probably hear it referred to as a “regular noseband” a lot. It consists of a single strip of leather around the horse’s nose that buckles under the chin. It is the simplest, most basic type of noseband and is common in just about every discipline. 

When to Use It

The main purpose of a cavesson noseband is to encourage the horse to keep his mouth closed and accept the bit. There is some difference of opinion over how much a regular cavesson noseband can actually keep the horse’s mouth closed (other options, like a drop or flash noseband are much more effective), so a regular cavesson works best for well-trained horses who accept the bit and don’t try ‘evasive maneuvers’ like head tossing or putting a tongue over the bit.

Cavesson nosebands come in a ton of different shapes and styles, depending on your taste and style of riding.

How to Fit It

A properly fitted cavesson noseband should rest about 2 fingers’ width below the cheekbone. It should be snug, but not so tight that it causes discomfort. The noseband must rest high up on the nasal bone that runs down the center of the horse’s face. If the noseband is too low, it can pinch the soft nasal cartilage and restrict his ability to breathe properly.

Crank Noseband

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

What is It?

Also called an adjustable noseband, a crank noseband is similar to a cavesson, except for a special adjustment mechanism that uses leverage – usually in the form of rings on either side of the buckle – to allow a rider to “crank” the noseband tighter.

Because of the force applied by the crank, these nosebands are thicker and may have more padding than a traditional cavesson. 

When to Use It

Crank nosebands are commonly seen in dressage, often used as part of a double bridle and in conjunction with a flash noseband. They’re also acceptable in hunter and equitation classes. Because of how firmly it is fastened, a crank noseband should not be used with a standing martingale or other noseband attachments. 

Image by Perlenmuschel from Pixabay

How to Fit it

A crank noseband should sit in the same position as a regular cavesson – about 2 fingers’ width below the bottom of the cheekbone. It’s important the cheekbone not be impeded by the noseband, as the pressure applied can make a small pinch or rub very painful. 

The crank noseband has been the subject of some controversy. Like any piece of equipment, if it is not applied or used properly, it can be uncomfortable. While a crank noseband does allow for a very snug fit, it’s important to remember that tighter isn’t necessarily better. The goal of the crank noseband is to allow for an exacting, snug fit – not to wrench a jaw closed.

Flash Noseband

Horze Grayson Bridle

What is It?

A flash is a thin strip of leather attached to the center of a regular noseband. The flash travels just below the bit rings and buckles at the back of the chin. A flash is attached to a noseband through a detachable attachment that either loops or buckles onto the noseband or through a leather loop sewn into the cavesson. 

When to Use It

A flash noseband is used to keep a horse’s mouth closed without the same pressure as a crank noseband. 

It’s useful for eliminating evasive behaviors like jaw crossing or putting a tongue over the bit. It can also be used with a standing martingale, making it a popular choice for jumpers. 

It’s also a cost-effective option for riders that are experimenting with different nosebands, as a flash attachment can turn your regular noseband into a flash noseband for a fraction of the cost of buying a new one.  

How to Fit It

When fitting a flash noseband, the cavesson should still  fit snugly, about 2 fingers below the bottom of the horse’s cheekbone. The flash should attach in the center of the cavesson and fasten in the groove under the horse’s chin. 

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

The flash should fit snugly, but not so tightly that it pinches or pulls the bridle down. It’s important that both the cavesson and the flash attachment are evenly snug, as a too-tight flash can restrict breathing, and a too-loose noseband can cause the flash to pull the noseband down and out of position.

Figure Eight Noseband

What is It?

Also called a Grackle, a figure eight  noseband is immediately identifiable thanks to the two thin strips of leather that cross in the middle of the horse’s face, with a leather or sheepskin disk to prevent pinching and rubbing the horse’s face. Like a flash, a figure eight has two buckles – the upper one fastens near the horse’s cheekbone and the second one under the chin.

It sits higher up on the face than a regular noseband and has the advantage of staying well clear of the horse’s nostrils, while still allowing a normal range of vision. Because it sits farthest away from the soft nasal tissue of the face, the figure eight is considered to be a fairly comfortable option that also helps keep a horse’s mouth closed. 

When to Use It 

The figure eight noseband is a popular choice for horses doing heavy work who need to be able to breathe deeply, such as jumpers, eventers, and racehorses. 

How to Fit It

Fitting a figure eight is a little different than other nosebands, but still pretty straightforward. To start, find the metal rings on the side of the noseband – they should fit behind the cheekpieces of the bridle, to prevent the metal from rubbing on the horse’s face. The metal rings must be slightly above the bottom of the cheekbone. The disk should sit in the center of the horse’s face, and the second strap fastens just below the bit.

Drop Noseband

What is It?

The drop noseband, as the name implies, is worn lower on the horse’s face than any other type of noseband. It sits below the bit, and fastens under the horse’s chin. Despite its dropped positioning, the noseband should still rest on the nasal bone. 

The drop noseband keeps the horse’s mouth closed, similar to a flash, but without a second piece of leather. 

When to Use It

Drop nosebands are declining in popularity, with more North American riders opting for a flash or other noseband that doesn’t sit so close to the nostrils. While probably not suitable for a horse doing a lot of athletic work, they can be useful for young horses who are still learning to accept the bit. 

How to Fit It

Fitting a drop noseband should be done carefully, with care taken to ensure it isn’t so low that it pinches the horse’s nostrils or slips below the nasal bone. It should be firm, but not tight, and sit just below the bit.

When is it Time to Try a New Noseband?

There are many reasons riders may choose to experiment with different nosebands, often due to issues like head shaking, mouth opening, or other evasive maneuvers like putting a tongue over the bit or crossing his jaws. 

While it’s important to recognize the role that tack plays in your horse’s comfort, many “bad” behaviors are caused by rider error or physical discomfort. If you pull and tug on the reins, use the reins to support an unbalanced seat, or if the horse has a tooth abscess or tongue lesion, he has little other option than to exhibit this “bad behavior” to try and alleviate the pain. 

Image by Rebecca Schönbrodt-Rühl from Pixabay

A too-severe bit, especially in the hands of a new or unbalanced rider, can also be painful for a horse and result in unwanted behavior. So be sure to consult your vet or equine dentist and seek the advice of an experienced trainer before experimenting with different nosebands, especially ones that use pressure to keep the horse’s mouth closed. 

There is also evidence to suggest that tight nosebands can cause increased stress levels in horses, so a tighter noseband is not necessarily the answer to a “difficult” horse.

You may also want to consider trying a bitless bridle, which eliminates the issue of bit/noseband interaction altogether.

Conclusion: Choosing a Noseband Type for your Horse

There is no “best” noseband design. Like most other aspects of horsemanship, the right answer depends on the horse, the rider, and the situation. 

The “best” noseband type is really whatever the horse will go most comfortably in. But in determining this, we should start with the simplest and most basic noseband and move from there where necessary, once rider error or physical pain have been ruled out. 


Very informative article!
Homemade is quite a new good and satisfying porn to watch because it senses casual and household. As if the porn female in the movie is reachable actually! Therefore it is much easier to end up being deluded and playthings to your imagination. you better consider this porn class that will at all disappoint you! Homemade lesbian porn relates to the type of porn wherein female enthusiasts make love to each other and movie it at their very own houses! That is ideal, you will much less notice well-executed type porn-this time it experiences genuine and authentic most likely, the popular lesbians shot it especially for your taste. pornsTheir naughty pussies have been itching and they need you to cool off to their scorching naked bodies! This also happens in actual life you would experience additional genuine as if you had been viewing a genuine factor!
I have a young Dales pony and steering is an issue. I'm now trying a full cheek snaffle with keepers. She seems to make more foam than I would expect. Maybe it will decrease as she becomes more accustomed. She was started by a professional over the summer and he rode her walk, trot and canter in a plain snaffle. Your article stressed the importance of not having the noseband too tight. I don't use a flash on her at all.
Hi there! Get ready for an exciting opportunity in the world of cryptocurrency! NotCoin - new digital coin is here, and you can easily farm it using your Telegram app. Imagine the potential – today's effort could turn into tomorrow's fortune, much like Bitcoin. Don't miss out; start farming now and be part of the future of crypto! START NOW!
Unlock the world with our affordable, high-quality proxies from various countries! Get instant access to global content, enhance your internet privacy, and enjoy seamless browsing. Plus, use the promo code "AxitPHiWiM" at checkout for an exclusive 5% discount. Don't miss this chance to elevate your online experience! BUY NOW - --- IPv6 - 0,06$ IPv4 Shared - 0,59 $ IPv4 - 1,77$ --- *When buying in bulk, the prices are cheaper
Hello, Learn how you can utilise crypto to assist you in all parts of your life from learning how crypto actually works, where you can progressively accumulate crypto and how you can convert your crypto to use in everyday tasks This 2024 edition also includes ChatGPT strategies in easy to understand video walkthroughs Learn MORE >>>
Hello, Revolutionize your online marketing with The Click Engine! Experience the power of automated, buyer-focused traffic to boost your links. Our unique platform, created by marketing expert Jeff Ayman, simplifies your path to online success. Join now to tap into a consistent stream of real buyers, without the hefty costs of traditional advertising. With The Click Engine, every click is a potential sale. Plus, enjoy an unbeatable introductory price! Don't miss out on this chance to elevate your online presence. Click here to join The Click Engine and start your journey to online prosperity today! >>> to learn more ...
Dive into the excitement of online casinos, where every spin could lead to victory. Seize the moment and unlock the potential for incredible rewards, where fortune truly favors the bold.
Letting you send UNLIMITED emails every day, free, for the rest of your life. And not only that… Mail Mate will help you gain thousands of high-quality, high-converting leads to email, all in one powerful package. Learn More
FlipBooks are a great addition to any passive income strategy. Because once you create a FlipBook, market it, share it & Earn it, it can technically sell itself. Learn More
Leave your comment