There are several things wrong in this photo, but the most important problem is the lack of a browband and throatlatch on this headstall with snaffle. The crown piece has slipped back on the neck causing pressure on the snaffle resulting in a gapping mouth with many wrinkles at the corners. If you look closely you’ll see the rider has no pressure on the reins, this problem is entirely due to a malfunctioning headstall.
The headstall cheek pieces may also have been adjusted too tightly but this would be hard to discern for certain without first resetting the crown piece of the headstall directly behind the horse’s ears and then looking to see if there are wrinkles at the corners of the mouth. A well adjusted bridle causes no wrinkles but holds the bit snugly at the corners of the mouth.
There are 2 main types of Western headstalls: the browband and the one ear (sliding ear piece or slot ear). The browband headstall should always have a throatlatch to help stabilize the bridle and keep it from being shaken or rubbed off the horse’s head. Young horses, which are more likely to be ridden with a snaffle, are more likely to rub or shake their heads than older well trained horses so this makes riding with a browband headstall a very good safety factor on young horses.
Single ear headstalls of any type are made to be used with bits with shanks (curb bits). They are not meant to be ridden on horses of any age or training level that are being ridden in a snaffle. A headstall with a brow band and throatlatch will always be less likely to accidentally come off a horse’s head regardless of the cause.
Dennis Moreland Tack has a fine line of handmade headstalls and complete bridles. Whether you’re looking for a browband, a one eared slot ear or a one eared slide ear we have them in single ply leather, doubled and stitched leather, basket stamped leather and with beautiful rawhide accents. Click here to learn more: http://www.dmtack.com/pcategory/bridles-breastcollars/headstalls/
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