A noseband is the nose strap(s) on your horse's bridle. These straps help to keep your horse's mouth closed and prevent tongue problems, so that you can always work in a sensitive manner. In principle, the rider's rein control must always be gentle enough to keep the horse's mouth closed contentedly, even without a noseband. However, since some horses like to withdraw from the rider's hand from time to time, a noseband offers good support.
The Cavesson is considered to be the classic among the riding nosebands. It consists only of a noseband, which is placed about two inches under your horse's cheekbone. This noseband is suitable for almost all horses. It prevents the horse from opening its mouth too much, but allows active chewing on the bit.
There is no alternative to the Cavesson noseband if your horse is ridden on a curb bit or Pelham, i.e. bits that are fitted with a chin chain. In this case an additional strap on your horse's chin is absolutely out of the question and the Cavesson is the right choice.
The so-called crank noseband is similar to the plain Cavesson noseband. However, the crank noseband is usually more padded and has buckles that make it easier to fasten. This can be very comfortable for your horse, as it minimises the risk of skin being pinched when closing the noseband. Unfortunately, some riders abuse the power of the buckles to tighten the crank noseband extremely tightly. Of course, this noseband must not be used in this way.
The Hanoverian noseband was developed primarily for horses that tend to avoid the reins due to lateral movements of the lower jaw. It is buckled under the bit and therefore lies in the chin area of your horse. Due to the proximity of the noseband to the movable part of the nostrils, special care must always be taken with this noseband that it is always buckled quite loosely and does not sit too low.
The flash noseband combines the advantages of the plain Cavesson and Hanoverian nosebands. It consists of a noseband, just like the plain Cavesson, to which a so-called locking strap is attached. This strap encloses the chin area of your horse. Unlike the Hanoverian noseband, however, this strap does not sit quite as firmly on the nostrils and so the risk of obstructing breathing is minimised.
This noseband has a similar effect to the flash noseband. However, the grackle noseband consists of only one long strap that is crossed on the bridge of your horse's nose. This area on the bridge of the nose is well padded. Unlike the flash noseband, the upper part of the grackle noseband sits quite high up. This way there is no danger of reins getting caught in the noseband.