My horse HATES his flash noseband, it irritates him something rotton but I need something to keep his mouth shut or he opens it and pulls my arms off. Is there an alternative I can use that may not annoy him so much?
Generally a drop or a grackle is more comfortable and effective.
Do check that he isn't opening his mouth due to discomfort either from his teeth or from his bit (if you use a single jointed bit try a double jointed one and see if this stops him opening his mouth).
If you do dressage go for a drop as they are dressage legal, they are much better than flashes as they do not have to be fastened as tightly to keep the horse from opening his mouth too wide. If you don't do dressage a mexican grackle might be your best bet as this will stop the horse from opening his mouth or crossing his jaw, they are often more comfortable for horses, some horses with fleshy mouths find them comfy as a normal noseband can press the flesh of tehir cheeks into their teeth. The only downside is that they aren't dressage legal for BD. I'd choose a mexican grackle over a traditional one as they are easier to fit correctly and don't slip as much as the figure of eight ones.
Personally I wouldn't use a flash unless I had to, they were designed purely for use when a horse needs a drop or grackle but also a standing martingale as a standing martingale cannot be used with a drop or grackle. If you don't use a standing martingale then there is a better tool for the job!
Have a look at the sustainable dressage website for an explanation of how these nosebands work.
He's in a double jointed loose ring happy mouth (this is the 4th and best bit he's had)......and his noseband is fitted correctly.
When schooling he's fine with no flash on the nose band, no pulling. but when we're out and especially with other horses he gets over excited and just opens his mouth and pulls and pulls. I put the flash on him which stops him from doing it but then he keeps rubbing his mouth on his legs and when I get off him he can't wait to rub his muzzle on me.
Some horses do learn that opening their mouth is a great way to ignore the aids, so even if they are comfortable in their mouths they still do it. If they do there is no shame in using a different noseband to acheive control. I would simply try using a grackle or drop instead for fast work, either should be more comfortable for your horse. The trouble with flashes is that they have to be fitted very tightly to actually do their job and can prevent the horse from moving their mouth normally (a horse working correctly will separate his teeth and relax his jaw) and this can cause irritation. A Drop correctly fitted will still allow the horse to flex and relax his jaw but prevent him from opening his mouth widely to evade the contact.
My horse crosses his jaw on contact , teeth are fine and he doesn’t appear to be in pain. He has a snaffle with french link bit. I tried a grackle which did help but I didn’t like how it sat on his face and was advised that a flash was kinder plus it’s easy to remove when hacking and not schooling. Problem I have is that he absolutely hates the flash and grackle, tries to pull reins away to break the contact and rubs his nose on anything and anyone! Is there anything else I could try? I had thought about a mickleim bridle but not sure, this is my first horse so still learning. Please help
Sounds like it might be putting pressure on the nerve on his face, it can be very sensitive and quite painful if this is happening, I hate flash or drop husbands won't use them I would try a Pelham out hacking with 2 reins, one of my horses has slight nerve damage in his face and will constantly rub his nose if his in the wrong bridle, some sit directly on the nerve hence the nose rubbing.