Crown Attributes & Poll Pressure Guidance

 The purpose of a properly padded and well fitting crown is to further the well being and comfort of the horse by protecting the nuchal ligament.  By providing a highly comfortable fit, the horse can focus on the rider's training instead of pressure points generated by the bridle, and this should in turn eliminate distraction and discomfort.  Additionally, understanding the action of your bit is also important to understanding pressure applied to the poll, and the two (bridle crown and bit) combined generate a combination of effects.

Why is this important?

  • The nuchal ligament is a large elastic structure in the dorsal neck region that supports the self carriage the horse's head and the neck.  Tensile forces are low on this ligament when the head is held up in an alert position and significantly higher when in a deeper position.  
  • Pressure on the nuchal ligament due to some traditional crown styles could exert pressure that could lead to desmopathy of the insertion of the nuchal ligament.  Trauma of this area could also be caused from pulling back when tied. Clinically, these horses may resist the reins and have difficulty lowering and flexing the poll.  
  • In comparison, the most common nuchal trauma in people is known as whiplash.

Crown Attributes

Crown Options

 

Bridle2Fit crown options look to protect and provide a comfortable distribution of pressure across the poll in order to protect the nuchal ligament.

  • The HP1 widens at the top to ensure a pleasant distribution of pressure on the neck. The narrower cutouts of the crown piece ensure the neck vertebra and ears are free, and this is often suitable for a horse with a narrow neck. The crown can be positioned so either side is facing forward dependent on the shape of the head and neck of the horse or pony. This shape can also be helpful for horses that crib and have highly developed muscles in the poll area to prevent the crown from being pushed into the ears.
  • The HP2 has a spacious cutout for the ears, which provides them freedom of movement, and is very wide at the top with soft padding for those horses with a long and muscular neck. The width helps span the distance between the vertebra to protect the nuchal ligament. This crown has a wider top piece then the HP3.
  • The HP3 has a spacious cutout for the ears, which provides them freedom of movement. The widened top piece with soft padding ensures a pleasant distribution of pressure. This has a narrower top piece than the HP2. This is the most popular model for the majority of dressage horses.
  • The HP4 is well suited to a horse with wide jaws and a wide neck, especially at the poll. There are 3 pillows to distribute pressure over a greater distance suitable to the wider jaw. The wide top narrows toward the bands on the side to provide clearance for the first vertebra of the neck.
  • The HP5 is a very soft crown that virtually bypasses pressure on the nuchal ligament as much as possible. The design allows for a bridge over the ligament with only soft padding making contact in that area.

 

Bits and Poll Pressure

Neue Schule has conducted research relative to the poll pressure exerted by bits.  Poll pressure was calculated as a percent of the total forces applied through the reins that were transferred to the poll.  Here are some of their findings

  • Baucher:  provides poll relief by removing pressure from the poll when tension is applied to the reins
  • Loose Ring Snaffle:  exerts no poll pressure as forces applied through reins are distributed to the tongue and lips only
  • Eggbutt:  10% of the pressure applied to the reins is transferred to the poll
  • Turtle Top and Turtle Tactio Snaffles:  20% of the pressure applied to the reins is transferred to the poll
  • 5 cm shank Weymouth: 10% of the pressure applied to the reins is transferred to the poll
  • 5 cm shank Turtle Tilt:  20% of the pressure applied to the reins is transferred to the poll
  • 7 cm shank Weymouth:  20% of the pressure applied to the reins is transferred to the poll
  • 9 cm shank Weymouth:  30% of the pressure applied to the reins is transferred to the poll

Give Dressage Collections a call to discuss your horse and the problems you are trying to solve relative to bits and crowns.  We can help advise you and give you options to try.