Have you ever wondered if the choice between a browband headstall or a one ear headstall was made for fashion or function? I remember wondering if there was really any difference or if it was all about looks. It turns out it is a little bit of both.
Fashion preference aside, the biggest reason to choose between a browband headstall or a one ear headstall is the bit you will be using with it. Will you be using a leverage bit or a snaffle bit? Each has a different effect on the headstall.
A leverage bit, sometimes with a shank, will put a slight downward pressure on the crown of the headstall when the reins are engaged. This slight downward pressure reduces the chances of the headstall slipping off over the ears. This combined with the open throat latch area is why you will often see single ear headstalls in the show pen being used with leverage bits.
A snaffle bit has the opposite effect when both reins are engaged. The headstall will slightly loosen which is usually most evident in the cheek pieces on the bridle. This is why riding with a throat latch is recommended when using a snaffle.
When I look around my barn all of my snaffles are on browband headstalls and many of my show bridles are the one ear variety. Training bits are on a mix of headstall types.
What headstall are you using and why?
Ride with Faith,
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