The Noavel Headcollar

Whilst discussing the difficulty of shoeing some horses, a friend told me about the Noavel headstall.

Her horse is notoriously difficult to shoe and needs sedating by the vet. Obviously this is an expensive and time consuming procedure. This woman has owned the horse for over a year and whilst she has improved in other areas of her training, shoeing still remains an issue.

Now her farriers assistant has spent a lot of time in Australia and when he came back he suggested using the Rick Wheat Noavel headpiece. It worked a treat, and the mare stood perfectly still to be shod, but was still very aware of the comings and goings of the yard. The farrier said that this headpiece only needed to be used once before the horse learnt to behave and do as asked of him.

Naturally I was interested in this potentially useful piece of equipment, and after looking online realised it has some mixed reviews.

First of all, the leather bridle come headcollar is designed to fit comfortably over the horse’s ears and poll. It is bitless, but has a metal noseband, or bosal. It claims to be more humane than many other pieces of headgear as it does not restrict airflow or put something in the horses mouth. However, it does have a pressure point which works on a nerve on the left side of the horses head, which runs right up the cheek and to the poll. To me, there is a serious risk of causing permanent nerve damage if used incorrectly.

The Noavel headpiece is advertised as being a training aid for the many behavioural problems:
shoeing problems
trailer loading
hard to catch
run away horses
biting
kicking
rearing
clipping
head shyness
barn soured
walking off while mounting
controlling miniature horses
halter breaking colts
head tossing.

There are many people who like this and find it can help unruly horses, but I think it should be a “use once and never again” tool when you reach crisis point in your training, such as my friend and her tricky mare. In the wrong hands the steel bosal is extremely harsh, and can bruise, cut and damage a horse’s face severely, which surely must cause future problems with head shyness?

One person on a forum put it quite succinctly;

It’s meant to drag the horse into submission instead of making a willing partner.

Don’t just go by what I say, there are plenty of sites with a lot of information and conflicting opinions to peruse.

2 thoughts on “The Noavel Headcollar

  1. horsesfortrail Jun 21, 2014 / 12:55 am

    We sometimes call it the “magic halter” syndrome. People want the fastfood, simple fix. The special piece of equipment or tack that will turn their ill-tempered horse into a pleasant, well-broke mount willing to do whatever they want. They read about or hear about some device that will solve their horse problems like “magic”. You see a lot of equipment sold at clinics where the clinician has used a product and people see results they want. They confuse the ability and experience of the expert with the product and assume it will work to solve their problem. Of course, it doesn’t.

    • therubbercurrycomb Jun 22, 2014 / 7:09 am

      You’ve summed it up really well 🙂 it’s all about creating a submissive horse very quickly to produce good results!

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