How do you get your Horse used to the Cavesson?
by Babette Teschen
Now you know why I recommend a cavesson for work on the lunge and which models are suitable for working with the Course in Lunging.
I also showed you how to adjust the cavesson correctly.
Some horses need to get used to the tightly fitting cavesson. It is really important to take the time to familiarize the horse with the cavesson. Please don’t rush into this project by putting on the new cavesson tightly and immediately getting to work.
At first, adjust the cavesson softly, with some wiggle room. Lead your horse around a bit, or spend some time hand grazing. Then, gently explain the flexing and bending aids, without force, but with lots of patience and praise.
Food rewards with a cavesson
A good cavesson will not tie the horse’s mouth shut. The horse should be able to eat a small treat without any problems.
When the cavesson has a tight fit, the horse may find it difficult to chew a large piece of food, like a big carrot. Please loosen the chin strap of the cavesson a bit before giving such a treat.
Licking and chewing during work
No worries! The horse can easily lick and chew with a tight fitting cavesson during work!
Big chewing motions are certainly a bit inhibited, but there is still plenty of room thanks to the soft, thick padding on the inside. My horses often have a line of foam on their lips during lunging – so the mouth is active.
When the horse is fighting the cavesson
Normally, horses get used to the cavesson very quickly if you take the time to explain this new piece of equipment to them. Very seldom do I see a horse fighting the cavesson – at least with the horse-friendly models I recommend. However, if a horse shows a clear dislike of the cavesson, like resisting having it put on, shaking the head, or unwillingness to work, you should check for these problems:
- Are the teeth healthy?
- Does the horse have a problem with the sinuses?
- Does the horse show pain in the area where the facial nerves emerge?
In most cases there is a definite cause for the dislike of the cavesson. Solve the problem and give the horse time to realize that the cavesson does not cause pain and is not “bad”. It is certainly worth it, because such a cavesson is an excellent tool for working correctly on the lunge.