Ed Dabney Gentle and Natural Horsemanship Confidence Course. Step by step obstacles to develop confidence, trust, agility, awareness on part of horse.
Welcome and
Mission Statement
Shop Online
Philosophy of
Horse Training
Ed's Background
Photo Gallery
Horse Training
Horsemanship &
Riding Instruction
Horse Boarding
and Rehab Care
Clinics & Events
Success Training
The Young Horse
and Nakotas
Confidence Course
Training Articles
& Free Videos
For Moviemakers &
History Buffs
Cowboy Poetry

Success Stories

Contact Us


Click here for
important message

Horses For Sale

Curb Strap: How to attach the reins and curb strap properly to the bit.

 Hi Ed
 I am considering purchasing one of your snaffle bits.  I use a couple other snaffle bits now, but still get the head tossing from my horse when I pull back.  Not sure if it's the bit, or a naughty horse or both!  Anyway, could you please explain to me how to attach the reins and curb strap properly to the bit?  The curb strap on the bit I use now does not even touch the horses chin at all, and I don't see how that gives any benefit to using it.  Do I clip the reins closer to me and the chin strap on the other side or the other way around? Either way the chin strap pulls way up high when pulling the reins and never touches the horse.  Just doesn't seem right.......

 Thank you,

Hi Christi,
The curb strap on a snaffle bit bridle is not supposed to touch the chin and serves no leverage function.  It only serves as a safety device to prevent you from pulling the bit all the way through the side of the horse's mouth. For example if you were asking for a right turn and the horse gaped her mouth open and threw her head to the left the bit could end up being pulled through the right side of the horse's mouth and be laying alongside her cheek.  The curb strap would not allow the bit to be pulled completely through. 

The curb strap should be attached loosely, but not loose enough that the horse could get it in her mouth.  It should be attached close to the mouthpiece of the bit with the reins attached behind the curb strap.  In this way the curb strap does not move up the rings when the reins are picked up.

"Not sure if it's the bit, or a naughty horse or both"  - It may be neither.  The head tossing may be a dental issue.  If you have not had your horse treated recently by an equine dentist, I would highly recommend that. There are many dental complications that can cause a variety of negative responses from your horse. 

The head tossing may also be you.  The reins are never to be pulled back.  They are to be lifted only, affecting only the corners of the mouth.  Pulling back on the reins can be causing the head tossing.  

Enjoy the Journey,

Ed Dabney is an internationally acclaimed clinician, presenting horsemanship and riding clinics all over the US and in Europe.  In 2007, Ed was named Champion of the East Coast Trainer Challenge Series by Equine Extravaganza.  Ed was honored to have been selected by the University of Georgia to teach their senior level Young Horse Training course.

His training articles have appeared in many major national magazines.  Ed produces instructional videos and the “Gentle Horsemanship” TV program which has been seen on RFD-TV.

Ed's blending of natural horsemanship and classical equitation has made an indelible mark with students all across the United States and now also in Europe, drawing the attention of serious riders searching for the lightest touch and the deepest connection with their horses irrespective of breed or discipline.