Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Serreta

So I mentioned that I bought a serreta.

Modeling the new serreta

A serreta is a cavesson used for lunging or in-hand work. It's of Spanish/Portugese origin and differs from the more often seen cavesson, which correct me if I'm wrong, are of German origin (?).

This would swallow Jetta's little nose!

What it is, is a metal noseband (usually solid, but can be bike chain so that it is flexible, but that can sometimes be harsher than a solid one) that is lightly padded and covered in leather. The part that goes on top of the nose is metal but the underside is plain leather. It is lighter weight than the German cavesson, which are typically quite bulky and have the metal hinges on the outside and padding underneath.

Here's a quote from Dr. Thomas Ritter, a classical dressage trainer, that pretty much matches my views: "Most of the longeing cavessons you can buy through the dressage catalogues are too big and bulky, and too heavily padded. They are too large for many horses, and the padding absorbs the rein aids too much, so that you need to apply very large, crude aids. Otherwise, the horse can't feel what you're doing at all. The Portuguese cavessons have only a thin layer of leather over the metal, so that the aids are transmitted very directly, which means you can ride with very fine aids, and the horse feels every muscle in your fingers."

A serreta allows for finer communication on the ground than the German cavesson, though of course it can be quite harsh. I would say it's nicer to the horse than a stud chain, but the whole point is to use it with finesse. Having a solid noseband means that if it is placed too low on the nose and hauled on with great force, it could cause severe damage to the nose. Aka, absolutely no yanking. Basically, it's not for beginners or new horse owners and you might want to have an experienced trainer introduce it to you and your horse.

The metal is shaped to fit the nose and can sometimes be reshaped to fit different horses if need be (though with great difficulty!). Luckily this one is made for a narrow nose, which Jetta has. The shape allows it to stay in place more easily than a German cavesson as well, since it has structure, thus it is not completely necessary to have the (sometimes multiple) browbands and throatlatch, though I am going to put them on just it case.

Most often there are three rings so that you can either lunge, work in-hand or long line/ground drive. The other version has one ring in the center and is used for presentations at breed shows for Spanish type horses.

Serreta is called that because it is sometimes studded or having a serrated edge. Ouch. I don't think this is as common today, a lot of the one's I've seen on the internet are in museums or regarded as "antiquated", but if you search for serreta online you can definitely find some of the serrated or studded kind for sale. The one that I have definitely has a smooth, flat edge and underside, with padding - it has a "squishiness" to it. If you are interested in getting a serreta, there's an ebay seller that has some for sale, and you can also google it, though the best ones I have seen are from seller's based in Portugal .
My nose hurts just looking at this one.
Please don't use this kind!


  1. Just finished reading your whole blog (not in a day, it took forever!), It's really informative, and inspirational. I started a journal with monthly goals in it, and stole quite a few of your training routines/ideas :)
    Looking forward to more!!

  2. I had always assumed that all serratas where, well... serrated lol. Now I know to keep in the back of my head in the little mental folder called "potential training tools"! Definitely sounds useful, more so than the common German cavesson.

  3. Thank you Kelly! I'm glad you've enjoyed it.

    Dressager - glad to be of assistance :)