Review: Anatomical noseband (Hrímnir) VS lever noseband (Ice-Line)

It’s becoming a real trend in the Icelandic horse world, riding with a lever noseband. There are many people who are a fan of it and people who see it as a way to abuse your horse, and this depends completely on how you use it.
Ösp with the Hrímnir noseband

The idea of the use of a lever noseband is that it functions like a plain and drop noseband. This noseband makes sure that the bit isn’t affected by the noseband and is completely free in the mouth. When there is pressure on the bit, the horse feels it directly. But when there is no pressure on the rein, the pressure on the bit is zero, in contrast to a drop noseband. The bit is stable and loose in the horse’s mouth with the lever noseband. But when the horse opens his mouth, all the pressure is concentrated on the front of the noseband, which is quite narrow. So this noseband is also used for horses that open their mouths easily because the horse gets a lot of pressure on his nose by doing this. Other uses are just for well-educated horses and riders that want more precise communication via the bit. If you use a noseband, always make sure that there fit at least two adult fingers underneath at the front the noseband. By tightening the noseband loose enough the horse can relax its jaw and chew on the bit. If you adjust the noseband too tight, it can cause discomfort and stress on your horse. And yes he will probably keep his mouth shut, but this is not a solution for the mouth opening problem. If well used, the lever noseband can be super nice for both horse and rider.

Lever noseband VS the Hrímnir anatomical noseband
I used both and my horse reacts well to them, although there are differences between the nosebands. The lever noseband isn’t designed to relieve pressure on the nerves in the horses head, and the anatomical one is. The anatomical noseband is a mix between the lever noseband and a flash noseband. In my opinion judges are more likely to look more at the horses mouth on a competition if you ride with a lever noseband than a normal one. Thats why some riders paint the iron piece black so it doesn’t draw so much attention to the mouth. That problem is solved with the Hrimnir noseband.


”This elegant and innovative anatomical noseband with extra soft padding is especially comfortable for the horse. It has a unique look and it’s shape allows the most sensitive horses to relax since the pressure is minimized on sensitive areas such as the fragile nose bone and motor and sensory nerves and the molars. This can make it easier for the horse to seek contact to the bit.

The anatomical noseband is made of high quality leather with buckles made of rustproof stainless steel. Rolls in the buckles enable easy and quick adjustment. A buckle guard under the buckle prevents pinching. Keepers provide extra security and a clean look.”


The ICE-line lever noseband

A few weeks ago I got an anatomical noseband from Hrímnir, and tried it out for a few weeks. Before, I rode Ösp with a normal lever band, that wasn’t as soft
( not padded at all) as it comes to the leather of the Hrímnir noseband. The problem with both these nosebands is that ösp’s head is super small, one time I even ordered a noseband size Icelandic horse was even way too big for her. These nosebands are also a bit big for her and the straps are quite long when the noseband is adjusted the right way to her head. The Hrimnir is a bit of a struggle to get one, honestly. There are so many straps at the back of the noseband where the strap is supposed to go through, that it takes some time to get on. On a horse with a tiny head, it looks quite big, but on horses with a normal ”Icelandic size” head the noseband looks rather elegant.

The leather quality of the Hrímnir noseband is super, the padding is super soft and it’s super strong and looks super good and shines. The quality of the Iceline noseband is a bit less I am affraid. One of the leather pieces that holds the buckle in place already ruptured and I took it to saddler to replace this piece of leather. So the Hrímnir wins as it come to quality.


To be honest, I think that the nosebands are quite the same in usage, although I think that the anatomical one is more horse friendly. My horse reacts quite the same to the different nosebands, but I have the feeling that there is even more direct contact to the bit the anatomical noseband.  If you have a young or very sensitive horse, I would use the Hrímnir, because it’s padded, makes sure there isn’t pressure on the nerves in the head and divides the pressure more evenly over the nose bone as the horse opens their mouth.

It’s also a possibility to use the noseband as a sidepull or put an extra rein on the ring that connects the flash strap to the noseband. So the Hrímnir has more possibilities in usages and has a more horse-friendly design. But it all depends on how your horse reacts to differences in bridles. Some horses like anatomical crownpieces and nosebands and some just don’t. But I think that if you are a fan of the rambo micklem design and your horses too this noseband is a really nice addition to the noseband collection. I will keep using it and I really like it, although it’s a bit hard to get on in the beginning.

The anatomical noseband from Hrímnir is €77, click here to buy one. The ICE-Line noseband is around €67 click here to go to ICE-line.