Our Interview with Christian Kemmerth

Our Interview with Christian Kemmerth

Special anatomical bridles - the answers to the questions how? and why?

Christian Kemmerth has been with Schockemöhle Sports for many years and is a specialist in anatomical bridles and their handling. Christian has also made it his business to hold seminars on the subject of "anatomical bridles" in order to show their positive impact on the horse and to provide equestrian fans with advice and assistance from far and near. We met for a short conversation with Christian and asked him five questions about the Equitus line from Schockemöhle Sports:

Christian, what makes the Anatomic Line and especially the Equitus Line from Schockemöhle Sports so special?
It was developed for the well-being of the horse, taking into account the complex anatomy of the horse's head. Made from the finest, vegetable-tanned European leather, the Equitus line first appeared at the end of 2016.

Perhaps you can briefly tell us something about the anatomy of the horse's head. Should we pay special attention to which areas are extremely sensitive, etc?
There are essentially four points that you have to consider:

  1. The nasal bone: If the nasal band is fastened incorrectly or too tightly, it can damage the nerve tracts, which are particularly close together here, as well as cause atrophy of the nasal bone itself - which can be very, very painful and dangerous for the horse.
  2. The exit of the infraorbital nerve: This is located just below the zygomatic bone. Here, too, the horse's comfort can be significantly impaired if the buckling is too tight or incorrect. It can happen that the horse's face literally “falls asleep” when this nerve is pinched. In addition, the main facial nerve also runs along here, the Nervus Fascialis.
  3. The first molar: If the cheek piece is set too short, the bit presses against the rider or rider's hand without any action and can cause pressure pain. The old rule "2 folds in the gap in the mouth with a loose rein, 3 with assumed hand" is still decisive here for the correct length.
  4. The neck: A neck piece of the bridle that is too tightly buckled or that does not fit in size increases the pressure on the neck band, which is immensely important for the entire sequence of movements. In the worst case, this can also lead to swelling of the bursa in the neck.

What would you recommend to an inexperienced or even professional rider who is considering buying an Equitus?
What you have to know about our Equitus is that it has a one-piece noseband. That means, cheek pieces and noseband are connected to each other. This creates an effect that also directs part of the rider's rein aids to the bridge of the nose. This has proven particularly useful for horses that have problems with their teeth or that are generally somewhat sensitive in the mouth. Nevertheless, a firm hand can exert too much pressure even when acting on the bridge of the nose. With this knowledge in mind you ride differently and therefore I need "less" reins for the same effect as a two-part bridle would have.

What do I have to look out for when buying? Are there a few cornerstones of buckling?
First of all, of course, the right size is important. This is measured quite simply:
The corner of the mouth over the neck to the other corner of the mouth and the circumference of the nose two fingers wide under the cheekbone. These two values determine which size is necessary. There are dimension tables from Schockemöhle Sports in the catalogue or on the Internet.

Actually, you only have to remember one thing: two fingers.

The noseband should not be fastened two fingers wide under the cheekbone, higher or lower. There are exceptions for different variants (Mexican and Hanoverian). Two fingers wide placed on the bridge of the nose under the noseband, the noseband must not be narrower. Incidentally, this will soon be mandatory at tournaments. Switzerland is showing the way and the FN will soon follow suit.

From June there will also be the Equitus Gamma (dressage bridle). What motivated you to take this step in dressage sport with such a special bridle, and what are its advantages?
Well, first and foremost the success of the existing Equitus bridle line. Riders all over the world were and are thrilled! Therefore, the desire arose to give the horse the opportunity to fully exploit its potential in the higher classes of the tournament grounds. The riders noticed that the horses with the "Equitus" bridle move differently. Since there was nothing comparable here in the area of the bridles, the horse had to get used to for higher tests. That was the origin of our thought. At Schockemöhle Sports, of course, we want to keep the quality standards of our products high, so the bridle has also gone through a long test phase after development. Not off the peg, but developed in-house, in collaboration with many experts from various areas: vets, professional riders, leisure riders, sales, etc.

The advantage is obvious! The horse has the same properties and advantages; anatomical correctness, lots of room for the ears, no pressure on the sensitive facial nerves or the neck.

By the way, all snaffles and curbs from the Anatomic Line are tournament approved, both with the FN and the FEI*.

* Please check the regulations in your country.