Wellington, FL (April 13, 2017) Improved connection through comfort isn’t just for dressage anymore. Hopping interdisciplinary boundaries as well as cross country fences, some of the nation’s top 3-day eventing stars have come to use the Tota Comfort System bridle and noseband not only in the dressage arena, but also over grueling cross country tracks and brilliant show jumping courses. Discovering that comfort for the horse equals better performance regardless of discipline, riders such as Will Coleman, Darren Chiacchia, and Jennifer Joyce Coleman are actively showing and training in the Tota Comfort System and enjoying the benefits of their horses being more confident and comfortable in the contact.
Because eventing includes a dressage phase, boosting scores in this increasingly important discipline has recently become a major focus of both international and amateur 3-day riders. With the discovery of the performance enhancing effects of a quiet mouth and consistent connection with the hand, these riders were then prompted to see what, if any, effect such harmony would have over fences. For US Olympian Will Coleman, the Tota Comfort System noseband has become and integral part of his training routine, both in the dressage arena and in the two other phases. Hearing success stories from FEI dressage riders with horses who were once difficult in the connection and the huge difference it made for them, Coleman decided to try the Tota Comfort System.
“I use the TCS noseband on a number of different horses, and they seem to be, overall, happier in their mouths,” said Coleman. “It’s a great noseband and a great design. I use it both in training and in competition, depending on the horse, and believe it relieves the pressure points on the horse’s face, allowing them to be more comfortable and perform better.” Regarded as one of the top event riders in America, Coleman has been regularly named to the — USEF’s High Performance Training List and represented the US at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
Another Olympian and Team Bronze Medalist for the US, Darren Chiacchia, recently switched to the Tota Comfort System, noting that the bridle’s sculpted cheek pieces and design seem to make it more comfortable for his horses. “My Trakehner stallion was always very sensitive, funny about his ears and poll,” stated Chiacchia. “His original bridle was narrow and close to his ears, and we tried putting pads under it to make him for comfortable. However when we tried the Tota Comfort System Andros Bridle there was an immediate shift, and it felt as if something was no longer irritating him. With that irritation gone, our communication improved.”
Chiacchia’s stallion, Ballzauber, was an accomplished 3-day event horse at the Preliminary level, and began a career in dressage, competing successful through Fourth Level. As he preps the horse for the Prix St. Georges, Chiacchia trusts the Tota Comfort System to make the connection between them and his other horses the best it can be. “There really seems to be immediate comfort for the horse in the first fitting,” he said. “Riders tend to think, when there are problems with a sensitive mouth, to check or change the bit first, but many times the poll pressure is the real culprit. The contour of the Tota Comfort System allows the bridle to sit more comfortably on the cartilage of the face and poll, and especially for competitive horses and when you are using bits with different degrees of leverage, alleviating this pressure is key to creating a happy environment for the horse.”
Happier horses and better contact was also the goal for US eventer Jennifer Joyce Coleman, who sought help from the Tota Comfort System when Mojo, a 10-year-old Trakehner gelding, resorted to headshaking to communicate his discomfort. Currently competing at the Novice Level, after just two rides in the Tota Comfort System Mojo relaxed and began to enjoy the new bridle. Joyce immediately noticed a difference and began to use the bridle on two other horses, Willow, a 5-year-old Thoroughbred/Connemara Cross competing at Novice level, and JSH Calisto, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding soon to move to Preliminary level, also shows in 1.om-1.10m jumper classes, and in early April took second place in Open Novice Division B.
“I believe the conventional noseband I was using on Mojo was pressing on his nerves and causing discomfort,” said Joyce. “Willow has also been more relaxed in the TCS noseband. She has a very small head and it can be difficult to fit her properly. In the TCS, she has been more focused in her flatwork and overall more comfortable. Calisto also has a small refined head, and the TCS noseband fits him much better than a conventional noseband. I’ve noticed he no longer gets rubs on his cheekbones, and that the Tota Comfort System fit all of my horses better than the standard bridle. I highly recommend them and use them every day on my horses.” Joyce, who operates Solstice Sport Horses out of Paris, Kentucky, is an experienced Advanced level eventer and was Long Listed in 2001 with her OTTB Tommy’s Pop Gun.
A patent pending, revolutionary bridle and tack design intended to improve comfort for the horse and connection for the rider, the Tota Comfort System Noseband creates stability in the jaw, reduces poll pressure, and alleviates stress on the tempromandibular joint (TMJ) and facial nerves. Improving lightness and harmony in the contact was the inspiration behind its inception, as Olympians Ashley Holzer and Sue Blinks sought to improve unsteadiness caused by traditional bridle designs. The unnecessary pressure applied to the poll, facial nerves, and TMJ decreased the horse’s comfort and ability to step freely into the bridle, detracting from overall performance. Holzer and Blinks brought their ideas on improving the traditional bridle structure to Charles Tota of The Dressage Connection, and together the three devised a curved cheek piece and stabilizing chin strap to alleviate pressure and increase the horse’s comfort. Approved for use in national and international competition by the FEI and — USEF, the Tota Comfort System brings the benefits of improved comfort and connection through advanced bridle design show and training arenas around the world. Available as a complete bridle system or noseband attachment, the Tota Comfort System is offered exclusively through its website and retail partners.
Story by Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
Photo of Will Coleman courtesy of Red Bay Group, LLC