Much of Mary King’s can be attributed to her attention to detail.
When Star Appeal became strong, Mary wondered how to overcome the problem of his sensitive mouth, as changing the bit would not have been the answer.
“Chris Hunnable had a combination noseband on Mr Bootsie at the 1996 Olympics, and kindly offered it to me to try. Since Ian Stark had also found one more than useful on Murphy Himself, I accepted, and it has certainly worked, quite dramatically,” she said.
“I generally use a flash noseband on all my horses, and the combination noseband is not dissimilar, with the two straps fastening at the back of the jaw above and below the bit, but they are connected by strips of metal which run down the side of the face. I looked at it first, and couldn’t see why it should make such a difference, but it does, so perhaps it is psychological.”
“It stops the horse from opening his mouth and crossing his jaw, thus preventing him from setting himself against the bit. Star Appeal had become anxious about himself, he knew that it was wrong to be running on and not in my control, but he was excited and couldn’t stop himself. This worried him terribly, and it was such a Catch 22 situation. When I used the combination noseband for the first time after returning from Atlanta, he was still a little strong, but gradually settled and became confident and relaxed, quite his old self.