The most common type of noseband seen on English bridles is the plain cavesson, which is a strip of leather that fits around the nose just below the cheekbone. This works well for most general English riding, and even for many people who are showing in disciplines like show jumping and hunters. However, there are other types of nosebands that are suited for various situations. Take a look:
A flash noseband is a thin strip that attaches to a cavesson noseband. It fastens further down the nose and below the bit. The purpose of a flash is to keep the mouth closed and also to hold the bit more steadily in the mouth. A lot of greener horses, especially, benefit from this increased bit of stability. Flash nosebands are common in dressage and jumpers. Many eventing riders also use them; they can be used in all three phases.
Figure 8 Nosebands
The figure 8 noseband consists of two strips of leather that cross over one another on the nose. One-piece drops below the bit, similar to a flash, and the other does up just under the cheekbone. Like a flash noseband, the figure 8 helps to stabilize the bit and keep the mouth closed. However, the pressure is placed on a different part of the nose because of the arrangement of the two straps of leather. Horses who do not like a lot of direct pressure on their nose or under their jaw often like the figure 8 which is why it is a common choice in the jumpers.
A drop noseband is a circle of leather than fastens under the bit. It is like a flash, but without the attached cavesson. A drop noseband is designed to keep the horse from crossing its jaw and opening the mouth. It is sometimes used in dressage and is a nice choice for horses who don't like the pressure of the cavesson below the cheekbones. Drop nosebands may restrict breathing somewhat, so they should only be used in lower-intensity riding and never when galloping on the track or cross-country.
If you are looking for an English noseband that does more for your horse, consider the three possibilities above. Every horse has a different preference, and every discipline has different requirements. Be sure to check the English tack guidelines for any division you plan to compete in to see which types of nosebands are allowed.