Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bitting Conundrums

Continuing the saga of OMG I have shit to do before show season, better get on that, I rode my horse for approximately 20 minutes on Monday. The farrier was super late (Appointment was at 4:30, I got on at 4:45 because he wasn't there and had time to ride) and Bailey was super apathetic, so we toodled around in the outdoor for like... 7 minutes before going on a spectacularly spooky trail ride down the road in the wind. Bailey started doing the super cute skittering backwards from scary things routine, and I didn't have a stick. And I was in the snaffle, in my dressage saddle... we dealt with it but we also backed into our  "friend" Elena, who was less than thrilled with the readheaded tornado. 

The horses did get trimmed, and blanketed. The farrier reported that Fox is still blowing out a stone bruise (probably aggravated by hard ground last week) and thus, probably the reason she was a touch off last week. She joyfully ran around outside after I turned her out (before catching her again because oh, hey, farrier is here) so I think she's feeling much better. Bailey seemed cold as well, so I felt perfectly ok with my less than amazing ride. I mean, my horse did jump 3'3 on Saturday. 

She seems a bit... tired as of late, but still is strong in the bridle. Even jumping in the waterford on Saturday, I was kind of shocked that she did get around to shaking her head and being a bit wild. I think I am going out in search of something I can feel ok using with a running martingale and find a better balance between brakes and her willingness to come through the bridle. She definitely isn't Foxie - Fox is willing to take a feel of your hands even in a waterford, or in the pelham, and often starts to lean lean lean until you snap her out of it my lifting your hands / engaging the curb or dropping her. 

I did do some bit swapping as I noted and wanted to get my perceptions down:

1. Nathe Snaffle: deemed too soft last year. The rings are too small unless the nose band is cranked down, and the horse didn't seem particularly interested in listening to it. 

2. French Link Eggbutt Snaffle: Much better than the nathe, but it was deemed that BB was quieter in the weighted single link. 

3. Loose Ring 16mm full weight snaffle: Bailey seems much quieter in the bridle with this bit. She did start sticking her tongue out when working, but seems to do this much less as of late. 

4. Waterford loose ring snaffle: she will still get up and fight this bit, but is much more respectful on the flat. She does mind half halts better, but hides behind the contact more often. The tongue sticks out with this bit, and also needs a tight nose band because she gaped her mouth and it almost pulled through/tongue when through the ring.

5. French Link mid shank pelham: definitely too much. Fantastic turning and obedience on the flat, seemed willing to come through the bridle, but the curb is way, way too much for her and makes her feel trapped which results in rearing.

So... what to try next? 

I'm between the beval gag (similar mouthpiece to what she wears now (thin, single joint) with a touch of leverage) and a full cheek something or other... or a dee because it works like a full cheek but it's less likely to stab me?

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