Monday, November 8, 2010

New bit plus rain equals...

So I bought a rubber mullen mouth from Stateline because it was on sale. I've been fooling around with different bits just to see what happens and pretty much I've only found one that she really didn't like, it was this huuuge clunky full cheek snaffle that she couldn't stand. I've been riding her in a loose ring french link, but she liked to hollow out in her back rather than stretch into the contact, so I thought I'd try to give her something easier to grab onto.

So far there's a few differences in it. I certainly feel like I have less control on days when she is extra fresh, but not anything dangerous. I've also gotten my forward horse back. This could be because she has only been getting out once every other day or so or it could be that she was hiding from my other bit. Its hard to know if she's responding to the bit, or to more training, or to not getting out as much, or who knows what.

I found a new tack shop in town! We went to the Equine Expo that one of the vets put on every year, and the woman who owns it was there. Who knew? She has a Dr. Cooks Bitless that she'd be willing to let me buy and bring back if it really doesn't work out. I have to wait until Friday to get to her, because the store's only open until 3 :( I'm still really nervous about riding my 6 yr old TB mare in a bitless bridle, but I'm going to video it at least so that whatever may happen I will have evidence. I'm really a skeptic to the efficacy of something like this, but if it works then I might start using it.

The arena's been closed most days due to rain... which means I get very little riding done. If Jou's been out in the last few days then she's usually sensible enough to be taken out on the track around the property, but if not I'm liable to have a bronc on my hands especially because we have the neighbors sheep running amok around, hiding behind bushes, stampeding at odd intervals, and generally being nuisances.

MM is back this week, so hopefully I'll get some real workouts in with her and Jou. This last week the one time I was able to get out two days in a row I jumped a big (over18") crossrail! We had warmed up, and she was feeling really good off my aids and nice and forward without feeling rushed. I trotted her up to it, she stopped, walked over it, and trotted away. We trotted up again, she picked up a canter two strides out and jumped it like a pro. I was proud of her for finding her distance so nicely and being bold to the fence for once! Next time I jump her I am going to really emphasize that she jump it the first time. I also need to go to the dollar store or something and buy some fake flowers. I want to have her ready for all the little x-rail classes next spring! Speaking of jumping... I know a lot of people limit jump days to once or twice a week. Should that still be the practice with a young fit horse who's only doing 18" max for now? I feel like she needs more practice than that, but I don't want to stress anything too much. I will for sure only jump her once or twice a week once we start jumping over 2' but I'm not sure if limiting is necessary now.

One last thing... I just have to say how crazy it is that just a little less than a year ago my horse couldn't lunge, could barely canter, bending was out of the question, jumping was WAY too intimidating, she was at least 150 lbs lighter, had no idea what contact meant, and could barely stand still while I groomed and tacked her up. Now we've conquered all the above :D I'm going to do a 1 yr anniversary post soon, I can't believe it!


  1. Don't go crazy with the bitless, as in just throw it on and go out on an x-country course. Start out on the ground or walking only until she understands how to respond to it.

    My old trainer who showed in A hunters almost never jumped, she would do lots of ground pole courses. There were lots (and lots) of things I don't like about her but I think she had the right idea on that one.

  2. I've never tried a bitless, but have heard good things. And I don't think doing little crossrails frequently will hurt anything. Especially if it's only popping over 2-3 each time. :-)

  3. If you have any questions about bitless please do ask I am very willing to help.

    A lot of the time bits are catered to the rider, not the horse. I mean this by no one looks in the horses mouth for conformation of the tongue, mandibile etc. This makes a BIG difference knowing what type would suit your horses mouth and what effect it would have. Even the simplest bit that is supposed to be "mild" can be torture to carry without any contact in certain mouth conformation types.

    Awesome for wanting to try bitless. I suggest doing a bit to bitless. This means doing walk, trot, canter (gallop, jump, sidepass etc etc) bitted first. Then put the bitless on and do the same and compare the results. This is how we do our bit to bitless clinics all the time just type in nurtural bit to bitless on youtube and you will get the idea.

    Thats a long way to come in a year.