Thursday, September 20, 2012

Words of Wisdom

For those of you who know me, I am not one to let a sleeping dog lie if they are not in a good spot. With the horses in general and maybe espeicially with Kat, letting the previous crappy workout go was just not in the cards. Yes we ended on a good note, but the overall workout was not a shining moment in the least. I did not want Kat to get a break after that and when we have time for another workout, reverting back to the last one he remembered and just slipping into "repeat" mode.

I wanted to erase as much of the 'bad workout' as I could from his mind and see what needed to change and salvage what I could of the good. In long lines he was going forward with enthusiasm, engagement, thrust and momentum to spare. With the cart and the change in bits- there was a lot lost and I needed to recover what I could.  I went back to a ring snaffle, but this time the one I used has a slightly thicker mouthpiece. It is also a brand new bit.

With the new bit and back in long lines again, our workout went much better. It was not quite the same as we had before, but far better than the last workout which was, in one word- dreadful.  Kat was a bit more responsive, I still need to work on softening him up on the left again and for me- letting him go, but I didn't have to take a hold of him and literally pull him around the turns.  Our stops were good. Not great, but still good.

With this bit having smaller rings than the half cheek, I don't think the mouthpiece was low enough for Kat to be getting his tongue over it.  It also wasn't loosely bumping and flapping around in his mouth that he would have to pick it up and hold it to be comfortable with the bit either. Then there's the matter of the mouthpiece and ring attachment and nothing he could have been getting pinched by either. When training your horse, these are all things you need to look at, consider and probably far more importantly understand. The horse is merely reacting to what is going on, what they feel and often are not able to tell you- other than by resisting or ignoring the cues.  The last part of the article I linked to in the last post is this-

"Resistance in the mouth is the horse's only way of telling us that something is wrong somewhere. It is up to you to find out what. Only one thing is for certain: A more severe bit will make matters worse!

If you did not read that article- I strongly suggest you do so now. Various bits and their effects  For me not wanting to screw things up miserably, I have gone back to the simple loose ring snaffle. In speaking with Mikael about bits, one thing she mentioned that makes a lot of perfect sense (to me at least) was this-

"When people are giving you advice on what to do, what to use, how to fix something or whatever with YOUR horse, stop for a minute and ask yourself this. What do THEIR horses look like? How do THEY move/perform? Do you LIKE what you SEE?"

When you think about it, that is a pretty good measure of how much that person knows, how they apply it and what the results are.  It applies to both riding and driving and horses in general, spans the breeds, disciplines and covers it all quite nicely. You can also carry it with you wherever you go, use it without anyone knowing and then decide for yourself, maybe more so for the sake of your horse- whether or not to consider what they told you or forget it and move on. 

Granted now, some of us have developed an eye for what is correct and what is not. Some of us are still working on it, and others, well until it smacks them square in the face and the light bulb comes on- it just isn't happening and they are not going to see it. All things considered, that is one of the best things I have heard in a long, long time. 


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I went through a phase of trying out different bits based on what I was seeing being used in the show world, and discovered that the best person to tell me what bit to use is my horse.

fernvalley01 said...

ery interesting, and yes, you have to look at your horse as an individual as well as that of the person giving the advice. Easy to get mired down isn't it , but just as easy in the long run to do what you know and pay attention to the signals your horse is giving you

Amish Stories said...

Thought that Id stop by and say hello, and welcome to Fall! Richard