Friday, 24 August 2012

Bitless Sucess

For almost two years now, since Jimmy came down, we've been searching for the perfect headgear for him.  He came down in a sidepull which didn't work for him in the slightest.  He ignored you in it.  So we tried him in a snaffle.  He hated it, the head tossing was non-stop and he was doing everything he could to evade it.  We tried a french-link snaffle but the same thing happened.  So we put him in a curb.  That worked, for a while.  Then it was a curb with a roller.  After a while it became apparent he didn't like that.  So we went back to a snaffle and that was a disaster.  I wasn't really comfortable with trying out bits other than snaffles or curbs because I don't know enough about them and I'm not about to put something I don't understand how it works in my horse's mouth.  So we haven't been riding him much as we've been working on the mounting block issue and we didn't have anything to ride him in.

Then we were at our tack shop, looking at bits when we noticed they had a bitless bridle.  I knew they carried them but they'd always been sold out when we were there.  After a lot of mulling it over, my mom decided to buy it.  It came with a free dvd to show results with other horses, how to put it on and how it functions. 

Honestly, we didn't get our hopes up.  We much think a lot of him, but we were paranoid we owned the one horse the bitless bridle wouldn't work on.  Really, I love Jimmy but nothing would surprise me at this point. 

We went out last night, late so we could hopefully try out the bridle without a lot of people there.  It took a while to fit it to his head, and he wasn't too happy with us fiddling around his head but finally it was ready.  My mom took him in the arena, took him up to the mounting block and instantly all that work we've done with the mounting block was forgotten.  He wouldn't stand still.  Another girl, J, was riding and offered to show us something her trainer had taught her.  We agreed and wow, it worked so well.  When he moved away, she got on his case, majorly and made him move away.  She had to do it once and she stood for mounting and dismounting for the rest of the night.

Anyway, once my mom was on him, the change was immediate.  He fought it but it was more half-hearted than anything, as if out of habit.  His ears were forward the whole ride, he looked so much happier.  His turns would make any barrel racer start drooling.  He stopped on a dime (something which took a lot of pulling and saying whoa with the bit).  He backed up.  I didn't even realize he knew how to back up.  It wasn't exactly straight, but he backed up. 

To see the difference, I made my mom put the bit back in him.  I was ashamed with myself for not seeing how unhappy he was in it until now.  I knew he didn't like it, but you can see just how much he hates the bit.  I filmed both reactions so I'll be sure to put them up here once I have them on my computer. 

I'm so happy to have found something he seems to like.  We're also going to try Socks in it, and one day Artemis.  I honestly have nothing against bits but if you have an alternative that works, why not try it out?

This is like the one we have, except ours is brown nylon.  They didn't have any leather ones, and we wanted to make sure it worked before buying a more expensive leather one.

And now on to the ninja horses.  In one of my last posts I mentioned how Artemis and Jimmy both managed to get out of the grass pens.  We went over every single post and board, pushing on them but none werre loose.  So they were banished from it.  Well we went to put Socks in and as we were closing the gate, it spooked her and she ducked her head, dropped her hind end down and managed to get under the boards.  I was convinced that the horses were too tall to go under it, but they proved me wrong.  They will no longer be going in the grass pens. 

We're going out this weekend to try Jimmy in the bitless bridle again.  I just hope he still likes it.

1 comment:

Ruffles said...

Glad you found something he likes and goes well in.