Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tack and my OTTB

Because they're pretty cute
One thing that came out of our lesson on Monday was that I need to change my tack again. Hooray! I know I'm a little strange, but I love playing with tack ideas to help finesse the best performance possible.

So. For our lesson, I had Courage go in his micklem bridle with his eggbutt Sprenger bit, which is a very, very soft set up. This has been our default lately--I wanted the soft bit to encourage Courage to go into the contact, plus I figured it would minimize any errors I made over fences.

Mmmm leather and sparkles
Our trainer didn't love it. As she pointed out, he doesn't really mouth the bit or connect at all. He opens his mouth or closes his mouth. He isn't interacting with the bit. In addition, I tend to ride with a very soft contact. With the construction of the Sprenger eggbutt, that means the thickest part of the bit is barely touching the corners of his lips and having no action inside his mouth at all.

To me, this is actually good news. I mean, obviously I want to improve (/have) the connection and quality of the contact, but when we started, he'd just sort  of gape his mouth open and ignore me. Now we're facing a different set of challenges, which means things are changing and we're learning together. It is progress on a microcosmic level.

The prescription for hunter face
She wants to see him go in a plain cavesson to see if that encourages him to have a little more jaw mobility. Even though the mickelm is not very tight, changing up the arrangement (in concert with me stepping up the pressure) might help him learn to be more accepting of the bit.

In addition, she wants to try a thinner bit with the idea that it might give me a little more direct feedback and help him pay attention without having to use as much force.

She mentioned a d bit. Of course we'll try that. I've also had a lot of luck with the baucher and I'm not adverse to trying out a loose ring again, even if I do hate how they look.

I'm excited to play with my toys, that's for sure. Courage and I are doing flatwork boot camp while we bust out the bit box and reorganize the bridles.


  1. He's a stinkin' adorable hunter pony!

  2. He's cute in anything he wears! That face!!!

  3. Hooray tack experimentation!

  4. I feel ya, I am a bridle hoarder. I have one rideable horse and something like 9 bridles at last count. I love playing with all of mine and deciding what works best, or what I need to buy next.

  5. I think a new bit will help with the jaw mobility over a cavesson. Sounds like his bit might be too big? Have you tried a curved snaffle?

  6. Ellie goes in a curved snaffle and I love it! Fun to play with old (new?) toys!

  7. He has the cutest hunter face ever!


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