Izzy is a horse who definitely knows her own mind. She's a little lazy, but she has plenty of spunk. She definitely let me know when she didn't like our last saddle, and she told me in no uncertain terms that treeless is how she wants to be.* Monday I tried riding her in an eggbutt french link snaffle because most all my dressage friends swear by them. Most of them actually prefer the loose ring version, but I learned my lesson with those. I put a loose ring on my fussy OTTB mare, and she learned a whole new and more annoying bad habit. Lesson: if the horse goes well in a fixed-cheek, DO NOT TAKE THE FIXED CHEEK AWAY.
So. Eggbutt. Maybe it was just that it was different and she doesn't like change, but she flipped her nose almost constantly. Ok, well, a lot more than usual. She doesn't usually flip it at all unless she's really mad. This wasn't mad flip, though, just playing flip. Needless to say, I changed back to our full cheek snaffle the next day. The more I think about it, though, the more I think that she just really likes things to be as quiet and still as possible. I use keepers on her full cheek bit, so there is virtually no movement in her mouth. It's thinner than the eggbutt I tried, but it's quieter. I know thin bits are supposed to be more severe, but I think that Izzy prefers the slightly stronger action to the change offered by her other option. If I was intent on getting the mildest bit possible, I guess I could go seek out a thicker full-cheek snaffle, but Miss Pony is already getting a super expensive saddle. All other gadgets have to wait until my budget has recovered.
I've been told on many occasions that I'm a quiet rider (meaning that I'm very still), and because of that, I know I get along with the hotter horses well. Izzy's not hot. She's pretty lukewarm, as far as that goes, but she doesn't like being fussed with. There's just enough of her very hot and strong willed mother in her to keep her interesting. That's good, because I cannot stand even the idea of riding a push-button horse like I used to compete against in 4-H. I love the constant challenge and engagement of riding. Just sitting still and pushing buttons bores me to death. Evidence: here I am at work, writing a horse blog. I cannot think about contract right now. So, with the good mind of a warmblood and the fire of a thoroughbred, I think I'm doing well.
Really, I think I'm training my dream horse.