Thankfully last weekend the wind finally died down here for a bit and we enjoyed a couple of beautiful still, frosty days. Luckily it has also been dry so it isn't particularly icy, therefore some of riders from the yard took advantage of this and got out for a couple of good hacks in the sunshine.
|Some of the horses head out on a beautiful frosty day.|
Finding the keyI am still finding it frustrating though, that I don't yet have the key to her mouth - she can still be incredibly fussy and resistant at times and I am not sure why. I am going to go down the route of trying some new things until I find a combination that she finds more acceptable. So with that in mind I have a Micklem bridle coming. I have used one of these before on another horse with great results, unfortunately the one I had was too small to fit any of my other horses so Amelie has her own shiny new one on the way - I knew my Christmas money would come in handy. I have also hired a couple of bits to try including the intriguing Peewee bit.
One of those lightbulb moments
I had a bit of a lightbulb moment on her the other day when I wondered if it was pressure on the sides of her face she is objecting too, so I took off her noseband. The bridle she has on at the moment is a very good one but it does have a thick padded noseband which means when the bit is used the cheekpieces must put pressure on this band and therefore on her teeth. I am starting to think that perhaps she hates the pressure of both the noseband and the bit pressing against the sides of her face against her teeth. When I took the noseband off there was a pretty instant 60-70% change for the better in her - until she got her tongue over the bit and I stopped. The Micklem is cleverly designed with a drop noseband system but no other pressure on the sides of the face and the Peewee bit is supposed to sit off the sides of the face as well. So here's hoping that I am on the right track theory wise.
|The cleverly designed Micklem Multibridle|
I have her in a comfort Myler at the moment and although it is the best bit I have tried so far, it is certainly far from perfect for her.
|A pee wee - the bit sits lower in the mouth and sits off the sides of the face|
I should add that I have also tried her in a hackamore and there was no discernible difference which again leads me to think that she is objecting to pressure against the sides of her teeth. I have also had her teeth done, back checked and saddle checked and fitted. I am pretty certain that this is not a pain thing because interestingly if you put draw reins on her, not to haul her head down, but to show her how to go long and low you can easily ride her incredibly lightly, just with one finger on the buckle end of them and she happily goes in a lovely, low swinging trot. There is no fighting, tension or arguing with them - which I would expect there to be if she was in pain - in fact I would expect quite a violent reaction - just the opposite of what she gives.
Anyone else been there and got this t-shirt?If anyone else has been through this with a horse of theirs I would love to hear if you found the perfect solution and what it was.
Last night I headed off for a lesson at Balcormo with my good friend - show jumper and trainer Sandra Low Mitchell, she is helping me get Amelie to take her time jumping so that she learns to make a good shape rather than rush and flatten out. She does this by reminding me that I have to stay as still and quiet as I can and under no circumstances must I give her any signals to jump - just to keep her ticking into the fence in a good rhythm. I discussed what I was going to try with Amelie in detail and Sandra agrees that this seems a good combination of bridle and bit to try as finding something that the mare is happier with is the key to progress now.
|Ams working at home - this is the frame she starts in - I try to do at least 15 minutes in a long very low frame once she has relaxed.|
Must keep up the New Year diet!Two notes to self though on looking at this picture above - it's time to haul all the jumps in under cover and have a painting session. May as well get it done before spring because there are much more exciting things to be doing once the warm weather is here. Secondly I MUST keep up with the New Year's diet so I don't look so much of a wee fat puddock on a horse!
|Looking down towards our farm at the weekend.|
|Omagh and grey boy Garth, snoozing in the winter sunshine with ShirexTB Reuben (black) and ex racer Jerry.|