Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fire breathing dragon

Is this the face of trouble?
Why yes, yes it is.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Hackamore? Not so good. She enjoyed it, absolutely. Just left me with limited brakes. She was getting the idea toward the end of the ride, but that's not something to train with a lot of other horses in the ring. It also gave me some clear indication of how much head popping is due to 'get away from my mouth!'. A significant amount. She blew through the 7" English hackamore like it's not even there, but halts dead for the loose ring snaffle. The dentist is coming out next month, and in the mean time, I've ordered her a mullen mouth loose ring snaffle from Happy Mouth to see if her little mouth likes that better. I suspect the nut cracker action of the single joint bit is causing her trouble.

The selection of pony sized bits is pretty thin, leaving me with limited options. What a pain. I loved this oval mouth loose ring with the lozenge center, but it doesn't come in pony sizes. I guess with ponies it's a lot more 'please do not drag the small children' then trying to find the perfect fit.

Saddle fitter is also set for mid-December to check both saddles. I want to rule out any possible physical causes for her overly-energetic moments. She's still a bit sore to the right, and it's the right lead that gets head shaking, so I suspect something is up. It's just a process of elimination to root out the causes.

The princess was dubbed the 'fire breathing dragon' today during our jumping lesson. She locks onto the fences and gets all fired up. These are 12" fences, by the way. We've started having her walk before the fences so she's not just charging them. She has to down shift before the jump, then she's allowed to go. That and a big release from me seems to be taking care of some of her run and jump technique.

I tried taking her out for a hack on her own after the lesson. She was good heading away from the barn, which is lovely. She was up on her toes, but she just walked out. Out to the hayfield and a little walk around, then back to the barn. We got to the barn's driveway and she lost her little pony mind. It was airs above the ground, shaking, half-rearing and piaffe-ing about like a fool. I kicked out of my stirrups and as soon as I could get all four feet on the ground, I bailed. She was perfectly willing to be led back, but she couldn't handle being ridden back. She wanted to bolt, and when she hit the bit, she flipped out.

The puzzle continues to come together, and the complete picture is something that I didn't see coming. Not that I have a problem with the full picture, but it's a good reminder that I should not plan too far into her future just yet. I still don't know her all that well. It takes about a year to really get a solid relationship with a horse, and we're only at 25% of that right now. December should get a couple of important pieces taken care of. If I know she's comfortable, then we can start to really work on things. First dressage clinic is December 3rd. Should be very interesting.


  1. Hackamores can give us interesting insights into our riding. I don't use one a super regular basis, but I definitely enjoy using it to isolate communication problems that we're having.

    Good luck with the bit search!

  2. I had a mare that was similarly built to yours and similarly sensitive...she was 16.2 but went in a 5" with a cobsize bridle.

    Happy mouth makes a loose ring with a lozenge that comes in 5" and it is nice and narrow/sensitive for - perfect for a petite mouth. I had the best luck with this! They come in a bit that is double jointed or a bit that has a peice of braided steel that is flexible but prevents it from bending too much. I did not notice a difference with either. Just a suggestion!,4293.html,2.html