Aimee is going to be one satisfied person reading this lesson recap. Enjoy, my tack loving friend, I took lots of shiny gold pictures for you.
I'm calling this a beta review, because I don't think one ride is an accurate test of a bit, so I plan to do a more thorough one later, but I couldn't wait to share with you guys anyway.
Connor went amazingly well in the Neue Schule Verbindend bit in my lesson last night. I'm not ready to call it a fix - as my trainer pointed out, he could just be momentarily distracted by the new feeling in his mouth - but despite knowing one ride is not enough evidence to call it one way or another, I can't deny that things happened last night that usually don't happen.
1. He mouthed the bit at the canter. (THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED).
2. He did not shake his head a single time.
3. He did not get his tongue over the bit, in fact, he didn't even try. I don't think his tongue came out of his mouth once.
4. He was so unusually steady in the bridle with a really nice amount of feel.
5. I felt that he "got" my rein aids with less - less movement, less weight, less everything. I could be quieter. Maybe this was a self-fulfilling prophecy or something.
6. We had a really lovely ride.
A couple of notes:
- I sized up 1/4" from his usual 5 1/4 due to the shape of the bit, and it fits well.
- It is FEI and USDF Dressage legal and says so right on the tag (word on the street is that it may not be legal in Canadian Dressage?? Unconfirmed.)
- I had two options for the mouthpiece diameter, 12mm and 16mm. I went with 16mm since Connor has clearly demonstrated a dislike of thin bits in the past. I believe 16mm is slightly larger than the Sprenger KK we've been riding in more or less for four years straight now. (From what I gather from this post, that bit may be the only one Aimee has ever sold...)
|Hard to see here, but the outside branches of the bit are angled so that they point the center section forward and down the tongue a bit.|
I bought mine from Smartpak, who will take it back if it doesn't work just like anything else, although if you want a more legitimate bit trial program, Hastilow Saddlery offers a 10 day trial on all Neue Schule bits. If you return it, they refund 90% of what you paid for it. ($120-ish)
|The manufacturer's writeup on exactly what it should do for you. So far...my skeptical self is pleasantly surprised.|
ETA: I disagree that a snaffle can't possibly be severe, minus one point for NS on that one.
So no, I'm not going to start blaming all of our problems on tack, and I am not calling this a magic bullet. I still have to ride well, with more attention to bend and less hands and less movement in my body. And I'll give it some more rides before I make any call one way or another, but so far, he definitely seems to prefer it.