Some Successful Bit Experimentation

After feeling down about my show on Saturday and an ok ride on Sunday, I was ready for my lesson Thursday to be some "yeah okay you do know how to ride" redemption.  But...it wasn't.

Pre lesson selfies

I don't know what got into Connor, but he was in one of those moods where he wants to powerwalk everywhere while putting his figurative hands over his ears and yelling "LA LA LA LA LA".  Any attempts to get him straight were met with "NO!", and any attempts to get him to slow down were just flat ignored.

We persisted, and once he let go and went straight like we were asking, he went really well, although he was still pretty tense and spicy. 

Water dancing.  PC: my mom

I have been wondering for a while if it's time for some bit experimentation, and as usual, my trainer read my mind.  With the exception of a brief time with a Baucher, I've had him in a loose ring French link snaffle the whole time, and while that's definitely the bit I want him to be in long term, I'm beginning to feel like it's not what he needs right now.  

My bit arsenal is pretty weak, but my trainer suggested that for my next ride, I try the single jointed Korsteel Kimberwicke I got at a garage sale and never used.  When the next ride rolled around, she adjusted it for me, told me what to expect and how to ride him, and was adamant that this is just a temporary tool we're using to help us fix a problem.  It's not USDF legal, so it's not something I want to ride in much anyway.

PC: My mom

It was the right decision.  Connor was relaxed, but attentive, and I was able to whisper "get off your right shoulder" and get him straight within a few minutes instead of shouting it over and over for 30 minutes before he complied.  That in turn led to a lot better ride, since once he's straight we can work on so much more.

The Kimberwicke is not a long term solution, and my riding is still more the issue than a bit will ever be, but it did open my eyes to the fact that he is flat out ignoring the French link loose ring right now.  
  
Time for a paradigm shift, my little friend!
PC: My mom

So I put in an order for a lease-a-bit (10 day trial) from Hastilow of the Neue Schule Baucher, as a USDF-legal intermediate choice between the Kimberwicke and the FLLR.  Connor doesn't really like the Baucher I own, by Toklat, I think because the mouthpiece is super skinny compared to all my other bits.  I ordered the thicker mouthpiece of the NS - can't wait to experiment with it and see what he thinks.

20 comments:

  1. We're all got to live through the present. Glad you've found a good temporary solution and fingers crossed for the new bit. :-)

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  2. Its so cool they let people lease out bits!

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    1. Totally except it's backordered! Mrrr.

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  3. I've had a lot of success with temporarily moving to something stronger or sharper, or just plain different to make a point, and then going back to something softer or simpler. I would much rather have a short, firm conversation rather than a long, drawn out shouting match, and I think it's much more pleasant for the horse as well. Best of luck with your new bit!

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    1. That's exactly what I'm using it for, I totally agree. We can either have a 30 minute discussion where we both struggle through a language barrier to understand each other, or we can get a translator and have a 5 minute discussion. And more time working correctly = less discussion time later on.

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  4. I am so resistant to playing with bits but when Tracey told me I should try a different bit with literally every horse I've brought her so far I'm finally trying to play with bits more. We'll see, but I very much agree that the riding is ultimately the most important

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    1. I agree 100%. It's still more me than a bit, but if a bit helps me communicate something to him faster/better/more clearly, we'll use it as a tool on the road back to a loose ring snaffle.

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  5. I LOVE my Neue Schule! I'm riding Katai in the Eggbutt Neue Schule pony right now but I'm considering moving her to a loose ring at some point here.

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    1. I have the Verbindend loose ring, I could let you borrow it or try it? I might even be convinced to sell it and go back to my HS. What size is she?

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  6. I definitely need to expand my bit collection too, hoping the NS works!

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    1. Me too, can't wait til it gets here!

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  7. I've gone through many, many bits with the Tony. My trainer and I agreed that it was best to get his brain in check with an elevator/pelham/kimberwicke/double bridle, rather than fighting/bolting in a snaffle. And now, we are at the point that we CAN work in a snaffle rather well without a long, drawn out discussion. I've definitely had people judge me on bit choice, but I just tell them that they are welcome to ride the beast in a snaffle if they think it's so easy.

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    1. Isn't it funny that the description of Kimberwickes says "Often used on ponies?" in many places? I laughed. I'm glad you agree. I'd rather just clearly communicate something to him once than asking over and over, you know?

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    2. So, so true. I got so sick of the snide comments insinuating I was abusing my horse in a curb bit. They weren't the one getting (dangerously) run away with on a daily basis! I figure, get in, get it done, get out. It is one of my biggest pet peeves that people would say we needed "correct training" and "get a trainer." Like, excuse me, that's exactly what I'm doing. It wasn't fun for either of us to nag, nag, nag in a snaffle. Now, he goes in a baucher just fine (mostly). And it's so funny that Kimberwickes have a pony reputation ;)

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    3. (Can you tell I'm passionate about the subject?...haha)

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    4. I can tell! Yeah, this is not a decision I would make without my trainer, but we were both on the same page about it. We did the baucher for several months about two years ago, but ever since then he goes terrible when I try it. I'm hoping the thicker mouthpiece Baucher is a winning compromise.

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  8. I love bit rental programs :) and I also love Smartpak's return policy, any time I want to buy a bit I try them first, because I can return it if I don't like it! That's where I got my NS Verbindend earlier this year.

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