- Izzy started in an eggbutt snaffle with a lozenge mouthpiece. He went okay in it until he didn't. The wheels fell off our bus.
- I put Izzy in a ported correction bit. Things improved tremendously.
- I next put him a lower, wider, ported bit with Kimberwick cheek pieces and a curb chain. He loved it.
- As an experiment, my trainer had me try a double bridle. That worked fabulously for about three days before he refused to let me bridle him.
- I went back to the lower, wider curb bit.
- I bought a USDF legal bit with an even wider and lower ported bit with loose rings and no chain. He'll take that bit, but he doesn't work as well in it.
- Over the past year, I've played around with the legal bit, trying to use it once a week.
Rather than fight with him about it, I went back to the bit he likes so that I could build his confidence back up. Things started to really come together in early spring. Since the beginning of March, he has been a joy to ride. He is stretching over his top line and reaching for the bit, happy in his work.
Last week I decided it was time to bring back the legal bit. Insert an exasperated sigh accompanied by a dramatic eye roll. My lovely, bouncy, happy horse disappeared and a jackass took his place.
At the same time, Speedy began ramping up his temper tantrums over the pile of discarded jump standards that rest outside of the arena. It's a long story, but to help him cope, I laid the jump standards down and moved them over. Not only did it not help Speedy, but Izzy flipped out.
For yesterday's ride, I walked Izzy over to the new pile so he could check things out. He didn't even look. I did the same thing from inside the arena. On foot, we walked back and forth past the pile so that he could see it from both eyes. Then I got on him and did the same thing. I shouldn't have bothered. He didn't give a rat's behind about the new situation. I either camouflaged things really well, or he was over it. Speedy had the exact same reaction, no big deal.
Now that the junk piled has been resolved, Izzy is back to his happy, bouncy self. When I ran the whole situation past Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, she suggested I try the legal bit for one ride but then go back to the bit he likes until he's happy again. Each time his confidence returns, I'll go back to the legal bit for a day.
I am hoping over the next month I can go back and forth from one bit to the other without having to start all over again. And of course ultimately, it would be great to use the non-legal bit just for tune-ups and reminders. Since he was so great on Monday, his next ride will be in the legal bit.
Like I said, a bit of a legal problem!