Speedy on the other hand? He's just a troublemaker when it comes to horse clothing. Have you seen what he tried to do to his new fly sheet? The one I just bought so that he would be more comfortable while we were on vacation?
Speedy has been a bit of a challenge when it comes to tack. Dressage pads are too big. His dressage girth is tiny. I've tried at least three dressage bits in an effort to make him more comfortable. Even Cob sized bridles fit awkwardly. I've bought no less than seven bridles for him.
After reading a recent article in Dressage Today, I decided to switch up his bridle again. I've been using my Tekna bridle for schooling.
It's a nice bridle. The cheek pieces are narrow enough not to overwhelm his face and the caveson is thin enough that it doesn't dwarf his muzzle. I recently re-attched the flash in an effort to stabilize the bit.
What I don't like about this bridle is that it is fairly stiff. Since it's not leather, it doesn't move or give as gently as leather might. I started to wonder if the stiffness of the caveson was causing some bracing.
Dressage Today's article wasn't that helpful. There were simply too many conflicting opinions. There is no general consensus on exactly how tight the caveson should be or how high/low the bit should rest in your horse's mouth. What works for one trainer, doesn't work for another. In general, the bridle is fit right if your horse rounds up and accepts the contact. That's not very helpful.
The part that I did find helpful was a different way of describing chewing the bit. That expression has never made sense to me. Both my horses "chew" on the bit, and I know that's not the kind of chewing that's meant. Instead of chewing, the article suggested thinking of sucking on the bit like you would a lollipop. Hmmm ... that makes sense. In order to suck on a lollipop, the caveson and flash need to be loose enough to allow the jaw to slide around, but not so loose and as to be merely decorative (my words, not theirs).
I recently started using a flash since Speedy likes to gape at the mouth while working. I can't seem to find a definitive answer as to how the flash should be adjusted. Most of the time it looks quite tight on a horse which I just don't care for. If his lips are clamped shut, how can he suck and chew on the bit?
To help me decide how to adjust his bridle, I took some photos of Speedy's mouth without the bridle. Speedy tends to have open lips. And I don't mean droopy, taking a nap lips. At rest, his lips are open. He doesn't have a very "relaxed" looking muzzle, does he?
He did work well with this bridle. I don't know if he was just in a working mood, or if he did prefer the give of leather to the more rigid fit of the Tekna bridle. I'll be curious to see what Friday's trainer and Saturday's clinician say about the fit.