There's a section in the article where Dujardin talked about head shaking (something that bothers Izzy every spring) and putting Valegro in the double bridle as a five-year old because "the curb chain definitely made a difference: it lies on an acupuncture point."
When I read that passage in the article, my heart gave a little pitter-patter of excitement. Dujardin continued with this gem, "What's more it gave me more control over him, which in turn made him less nervous - Blueberry was the kind of horse who, if he didn't feel as if his rider was in charge, would start to worry."
I've ridden Izzy in the ported curb bit with a chain for nearly a year with excellent results. He loves the bit, and has finally learned to relax and listen to me. The time to move him into a legal dressage bit has come however, which means I have my work cut out for me.
Izzy gave it one look and said no. Just no. I lunged him lightly for a few moments and pointed him at the bucket. With front legs splayed out every which way, he arched his neck to the bucket and gave it a tentative snort. Once he wasn't dancing on his tiptoes, I finished bridling and walked up to the arena.
When he seemed genuinely relaxed, we did it all over again at the trot, including the half pass. To my surprise, he was much better behaved than he's been the past few days. And after the eye-roll worthy antics that we started with, I had been pretty sure I was in for another day of jackassery. Nope. He was actually quite delightful. That half pass that I've been playing around with? Super nice - for two rookies anyway.
Speedy and I are headed to Moorpark for a two-day USDF show today. Best Friend is tagging along for moral support as I continue to struggle through Second Level (go, Team Speedy!). This means that Izzy will get the next three days off. I am hoping he spends his time off contemplating the benefits of a dressage legal bit.
Wouldn't that be nice?