Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Mixed Bag

Yesterday's ride has me feeling' some typa' way.

I've never had a ride where he was both equally brilliant and horrible at the same time, and very inconsistently.

We are back in bit land, since the hackamore was giving him fits with the tear duct issue, but god bless...he just does not like bits. This is the main reason we have YET to dabble in dressage land, because he spends the entire time fussing and chomping and in general resisting the bit. I have tried EVERYTHING. Everything. He hates them, plain and simple. The ONLY bit he halfway tolerates is 100% illegal in dressage.

Miracle bit 

I've known 3 horses in my life, not including B that cannot even with metal in their mouth. One was a GP dressage horse hopeful but when it came to UL movements, she was horribly inconsistent. Had the talent, hated the bit. This is where I wish bitless was legal. FUCK you dressage.

So, the ride.

For the most part we played around at the walk and trot. Mostly the walk. Because its hard apparently. We did not canter once, but the way he was going round like a giraffe meant we were not ready for any semblance of a canter yesterday.

Granted, part of the problem is me. As I mentioned a few posts back I have a horrible habit of grabby hands, ESPECIALLY the possessed inside hand and that is not conducive to getting a horse to accepting contact. It takes all of my will power to not hang on the inside rein when he is determined to giraffe.

I am a firm believer of classical dressage and attempt to train this beast with those ideals but god bless he tests my patience. Maybe dressage will never be a thing of ours, because horse needs to accept the bit and work on it. Lately (aka last two weeks) he's taken to DIVING on the forehand, and or giraffing horribly. Neither of which are pretty or effective for good training and we spend the majority of our time walking and trying to relax. Pretty much fighting a losing battle.

Adding all the leg to push up into the contact helps, but he spends many many laps twisting and resisting and trying to spit the bit out that it never remains consistent. Its like, "trit trot, I am lovely, I am dressage I am OMG SQUIRREL GIRAFFE LEAP TWIST TROT IN PLACE" and thats how the entire ride goes. Two years I've tried. And two years he's told me bits are not his thing.


Want this back *cries a little*
Regardless, we did get some really really nice walk work (LULZ) after about 30 minutes of simply trying to walk free and relax through the neck and shoulders. He seems to really enjoy lateral work now (huge improvement from a year ago) and that helps him to relax/keeps his brain working and not flailing/thinking about how much he hates metal in his mouth.

When it was good it was BRILLIANT but when it was bad it was FUGLY.

We played with a fun exercise at the walk, really working on pushing from behind and walking with a march and free and loose.

Try not to think that thinks looks phallic AF and concentrate on the exercise. We started at the halt, then walked up the long side, "walk pirouette" back to the wall then halted and did either a turn on the forehand or haunches. I switched it up each pass and then also on the other rein as well.

Then, I added a little trot work. Just enough to switch it up and work on transitions. God forbid we go past the door of distraction because the squirrelgiraffe would lose focus again and I would have to get it all back.

This was similar but not quite. Started at halt, backed 4 steps then up into a walk, half halted at end and then did a turn on haunches or forehand (again switching it each pass) then straight into the trot, half 15m circle and back to the start and halt. It was effective and lovely for the most part.

Blah. I really am at a loss with what to do. Bitless we can do all of this easily and without resistance. With a bit he loses the beautiful contact and acceptance I work extremely hard to get within seconds if he gets slightly distracted or offended by something I ask him to do, like transition or some ungodly torturous shit.

Maybe dressage will never be a thing for us, and I'm honestly okay with it--but it would be fun to get a medal. ugh. We will see if he can ever work past this; at least bitless his flatwork is lovely.


  1. He might like a Mullen Mouth Pelham-not that it would get you any closer to being dressage legal! I also have had luck with the Micklem bridle. For whatever reason(different pressure points???)some horses seem to be better with the same bit but a different bridle. So hard when you have a sensitive horse like this. All the work is in there but the distraction of the bit/bridle keeps it from being the best it can be. Maybe you'll have to get him going in just a neck rope-if you are that brave!

    1. I have yet to try Pelham, even though his owner before rode him in that bit. It just seemed like too much for him, and you're right--not dressage legal. I have not tried a Micklem either, I think they are so ugly haha. And no one here has one for me to try and I don't want to drop the money on one. Luckily, he jumps great bitless and thats our main sport, but it would be fun to dressage here and there...plus right now he can't be ridden in the hack so...UGH! Someday I might neck rope it haha

  2. It's so absolutely ridiculous that bitless isn't allowed in dressage 😔

    1. Especially when my horse (and so many others) go brilliantly in it! Seriously its like magic.

  3. i mean, if you wanted to go straight up pure classical dressage just stick him in a weymouth and nothing else ;)

  4. I agree dressage should be ok bitless

  5. What about not metal bits? Like a nathe or a leather bit

  6. What about not metal bits? Like a nathe or a leather bit

  7. Going round like a giraffe lolol. Those are some awesome stripes! Who needs a good score in dressage when you can put on a performance like no other? (you know, with the giraffe thing, and stripes).

    1. You will earn that the B is a magical giraffe, full of surprises ahahah. His ass is also getting clipped like one this winter

  8. Ugh. I so wish they would finally get over themselves and make bitless legal.... Someday they have to right?