|loves water even more than walking|
Since we've got nothing real going on, it's time to reach into the drafts bin! Karen's post from a little while ago got me thinking about bits. First of all, I didn't even know there were such things as bitting clinics. Or that people would pay actual money for them. WUT. They could give that money to me instead. They clearly don't need a real reason to light it on fire and throw it in the air.
Opie raced in a rubber D. I didn't have one of those on hand (and I think they're ugly #veryscientific), so I started him off in what was already hanging on my Micklem from Bobby: a single jointed eggbutt. He's been in four-ish other bits since then.
|remember when he was super dark and couldn't steer? i sure do.|
French link eggbutt: Opie seemed pretty oblivious to the single jointed eggbutt. He wasn't offended by it, but in an effort to see if I could make him any happier I dug this one out of my box of literally ten thousand eggbutts. Seriously, if you guys ever need an eggbutt of any width let me know. I can probably find one for you. Maybe even two. There didn't really seem to be any difference in Opie's way of going between the french link and the single joint. He got more trained and progressed, but he was never fussy in the mouth with either of these.
|a couple months of schooling and a custom saddle did him wonders. |
the bit change had nothing to do with it.
Half moon loose ring: I switched to this bit from the eggbutt when his tongue started flopping out of his mouth like a dead fish. That was also when we discovered his shark teeth. The idea was that the tiny port might give him some tongue relief. In the end the tongue flopping proved to be nothing more than a sign of tension (that fortunately went away well before show season started!), and the loose ring seemed a bit too unstable for him for where he was at in his training. I went back to the french link after a few weeks in this one.
|there was a reason i jumped him so little until lately: he really sucked at it!|
Copper full cheek and slow twist D: The french link and the half moon were the two big every day bit experiments. In between, Opie used two other bits. I got the copper full cheek as a jumping bit to go on his figure eight. I subscribed to the idea that the full cheek would help with his very lackluster steering, but even today if he's not going to steer, nothing besides my leg keeps him on track. The full cheek doesn't help with that at all. Nevertheless it hung on his jumping bridle up until last month simply because I so rarely used it that I didn't bother putting anything else on it. The slow twist was used for three rides over the winter when Opie went from not being able to canter at all to cantering like a wild racehorse. The quick brush up on brakes, mother fucker served its purpose and it went back into the box until the jumping phases of his last show.
|getting that neck long took forever, but it makes me so happy.|
Happy Mouth mullen mouth: Opie has always been quick to shorten his neck way up and duck behind the vertical which has made him not the best about contact. Obviously I've done a lot to get him going honestly forward, but I figured a softer bit might make him more inclined to be in my hands a little weightier. Opie was awfully suspicious of this bit from the get-go. He didn't particularly like it whenever I first put his bridle on, but he wasn't outwardly fussy with it once we started riding. That only lasted a couple weeks however before he started clacking his teeth together in it. Two rides in a row of that and I replaced it with the french link eggbutt again.
|french link for life|
I'm not inclined to try anything else after those experiments. I'll get him another of the exact same bit to put on his figure eight so I don't have to use a black bridle with a brown jump saddle (the horrors!). He doesn't need anything with bigger brakes when schooling at home. Thank goodness he settled on such a cheap, easy choice!
Have you guys done a lot of experimenting with bits for your horse? Do they go significantly better in one bit than another, or are they basically the same across the board and it's more for fun to try new bits out? And most importantly, has anyone ever attended one of these bit clinics before?!