Friday, October 21, 2011

On the Bit

So this evening I took out the bridle again and this time Starbuck didn't seem worried by it.  She lowered her head on cue like I taught her to so I held the bridle over her head with my right hand between her ears and used my left hand to stick my thumb in the corner of her mouth.  Then when she opened her mouth I slipped the bit right in and flipped her ears into the headstall.  Piece of Cake!

To start with, I put the bridle on OVER her normal web halter, took the reins off and attached the lead line to the halter so she could get the feel of wearing and working in it without the risk of hurting her mouth the first day (I didn't have much time since it's getting dark earlier and I wasn't sure how frisky she was going to be).  Then we went down to the arena and longed for a little while: she did great!  I can tell that she's getting much more responsive to my vocal cues and when leading is much more attentive to whether I'm walking or stopping (in otherwords whether she should be walking or stopping).  So here's a video of us longeing (sorry if it makes anyone seasick, I was holding the camera and the line in the same hand).

By the way I can also tell how our relationship is changing, even though she's becoming a lot more responsive and learning a lot I feel like she kind of resents that our relationship is not all about cuddles and playtime.  Sometimes she shows this by acting out and being a little rebellious and other times she simply walks off while I'm petting or grooming her in her paddock... It's also near impossible to get her to voluntarily come up to me and stick her nose in the halter (she used to do this).  I need to remember to spend at least a couple of days a week doing stuff which is fun for her (playtime with other horses, grooming, grazing walks) and also pay more attention to the training she enjoys to try to maximize those tasks and blend them in with the stuff she doesn't like so much (like longeing).

For anyone interested in learning more about bridling a green or hard to bridle horse I recommend this video from a guy named Cody McArthurs, aside from the bit used and the chinstrap (if you use a D-Ring snaffle the chinstrap is not as important although if I see that bit sliding around I'll definitely start using one) it's the same method I used to bridle Starbuck.

No comments: