Everyone's Blog Posts - Barnmice Equestrian Social Community 2019-10-23T08:32:30Z /profiles/blog/feed?xn_auth=no Following a Trail of Clues tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-10-19:1773158:BlogPost:826876 2019-10-19T15:10:05.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Following a Trail of Clues</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie won't have to try the double bridle after all.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I did not get my lesson on Wednesday because of rain (we NEED the rain so I'm not complaining.) When Debbie called me up to reschedule my lesson we got to talking about her problem mare. This mare, Tilly, had been doing head-shaking, rather…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Following a Trail of Clues</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie won't have to try the double bridle after all.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I did not get my lesson on Wednesday because of rain (we NEED the rain so I'm not complaining.) When Debbie called me up to reschedule my lesson we got to talking about her problem mare. This mare, Tilly, had been doing head-shaking, rather violent head-shaking, whenever she was turned to the right. Her head-shaking got so bad that none of Debbie's students wanted to ride the mare. Debbie tried changing bits, which did not work, and finally decided to try Dr. Green since she had another mare who was retired to a pasture to let her life work out. The other mare got worse and worse and they finally put her down, and brought Tilly back home with some hope of reclaiming her as a lesson horse.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Well Debbie had told me last week they had tried the mare in the lesson and her head-shaking was no better. She did find a bit that the mare accepted, a Happy Mouth, but nothing she tried worked on the head-shaking when the mare turned right. They had tried a nose net previously before the mare's long vacation but that did not do anything good either. We discussed Tilly during the rescheduling call since I had done some research on the web about the problem. We discussed photic head-shaking which is controllable by a face mask that blocks up to 95% of UV light, but Debbie did not think the head-shaking was caused by light. Then we discussed the trigeminal nerve and I told her that I thought the Fenwick Face Mask with Ears might help if that nerve was a problem.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I told Debbie what Shannon had told me, Debbie's memory got triggered. Several years ago Tilly's rider had not checked out the stall at a horse show for dangers for a horse, and Tilly got a long cut on her right ear, a cut severe enough that the veterinarian had to put in several stitches. When the ear healed up and looked like it was back to normal the head-shaking started, always when the mare turned to the right. Debbie had not connected the two—the ear cut and the head-shaking—but in Debbie's defense there are around 38 or so horses at her barn that she takes care of, and sometimes it is hard to figure out one horse's peculiarities in all the noise of all the other horses.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">But now it all came together, the right ear being injured, the stitching up of the ear, and the ensuing problems ALL triggered when the mare was turned to the right, and only when the mare was turned to the right. I repeated my recommendation of trying the Fenwick Face Mask with Ears and I reminded Debbie how this face mask had helped Bingo get over his extreme ear-shyness. I told her to try it for a while because it took Bingo a few rides wearing it before he started enjoying me handling his ears instead of just tolerating it.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie used the face mask on Tilly the next lesson. The mare did not shake her head turning right until the end of the hour long lesson and apparently Tilly did not shake her head as strongly as she usually did it. I got the impression that between the Happy Mouth bit and the face mask with ears Tilly looked like a normal horse instead of a head flinging dragon.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie was GREATLY encouraged, this is the first real progress they've made with the head-shaking. She is hopeful that it keeps working, but she told me that the mare could not wear the face mask when showing. However shows do allow the horses to wear ear bonnets, and we are fortunate that the Fenwick people also make the Fenwick “Liquid Titanium Therapeutic Ear Bonnet” which Debbie can buy, it is more expensive than normal ear bonnets ($55.00 USD) but if it works it is well worth the extra cost to get the mare back into the shows.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">My main worry about going just to an ear bonnet is that it does not really cover much of the TMJ joint or the trigeminal nerve. Fortunately the Fenwick people also make the Fenwick “Liquid Titanium TMJ Wrap” that is wrapped around the top of the cheek pieces of the bridle right below the brow band. I imagine that Debbie will just want to try the ear bonnet first, but if the mare reacts worse than with the Fenwick Face Mask with Ears, it would give us something to add to try and address the trigeminal nerve.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This all goes to show that an apparently minor injury can have long lasting effects on a horse even after the minor injury is healed. I do not know what else happened to Tilly's right ear to cause the head-shaking, for all I know Tilly's right ear may still hurt from the original cut/stitches. All I know is that I have seen some amazing results from using the technical Far Infra Red Fabrics, both the Back on Track stuff and the Fenwick stuff.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I know it can be hard to get a truly detailed history about every injury a horse suffered in its life when a person buys a mature horse. A lot of injuries are small and heal up quite well with no long-lasting effects on the horse. But some injuries have lingering effects, causing the horse pain and distress throughout the horse's life. This might be a reason why horses get sold on, the horse has a problem, the owner and veterinarians cannot figure it out, they try this and that, and finally give up and figure that the horse has to step down several steps, and the owner tries to find the horse a good, less challenging home. Sometimes stepping back works and the horse recovers its physical abilities, but other times the ghosts of an old injury can affect the horse its whole life.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Life with horses would be SO MUCH EASIER for us if only the horses could talk! Then we would not have to spend months or years trying to figure out what in the hell went wrong with the horse.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Tilly is lucky, Debbie does not like giving up on a horse. She kept the horse, suffered failure from her earlier attempts to make Tilly better, but Debbie kept on trying and giving Tilly chances.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I hope we have come up with a satisfactory solution and Tilly now becomes a treasured lesson/show horse for Debbie's horseless riders.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> Debbie Enjoys Bingo's Transformation tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-10-12:1773158:BlogPost:826871 2019-10-12T15:01:26.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie Enjoys Bingo's Transformation</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Fall has arrived, and I hope it stays around! Once again I can wear some of my Back on Track stuff while riding, the neck wrap, the back wrap/brace, and the BOT T-shirt. Hurrah!!!! I did not bother with the fly sheet for Bingo (though I did put fly spray on) and Bingo could wear the BOT exercise sheet all through the hide. Happier rider, happier horse, what…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie Enjoys Bingo's Transformation</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Fall has arrived, and I hope it stays around! Once again I can wear some of my Back on Track stuff while riding, the neck wrap, the back wrap/brace, and the BOT T-shirt. Hurrah!!!! I did not bother with the fly sheet for Bingo (though I did put fly spray on) and Bingo could wear the BOT exercise sheet all through the hide. Happier rider, happier horse, what could be better than that?</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">During the warm-up part of my lesson Debbie and I continued our “seminar discussions”. I reported to her the improvements I've seen in Bingo during the six months I've ridden him in the double bridle. I expounded on my observations, telling Debbie that I thought that a lot of problems riders have with their horses could be “cured” by going right to the double bridle rather than trying snaffle after snaffle and the same with Kimberwicks and Pelhams. I also got a bit into my usual rant against tight nosebands, nosebands that are tightened to try to make up for the deficiencies of these supposedly “milder” bitting options.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie is getting one of her horses back from companionship status, the mare whose companion she has been has gotten so bad she is being put down. This mare, Tilly, has had issues with contact, and at times she compulsively shakes her head, usually approaching a jump. This greatly limits her usability as a lesson horse in a hunt seat stable. Though I think that another remedy might work much better for the head shaking, I approve of trying to improve contact with the double bridle. I reminded Debbie that Bingo “seems” to refer from one bit to the other one and that seems to improve his responses to my hands.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Then came a perfect time to show her what the double bridle can do. After a vigorous posting trot near the end of my lesson I had to make an emergency pit stop. I got off, took off my helmet, gave Debbie the helmet and suggested that she get up on Bingo and ride him for a few minutes. I rapidly ran to the porta-john and left Debbie alone in the ring. When I got back to the ring Debbie was a true convert, she had ridden Bingo before, she knew how Bingo sets his jaw as a matter of course against the action of the bit, and she knew how uncooperative Bingo can get when he is uncomfortable.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie was PLEASED with Bingo. She purposely left the curb rein sagging, just keeping contact with the single-jointed eggbutt bradoon. His contact and his response to her hand aids were much better than the previous times she had ridden him. With her ride fresh in her mind Debbie now understood when I mentioned Bingo referring from one bit to the other and coming to the correct conclusion. If I am right it means that a rider can get the benefit of having two bits in the horse's mouth without engaging the curb bit other than with the weight of the sagging reins. This is probably the “proper” way to ride hunt seat with a double bridle, with a sagging curb rein 99.9% of the time. The other .1% of the time I usually find it sufficient to just jiggle the sagging curb rein to get a response from Bingo. Engaging the curb bit fully is reserved for my “I really mean it” statements, with a smooth closing of my relaxed fingers with an immediate release.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo now keeps his lower jaw relaxed the majority of my rides (and when he stiffens it, well that is my fault.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I also reminded Debbie that several months of riding Bingo with the double bridle resulted in a more useful lesson horse. Yes, in the normal lessons Bingo is in a snaffle bit, and he still is not super relaxed and confident in his beginning rider's hands, but from reports from the few times he has been used lately he is much better behaved and much less likely to just “cuss out” his rider. All in all Bingo seems to be much more relaxed about having a bit in his mouth.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When Debbie gets Tilly back we can measure her mouth for the double bridle bits, measuring for the curb bit vertically above the curb groove and for the bradoon just at the corners of the mouth. I have the bits, I have single-jointed, double-jointed and Cambridge mouth bradoons that Debbie can choose from, and I have Weymouth curbs in 1/4” increments from 4” up to 5”. I told Debbie she could have a pair of my ½” reins to use as a curb rein, and when I asked her if she wanted me to pick up a bradoon strap when I visit the tack store next week she said yes. I will also probably get a bit strap, they are so useful for keeping the curb chain attached to the curb bit!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">On Friday, during my “homework” ride a new rider came into the ring riding Coach, the OTTB. I had seen her earlier in the barn while Debbie was finding out what the girl had done so far in riding so she could select the correct horse for the new rider. The girl mentioned that in college she had started trying out dressage. When the girl was getting ready to mount I rode up and told her that the best dressage book I had ever read was Udo Burger's “The Way to Perfect Horsemanship” and how that book had finally shown me how to coordinate my aids with the horse's stride, vastly improving my riding. I am a strong believer in getting riding students off on the right foot when they start to get into the more refined riding of dressage, and I do not think one could do any better than reading this book.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie's main goal in teaching is to help her riders develop to the highest level they are capable of. She gets results, I greatly admire the riding ability of her advanced riders, they can get stuff out of the horse non-abusively that I would have great difficulties replicating. I think and hope that this one ride on Bingo has shown Debbie the positive effects of the double bridle and given her a reason to start using one in her program. If the mare Tilly ends up improving as much as Bingo has I foresee some of Debbie's advanced students learning how to ride with a double bridle without abusing the horse.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> Sam Gives Me a Lesson tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-10-05:1773158:BlogPost:826768 2019-10-05T17:44:49.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Sam Gives Me a Lesson</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie could not give me a lesson this week since she went to the OTTB makeover to support one of her daughters who has been schooling an OTTB she bought. So Debbie's other daughter Sam gave me my lesson. This week I made sure to wear my ice vest and the heat did not affect me anywhere near what it did last week when I did not wear my ice vest.…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Sam Gives Me a Lesson</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie could not give me a lesson this week since she went to the OTTB makeover to support one of her daughters who has been schooling an OTTB she bought. So Debbie's other daughter Sam gave me my lesson. This week I made sure to wear my ice vest and the heat did not affect me anywhere near what it did last week when I did not wear my ice vest.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">We are having a little cool down here in southern NC, and last night we got a little bit of rain, the first rain in weeks. Officially we are in a minor drought now, a big comedown from this spring when we got plenty of rain. It may rain tonight so I don't know if I'll get to ride tomorrow, but we need rain so bad that I will gladly sacrifice a day of riding for some rain (though a week of rain interfering with my riding would be horrible.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Of course I had Bingo in his double bridle, and Bingo was good. Sam was impressed with how I got Bingo to move out at the walk and trot, I think the reason why many people like seeing me ride their horses is because I can get the horse to move out and extend some. I am NOT content with the normal school horse walk of 2 MPH or so, I want the horse to walk at least 3 to 3 ½ MPH and I always aim to get the horse to go 4 MPH. Therefore when I ride the horses stretch out under me and the riding teacher can see the horse move properly, in a free swinging walk, one that looks like we are going somewhere instead of just crawling around the ring. At the trot I work to get Bingo out of his Western jog that has no suspension at all, into a trot where he is springing from one diagonal to the next one.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">We had a good discussion about riding in a double bridle. I told Sam about my hypothesis that Bingo is using the double bridle to figure out what in the heck my rein aids mean, referring back and forth from one bit to the other. Every other time I used a double bridle on a horse (4 horses) I was ignorant about the proper fitting of the curb bit, the curb bits were probably too wide and I had them way up in their mouths so the mouthpiece of the curb bit was not vertically over the chin groove, but looking back at least two of these horses did get further understanding about what the snaffle meant when I used the double bridle on them. Sam listened and agreed with me that after several months in the double bridle that Bingo has turned from a suspicious, reluctant, imitating a snail lesson horse into a horse that someone would want to ride.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Then I got to talking how, when I decided to use a double bridle, I KNEW that I had to provide the double bridle myself because nowadays it is a rare hunt seat stable that owns the bits necessary for a double bridle. Since I now own double bridle bits from 3 ½ inches to 5 inches I am now well prepared to ride most horses in a double bridle, and I told Sam that if one of her student's horses could possibly improve by use of a double bridle that I could lend her the bits (but not the bradoon strap or extra set of reins.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I've seen in real life, in videos, and in pictures horses that obviously do not really understand what the bits “mean” in their mouths, and these horses end up with their mouths strapped shut, their riders often use increasingly severe bits, the rider's hands become hard and unforgiving, and the horses end up behind the vertical, which seems to be the norm for dressage horses now (back 50 years ago it was a MAJOR sin.) There are also many problems with the horses boring down on the bit, making the rider carry the weight of the horse's head. These can all be signs that the horse truly does not understand, and while expert, experienced riders can often explain the snaffle (or Kimberwick or Pelham) to the horse, many riders do not have the sensitivity of the hand that is necessary for this type of educating the horse. So the horse copes as best he can, trying to give the rider what the rider wants even while the horse simply does not understand it at all.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo was a lot like this before the double bridle. It did not matter to him that all the other horses I ride seem to go fine in a snaffle, with his low set neck and thick throat-latch it was so much easier for him to just bore down on the snaffle and do what he wanted while the rider lost all control over him. I worked on him, giving clear rein aids, releasing my rein aids so he could obey me comfortably, and praising him greatly when he got it right. Bingo did improve his responsiveness when I was in the saddle, but put another rider on him he went right back to his tried and proven resistances. Since the goal is to make Bingo into an acceptable lesson horse I felt like we did not make much progress at all.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">That all changed with the double bridle. Contrary to my expectations Bingo has never shown any distress from having two pieces of metal in his mouth, and believe me when Bingo does not like anything he can make his displeasure painfully clear. He is still resistant somewhat to the action of the bradoon, but when I tweak the curb rein to tell him “Yes, this is definitely what I want you to do” he cooperates a lot quicker. As a result my hands have become a lot lighter when I ride him, which makes Bingo more comfortable and less likely to try and evade the action of the bit. It is a virtuous circle. I also now think that with two bits in his mouth the thinking part of his brain is activated, and since he is thinking he can figure stuff out better. The tongue has many nerves in it, and with two mouthpieces on different parts of his tongue, I can give clearer aids that he understands much more quickly than before.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I now understand why old time experienced riders preferred riding in a double bridle. Yes, the curb bit can act like an emergency brake, and the double bridle gives the rider more ability to influence the horse's head carriage, but I think that these riders appreciated the increased brain power of their horses in the double bridle. Why else would these riders stay content with having a handful of reins to deal with?</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After our satisfactory lesson I asked Sam to measure Noah's mouth so I could pick the correct size bit for him when I finally get to ride him. From the side Noah's muzzle is really small, and I sort of assumed he would use smaller bits. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Noah's mouth measures 5” across at the corner of his mouth and 4 ¾” just above his curb groove.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I do have stainless steel double bridle bits that will fit his mouth. However I am now trying to switch from stainless steel to titanium or titanium coated bits, and nowhere in the world have I found a 4 3/4” titanium curb. Except for the Fager bits the titanium/titanium coated curb bits seem to be 5” and bigger, and the Fager people do not make 4¾” (120 mm bits). I am still doubtful that Noah's lips are long enough to carry two bits in his mouth and it might be academic anyway since I do not own Noah, and it will be up to Debbie if I get to experiment with him.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">But after going through the super positive experience of using the double bridle on Bingo I am eager to also use it on other horses to see if I get equivalent results now that I know how to measure the horse's mouth correctly for the double bridle bits.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Because I can tell you I never expected Bingo to become so good, I just did not think he had it in him.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Of course the double bridle requires a reasonably secure seat and sensitive hands with supple fingers. If a rider does not have these two requirements it would be best not to use a double bridle because it could cause great pain to the horse's mouth.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> The Oakley Diaries 41 - The Tree Root Analogy tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-09-30:1773158:BlogPost:826855 2019-09-30T21:45:06.000Z B. G. Hearns /profile/BGHearns <p>We are now jumping up to 1m, even over a 1m spread. It feels a lot like soaring. Of course, that is only possible because I have the ability to clamp my legs on, and no longer need to rip his hair out of his neck. Because I'm not flying out of the saddle, Oakley is no longer balking quite the way he used to.</p> <p>Oh, he still stops in front of a jump he hasn't seen before, that'll be a given for ever. After eight years, he still freezes and tries to avoid and frequently stops, but in a…</p> <p>We are now jumping up to 1m, even over a 1m spread. It feels a lot like soaring. Of course, that is only possible because I have the ability to clamp my legs on, and no longer need to rip his hair out of his neck. Because I'm not flying out of the saddle, Oakley is no longer balking quite the way he used to.</p> <p>Oh, he still stops in front of a jump he hasn't seen before, that'll be a given for ever. After eight years, he still freezes and tries to avoid and frequently stops, but in a different way. Ever seen a reining horse do that skid on the hind legs? He stops like that, without the dramatic skid.</p> <p>It's because my legs have developed the strength to hold my entire seat in the saddle, and on Oakley.</p> <p>My coach, T.H., calls it having the roots of a tree.</p> <p>An apt analogy, because, just like a tree, I am anchored in the saddle, yet just like a tree, my torso is free to move around, to shift to maintain balance, and even be thrown forward if Oakley, or whatever horse I'm riding, comes to a sudden stop. My upper body folds forward, or gets jerked backward by a sudden take-off, but my legs, they are strong enough to stay where they are, like tree roots.</p> <p>This means that I can begin to do the release over jumps, which has become increasingly necessary as the height goes up.</p> Has Bingo Turned the Corner? tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-09-28:1773158:BlogPost:826646 2019-09-28T13:49:28.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Has Bingo Turned the Corner?</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo has been very good, a statement that I despaired of making when I started riding him.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo was used for two birthday parties, two days in a row. He was ridden by girls, I got the impression that not all the girls were Debbie's students, and did walk and trot. He behaved, he did not scare…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Has Bingo Turned the Corner?</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo has been very good, a statement that I despaired of making when I started riding him.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo was used for two birthday parties, two days in a row. He was ridden by girls, I got the impression that not all the girls were Debbie's students, and did walk and trot. He behaved, he did not scare the children, and Debbie is very pleased with him.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Not only that, but Bingo has also decided that even if he was ridden by someone else, that my aids actually mean something. I no longer seem to have to retrain him almost from start every time someone else rides him. He remembers what I've taught him. He is finally becoming a respectable member of Debbie's team. Yes, someone else will have to school him at the canter before the next riding camp, I just do not have the physical energy necessary to do that work. But now Bingo is showing promise as a usable lesson horse even though right now it is just at the walk and trot.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Of course, after being ridden by me once or twice a week, being made to WORK (even though it is mainly at the walk), and having to carry my adult weight around, Bingo may have decided that carrying light weight kids around that do not expect him to walk faster is easy. He can poke around the ring for an hour, no big deal.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I still have work to do for halting. When I give the rein aid Bingo waits to react until he is SURE that I want him to stop. This probably comes from the occasional meaningless bumps on the bit that beginning riders are prone to. My big hope, when Debbie uses him for other riders, is that he will decide that the double bridle is a reliable indication that MY rules are in operation instead of the beginning rider rules that are in effect with just a snaffle in his mouth. I do have the security of knowing that no one else will use a double bridle on him, the stable does not own a double bridle or the specific bits necessary for a double bridle. As far as I know no one else riding at Debbie's stable owns a double bridle.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie is encouraged that Bingo is starting to become useful because Debbie just got an Arabian gelding, Noah, in her barn under the part lease/use as a lesson horse arrangement. Well, he may be a pure Arabian except that his ears are very long for an Arabian. But everything else about his head shouts pure Arab, a pyramid shaped skull from the side view, small delicate muzzle, an actual mitbah (throat-latch) that is slender and mobile, deep jowl bones, and an interest in what is around him. He isn't very wide between his eyes but is within the modern Arab norm, and his eyes are big and very kind. I've only seen him so I do not know how wide he is between his jowl bones, the other sure sign of high Arab blood. Debbie is talking about me riding him for my lessons, and I can go on using Bingo as my “homework” horse. Just from looking at Noah I do not know if his lips are long enough to use double bridle bits comfortably, but I do not mind too much since I just love Arabians. Right now they are using a snaffle bit on him when he is being used for lessons.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I've been saying Hi to Noah when I pass his stall. Yesterday I stopped and started crooning sweet words to him and his eyes softened and we “connected” for a brief moment, he SAW me and took interest in my crooning voice. A promising start.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> This Time Bingo Remembered tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-09-21:1773158:BlogPost:826845 2019-09-21T15:27:51.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This Time Bingo Remembered</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Earlier this week Bingo had a different rider, a rider different from me in many ways. His rider is a man that goes to Debbie's church and she had been telling him about Bingo and his handicapped rider, me. This man has cerebral palsy, disabled, unable to drive, and I don't think he had ever been on a horse before. Somehow this guy ended up with a Western saddle and…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This Time Bingo Remembered</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Earlier this week Bingo had a different rider, a rider different from me in many ways. His rider is a man that goes to Debbie's church and she had been telling him about Bingo and his handicapped rider, me. This man has cerebral palsy, disabled, unable to drive, and I don't think he had ever been on a horse before. Somehow this guy ended up with a Western saddle and he wanted to ride a horse, specifically Bingo, and Debbie said yes, that she and other people at the stable would help him ride.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I do not think that the saddle fit Bingo at all, the guy was not very coordinated, and he had no idea of how to signal a horse and no physical ability to give clear aids. It took three people to get the guy mounted up on Bingo (luckily only 14 hands or so) and Bingo decided to start the ride by standing still, after all the guy was not giving him clear aids, so when in doubt Bingo stops. He did not move until Debbie started walking by him, then Bingo consented to do a slow walk. After the guy's ride was over it took three people to get this rider off the horse, but at least this guy got to do something he'd been considering for a while.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This was not an ideal experience for Bingo but he proved that he is not a crazy horse. Due to the guy's handicap Bingo was correct, the best idea was to stand still until Debbie got there and made sure that the guy could stay on. I am sure that the saddle hurt Bingo's back some, but again, due to this man's handicap, Bingo did the correct response of standing still or walking very slowly. Bingo did not blow up, he did not try to scare this rider, he did not go too fast for comfort, he just plodded around following Debbie at a slow walk. I do like horses that respond that way with handicapped riders, it is like the horse telling the rider “I'll move when you can prove you can tell me correctly, then I'll move slowly, so slow that you won't get scared until you learn to ride well enough to go faster”, not in words but in general attitude. This guy did not get scared riding Bingo.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie told me this would not happen regularly since it took so many people to get the man on and off the horse.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Then, while out in the pasture, a horse had kicked Bingo on the muscles of his near hind leg, so one leg also hurt him as well as his back.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">So Bingo was not in top shape when I mounted him for my lesson on Wednesday. My tack is completely different than the tack this guy used, I have a jumping saddle that fits Bingo decently and I use a double bridle based on my Micklem bridle, there is no way that Bingo could mistake me for that handicapped man. It was cool enough so I could keep the BOT exercise sheet on Bingo my whole ride, between it and my BOT properly shimmed saddle pad, Bingo's back got some effective therapy to relax the muscles that got into contraction. I mostly rode in half-seat (my weight more on my pubic bone) because every time I let my weight go into my seat bones Bingo went into a crawl, so slow, so obviously uncomfortable, that I did not feel like I could sit down fully in the saddle.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Basically Bingo had every excuse to start balking again. His routine had been disrupted, he had been back in a Western saddle that hurt his back, his back still hurt some by the time I rode him, and Debbie and I were expecting some minor problems with getting him going. Bingo really did not want to move, but after I insisted he walked. Whenever I sat on my seat bones he slowed way down and his back stopped moving. Finally I got his back “swinging” some and I asked him to extend his walk a little bit, and it took a lot of leg to get that little bit. He would not extend his stride as much as he usually does but I did not blame him, his back hurt, his leg hurt, and he was giving me what I wanted to the limits of his comfort that day.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Fortunately Bingo remembered what my hand aids meant. He halted without much repetition and he turned fine with the bigger, sweeping turns. His turns in place were not as good as usual but he TRIED instead of sinking into a dark mood of “I don't want to, I hurt, quit nagging and why don't you get off.” Instead he kept on walking, and while he really liked me stopping him and did not want to move off again he did not balk, he was just reluctant and moved gingerly, but he moved.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo has heart.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After the first few minutes of our ride Debbie decided that trotting might be too much for Bingo considering the state of his body. I was fine with that, as far as I am concerned it is impossible to do good work with a horse until the back moves freely. I imagine that the next few weeks I will be spending a lot of time in a half seat, keeping my weight over the strongest part of his back and avoiding as much as possible the part of his back that looks like it is sagging down (he has a very high croup.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I was pretty pleased with our ride. Bingo did not balk with me even though he had good reasons to balk. Bingo took care of his other handicapped rider even though it was not very pleasant for Bingo given that the saddle did not fit (I am sure it bridged badly.) He did not forget the rein and leg aids even though he went through a very different type of experience, one that normally would have given him an excuse to forget everything he ever learned.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo was a good boy.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> We Change to Titanium Double Bridle Bits tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-09-14:1773158:BlogPost:826639 2019-09-14T16:15:13.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">We Change to Titanium Double Bridle Bits</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Over a month ago I learned about Fager Bits (<a href="https://www.fagerbits.com/">https://www.fagerbits.com</a>) on the COTH forum. When I went to their site I learned that they had titanium bits (at least the mouthpiece is titanium) and, wonders of wonders, they had titanium double bridle bits that would fit Bingo (115mm Weymouth curb and 120mm…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">We Change to Titanium Double Bridle Bits</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Over a month ago I learned about Fager Bits (<a href="https://www.fagerbits.com/">https://www.fagerbits.com</a>) on the COTH forum. When I went to their site I learned that they had titanium bits (at least the mouthpiece is titanium) and, wonders of wonders, they had titanium double bridle bits that would fit Bingo (115mm Weymouth curb and 120mm bradoon.) It took me several weeks to save up my money to get them, they are expensive but at least they are not as expensive as the Lorenzini titanium bits, plus Fager bits company has free shipping worldwide as versus up to $40.00 USD for shipping alone. I could not get exactly what I wanted (a ported curb and an eggbutt bradoon), but since I had not found any 4 1/2” titanium Weymouth curbs at all, I got really excited. The Fager company has one titanium Weymouth curb available, with a choice of widths—115mm, 125mm, 135mm and 145mm. This Weymouth only comes with a Mullen mouth, this company does not seem to produce any bits with ports.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">They have two titanium bradoons available, one with a center joint (which I bought) and a double jointed bradoon, also with a choice of widths, 110mm, 120mm, 130mm and 140mm. This is a much wider selection of widths for titanium Weymouth and bradoon bits that just seem to come in 5” and bigger from other companies. The Fager bits is in Sweden and they say they make their bits in Sweden (they say the bits are hand-made too.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I have never seen a bradoon made in the style of the Fager bradoons. The cannons of the mouthpiece of the bradoon are not curved at all, if I lay the bradoon on a flat surface all of the cannons of the bradoon lay flat. The Fager bit people had an explanation for this departure from normal, to quote from their site “due to the straight design and low weight, your aids will be more direct and precise”, and later on the page “We design them that way to keep the balance point on the mouth. If you have a bigger bend forward, you will also move the balance point forward and slowing down the process of your aids. More stable and less confusing for your horse.” I think that the translation is not as good as I would want it to be from Swedish to English. The bradoon also will not bend more than 90 degrees at the center joint, and the center joint is so small that it does not hit the horse's palate. It is also a loose ring bradoon and my stainless steel bradoons were eggbutt, another change he had to get his brain around.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">My bits arrived Thursday, too late for my lesson on Wednesday but just in time for my “homework” ride on Friday. I changed the bits on my double bridle with just a little bit of frustration in getting my leather bit strap through the eyelets on the Fager Weymouth curb.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I got to the stable they were busy, this weekend they are putting on a C-rated show, but Debbie took one look at me and my husband and dropped everything to help us get Bingo groomed (she is a very kind riding teacher!) When Sam helped me by bridling Bingo she had some difficulty in getting him to open his mouth, I guess the titanium bits smell different than the stainless steel bits I had been using. Bingo was not too sure about his new bits, I had used titanium coated snaffles on him some but he was not used to having two titanium bits in his mouth at the same time. He was not too upset though, he drank water readily when my husband took him to the water trough. Bingo balked several times on the way to the ring, then we had to spend a minute or so to get Bingo through the arena gate, Bingo does NOT like changes!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">By the time I mounted Bingo seemed to accept the presence of these strangely shaped bits in his mouth.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">But acceptance of their presence in his mouth did not translate into considering that my hand aids meant the same thing no matter what the bit is made of. The first time I tried to halt it was “Huh? What could you possibly mean?” and it took me three halts to finally explain to Bingo that my hand aid meant halt whether the bit was stainless steel or titanium. He did finally get the message, somewhat.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Turning was not hard since I could back up my hand aid with my leg aids, he figured that one out pretty quick, but I could tell he was not totally certain about it. When I finally got to the turns in place (turn on the hindquarters and turn on the forehand) he seemed to have figured it out and I had minimal difficulties in getting him to do what I wanted. On the other hand the leg yield was a complete bust, he just could not understand me even though the ride before this one he had improved his leg yield. Backing him up was hard, and when I finally got one tentative step backwards I stopped asking him and praised him mightily.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Hopefully next week he will be better in my lesson.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo seemed to think the bits were OK, there was no gaping, setting his jaw hard, no head flinging, and while the bits felt foreign to him he did not get upset about that (and this horse really shows it when he is upset about something.) He kept contact with his new bradoon fine if a bit lighter than before, but the bradoon has such a different shape in his mouth I sort of expected that. He had no problems when he stretched out his neck when he met the bits, he just kept on stretching his neck out gently without any hesitation. Bingo did improve from the beginning of the ride to the end of his ride, and after a few more rides he will probably decide that these bits feel nice in his mouth.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This inability to adapt to change quickly is just part of what Bingo is as an old dun QH with not so good initial training. I think his brain is set up differently than all the other horses I've ridden and trained in my life, and it is up to me, the more intelligent one, to figure out how to explain stuff to him in a manner he can understand. He is not “defying” me, he just really cannot understand how an aid with one bit means the same thing with another type of bit, and once he understands that he goes back to his normal responsiveness (sort of reluctant obedience.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Since it was hot and humid, with sweat running down my face, I did not try trotting him. I am saving the trot for my lesson next week when I hopefully feel better.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Considering everything that Bingo is he did quite well this ride. While he did not understand my aids at first he was willing to learn them (all over again.) This is Bingo, and while I might feel impatient and wonder if I will ever get through to him he is actually pretty good, when he figures stuff out.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">All people, horses and other animals have to learn how to learn something. I have run into this problem before, and then I got to teach the horse how to learn, how to draw the correct conclusion even though something has changed. I do this with patience and praise when the horse finally reaches the right conclusion—as in this aid means this in this circumstance. Since he is in his twenties his brain is sort of set in its ways and I am sure that he thinks that I am a really challenging (and unreasonable) rider at the walk and trot. If and when I ever get strong enough to canter again I am sure I will have to go through the entire process again.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo is a challenge. The best way to become a good rider is to ride these challenging horses. Once I can get through to them I know what I do is correct and acceptable to the horse.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> Any New Situation="I Don't Remember ANYTHING!" tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-08-31:1773158:BlogPost:826931 2019-08-31T15:07:09.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Any “New” Situation= “I Don't Remember ANYTHING!”</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Sorry for missing last week, I had ridden three times and I was simply exhausted. This week I just rode Cider and had my lesson so I have a tiny bit more energy.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Sunday, when I rode Cider, the weather was absolutely wonderful. Not only did I not need my ice vest to stay cool,…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Any “New” Situation= “I Don't Remember ANYTHING!”</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Sorry for missing last week, I had ridden three times and I was simply exhausted. This week I just rode Cider and had my lesson so I have a tiny bit more energy.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Sunday, when I rode Cider, the weather was absolutely wonderful. Not only did I not need my ice vest to stay cool, it was cool enough so I could wear my protective vest and my slightly hotter summer weight silicone full-seat tights. That helped make up for the frustration of Cider being not quite right, and she also seemed to enjoy the coolness. She was a little bit less ouchy on her front legs and she was a little bit more willing to lengthen her walk stride. She shows nothing obvious about her arthritis pain, no head bobbing, but I can feel the little flinches all the way up her leg. Her legs seem to feel worse with any turning, and since we ride in a very small riding ring I am afraid that frequent curves and turns are inevitable. Heading downhill on a very gentle slope brings it on too. At least last Sunday I did not have to collect her somewhat to lessen the flinching when we headed down-slope which was mildly encouraging, I will just have to see what she does tomorrow before I dare to hope for improvement.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">But it was SO GOOD not to feel like I was melting in the saddle!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Since our lesson in the 2<sup>nd</sup> ring when Bingo had “forgotten” what all my aids mean, Debbie has started giving me some of my lessons in the 2<sup>nd</sup> riding ring. It seems that ANY change in routine immediately wipes Bingo's brain clean, not quite as bad as riding a horse for the first few times after introducing him to the saddle, but it is very irritating to me since I HAD gotten him rather responsive to my aids. With the changes all responsiveness has totally disappeared, all I get from him is “I do not understand you” with stuff he has understood for months.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">On Wednesday Debbie asked me if I was able to mount from the two-step mounting block in the second ring. Faced with the almost certainty of Bingo balking at the gate of the second ring I told her I could mount fine from the two-step mounting block. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful that the only place he balks now when I am on his back is the narrow gate into the second riding ring, but it is sort of humiliating to have to have someone on the ground lead him through that gate. Since I mounted him inside the second riding ring he did not balk at all on Wednesday.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">At least he remembers that when I press his sides with both legs it means go, which means I have the bare minimum necessary to work this horse. But halting—Bingo does not seem to like halting at all now. I start of with minor alternating tweaks on the bridoon and he ignores them. By the third request I start adding the curb rein, and it now seems to take three attempts with the curb rein before he consents to halt. So we practice halting, heading in the direction of the barn, heading toward the gate, heading to the side of the ring, in the middle of the ring, just a half-hour of telling him yes, you have to halt now. It is not that he is raring to go, if I let him he will walk at 2 MPH or less and at the trot he will happily give me his Western jog with no impulsion at all, but to get him to move out at all takes leg, Leg, LEG.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">During this time of frustration with Bingo I am glad I am using the double bridle. I do not need the curb bit as an emergency brake for sudden running away, I use it to emphasize that I am actually giving him a rein aid that I expect him to obey. By using the double bridle my hands can be lighter, with just a snaffle on days that he “forgets” how to halt I had to end up by “setting” my hands and stiffening my fingers repeatedly before he would halt. I HATED how strong my hands had to get in the snaffle, I really do not like “setting” my hands because when I do his jaw and poll stiffen up and we both end up unhappy. With the double bridle it has not been easy when he is reluctant to halt, but at least I do not have to set my hands and I can preserve some lightness.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Of course I do not haul back on the curb rein. I tweak the curb rein and I release it immediately, and if necessary I repeat this a little bit more emphatically. This week I ended up using the curb rein more to get him to halt, and I had to use it a little bit more strongly though I always release the rein immediately.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I am also working a bit more on backing up. This is something I do not want to do very frequently since backing up is his second favorite resistance when just balking does not work. I am now trying to avoid using both reins at the same time since he is so ready to stiffen his jaw and poll, so right now I use one leg then the rein on the same side, alternating. After a while he seems to get the idea and very reluctantly backs up one step, then I have to negotiate the second step back using the other rein and leg, just like when I first started riding him.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Of course when we start trotting Bingo's attitude is that since I've had to use my legs so much to get him to stretch his stride at the walk this MUST mean that I want a fast trot—no Bingo, slow down a little bit. Then he wants to collapse into his Western jog and I have to tell him that he needs to speed up a little. The one bright part of him trotting is that he is rarely resistant to going down into a walk, at least until the day that he decides that he does NOT want to stop trotting. At least this week he was willing to do the trot to walk transition readily, and some of his downward transitions were actually pretty, with prompt responses to my reins and smoothly going into the walk, with no setting of his jaw or resisting with his massive neck muscles.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I started riding with Debbie I told her I would try to ride any horse she wanted me to ride. This means I get to ride horses that have some problems in the regular lesson program, horses that are too sensitive for beginners, horses with gaping holes in their training when asked to do more, and horses that have not learned that life gets so much easier when they cooperate with their rider. This way I get to ride more “interesting” horses and my riding education is progressing, in the last decade I have never felt at a standstill except for when my MS gets worse.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">But, Bingo. I am most certainly developing my patience. I am developing my persistence in the face of “adversity”. I am honing my skills of how to get a horse to understand my aids. I am learning how to make allowances for his imperfect conformation.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Once I read a Western author (John Lyons?) who said that it took 25,000 repetitions of an aid until the horse truly learned the aid. Back then I was riding Arabs and part-Arabs and my reaction was HUH? With an Arab I truly expect the horse to thoroughly understand an aid by the tenth time I repeat it, and from then on it is smooth sailing, I give the aid, the horse understands the aid, and the horse promptly obeys the aid, AND the horse remembers his training even after YEARS of not being ridden. But that is Arabs for you, intelligent, bright, easily trainable, and with memories that just don't quit.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">But with Bingo I am understanding where this author was coming from all too well. It may well take 25,000 repetitions of an aid before Bingo will reliably obey it even when things change around him. So all I can do is repeat everything we have worked on each time I ride, praising him every time he obeys me, repeating it several times each ride. Maybe, just maybe, after another decade Bingo will get to where I feel he is a well trained horse. Until then I just have to develop my patience.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> I Got Myself New Safety Stirrups tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-08-17:1773158:BlogPost:826908 2019-08-17T15:06:43.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I Got Myself New Safety Stirrups</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After I fell off Coach last year I realized that getting safety stirrups might be a really good idea. I started looking around at the various types of safety stirrups, some relatively cheap like the Peacock stirrups, and some extremely expensive ($600.00 USD on up.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I was familiar with…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I Got Myself New Safety Stirrups</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After I fell off Coach last year I realized that getting safety stirrups might be a really good idea. I started looking around at the various types of safety stirrups, some relatively cheap like the Peacock stirrups, and some extremely expensive ($600.00 USD on up.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I was familiar with Peacock stirrups. While these may be a satisfactory solution for the child rider I had some problems with them as an adult, after using them a while the foot-bed would start sagging down to the rubber band side, the outside of the stirrup. My ankle would break to the outside destroying my lower leg position and making my seat weaker. The Fillis Peacock stirrups were a little more sturdy but all of my problems with Fillis stirrups came back, the horrible foot pain and bruising, and I eventually decided that I could not ride well in them since my body was protecting itself from the pain which sort of destroyed my position in the saddle.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">So I had been looking at the various modern alternatives (plus an older alternative the “Foot Free” stirrups with the curved outer branch) but I did not see an alternative that would work for me. I did NOT want stirrup eyes that were twisted around (I had tried the Herm Sprenger Bow Balance Safety stirrups and ended up with a painful bump on my shin bones where the stirrup leather crossed my shins), and that limited my choices somewhat.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">So I kept on riding in my beloved double offset Prussian sided Eldonian stirrups with the Comfort Pad. When I fell off my feet had no problem coming out of these stirrups (maybe because my feet were properly heels down) but I decided I would feel safer with stirrups that would still let my feet escape the stirrups. One of my problems with regular stirrups is that my ankles have this distressing tendency to break to the outside and I have to really concentrate to keep my ankle cocked to the inside and my position suffers so I hoped that eventually a safety stirrup would come around that sloped a little bit in the foot-bed.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Some of the modern safety stirrups looked interesting but did not have a sloping foot-bed and I kept looking. I finally ran into the Tech Venice sloped irons which looked promising, except that they cost almost $400.00 USD. Then I found that there were modern safety stirrups that looked interesting but cost hundreds of dollars more without a sloping foot-bed, so I decided to bite the bullet and save up for these irons. The outer branch of these stirrups is hinged at the bottom with a closing spring and connects magnetically to the outside of the stirrup eye, if not kept open the outside branch springs back into place all by itself.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I saved up enough money I went to my “local” tack store and ordered them. Luckily for me my local tack store is quite willing to order me something carried by one of their suppliers. Since there are several color combinations for these particular stirrups I decided I wanted silver/silver. Well, they were out of stock and I would have to wait over a month for them, so I told the tack store to see if there were any other color combinations available, I just wanted these stirrups.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I ended up with the stirrups with the “silver” colored body and a light metallic blue outer branch, not too garish. The tack store had been given a choice of blue or pink outer branches, they've known me for decades and went ahead and ordered the blue stirrups since they would be less jarring for my sensibilities.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I got my stirrups they looked HUGE. They are not horribly heavy but the upper part of the stirrup is WAY higher than even my old fashioned stirrups, the bottom of the stirrup is thick, and the grated pad juts up some. These stirrups are labeled left and right, and the branch that opens to release the foot opens to the outside. They run up OK on my Millbrook leathers though I have noticed some light marks on the leather from the grated pads. When run up on the saddle the outside branch of the stirrup ends up next to my knee pads pointing forward. Since the “bell” of these stirrups is so high I went ahead and shortened my stirrups leathers a hole.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The first time I rode in my new stirrups was my lesson on Wednesday on Bingo. Debbie was favorably impressed with these stirrups and she did not seem to mind the blue outer branch at all. She fiddled around with the outer branch, seeing the amount of force needed to open it and seeing that the outer branch opens until it is even with the stirrup's foot-bed. Between the opening outer branch and the high bell of these stirrups there is plenty of room for my feet to escape if and when I fall off again. One of Debbie's granddaughters came up, saw my new stirrups, and immediately wanted a pair for herself, unfortunately the sloped stirrup irons only come in the 4 3/4” width and they are EXPENSIVE. (The Tech company does sell some 4” wide stirrups for children, forty dollars cheaper, which have the same safety features, just not the sloped foot bed.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I mounted I noticed that even though I had shortened my stirrup leathers a hole that my legs still wanted them to be half a hole shorter. Since I had been thinking about lengthening my stirrup leathers anyway I decided to let it go, my legs will just have to relax a little more and lengthen!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">My feet felt perfectly fine in these stirrups. The slopes of the foot-bed are MUCH less than the slopes on my double offset stirrups, but at least my ankle did not break to the outside, yeah! Debbie noticed that my right lower leg tended to go back more than usual so I still have to work on my lower leg still. My whole body will have to get used to riding in these stirrups, the “geography” of the stirrups feels strange, not bad just a little odd coming from my double offset stirrups, and my feet need to learn the “geography” of these stirrups. The foot-bed is 2” from front to back and with the grated “pads” my feet did not slide around the stirrups at all, in fact it was a little bit hard to adjust where the stirrup was on my feet. I definitely had to lift all the weight off of my feet before I could move the stirrup forward or back on my feet. These stirrups are comfortable to ride in and my feet did not hurt at all on horseback or when I walked around after my lesson, and my feet did not hurt at all the next day.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After my ride Debbie was grousing because my stirrups only came in one width. Being a riding teacher she has spent some scary moments when the kids fall off though no one has ever gotten hung up in a stirrup, so far. We talked about how one of the reasons I spent the money on these stirrups was that if I fell again the insurance company could not claim that I did everything I could to reduce injury (along with my Rider Grips, my RS-tor, the Millbrook stability leathers, my MIPS helmet and in the colder weather my protective riding vest.) It will also help protect Debbie the next time I fall off in that she approved of me riding in safety stirrups in order to minimize any chance of injury, especially when it is too hot for me to wear my protective vest. Later I found out that the Tech company does make 4” wide safety stirrups, but since they are only forty dollars cheaper it will take a good bit of money to equip all of her saddles with these stirrups.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Modern tack that has safety in mind can get expensive. For instance I gave Debbie's riding program my too short for me Millbrook stirrups leathers, and now the saddle that has this pair of stirrup leathers is a favorite with her adult students, some of them do not want to ride in any other saddle at the barn. These leathers are too expensive for her to equip all her saddles with them, which is why I gave her my too short Millbrook stirrup leathers instead of trying to sell them. I just figured they would do more good for more people in Debbie's lesson program, which in many ways is much more fulfilling to me than just selling them.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I never plan to sell my new Tech Venice sloped stirrup irons. They feel so comfortable on my feet, I feel like my whole foot is supported comfortably and I feel much safer using them. I never plan to fall off but I realize that as long as I ride horses falling off is a possibility. At least the next time I won't have to worry about my feet getting hung up in the stirrups.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> Book Review for Lusitano: noble, courageous, eternal tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-08-13:1773158:BlogPost:826810 2019-08-13T16:00:00.000Z Keron Psillas /profile/KeronPsillas <p>Friends, </p> <p>I was so very pleased to receive this review from Patty Lasko, former editor for Dressage Today. I hope you head over to my site and have a look at the book! <a href="http://www.keronpsillas.com/books" rel="noopener" target="_blank">www.keronpsillas.com/books</a>. </p> <p></p> <p>From Patty: </p> <p>International photographer and horsewoman Keron Psillas Oliveira has a new book and, wow, it is a stunning tour de force! I'm not exaggerating. Her photographs of the Lusitano…</p> <p>Friends, </p> <p>I was so very pleased to receive this review from Patty Lasko, former editor for Dressage Today. I hope you head over to my site and have a look at the book! <a href="http://www.keronpsillas.com/books" target="_blank" rel="noopener">www.keronpsillas.com/books</a>. </p> <p></p> <p>From Patty: </p> <p>International photographer and horsewoman Keron Psillas Oliveira has a new book and, wow, it is a stunning tour de force! I'm not exaggerating. Her photographs of the Lusitano horse are dazzlingly rich with texture and light I've not seen before. What a treat it is to see the breed through her travels and let the photographs wash over you. This book is a must-have for horse lovers everywhere!</p> <p></p> <p><a href="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/3422138867?profile=original" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/3422138867?profile=RESIZE_710x" class="align-full"/></a></p> On Friday I Forgot My Ice Vest tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-08-10:1773158:BlogPost:826337 2019-08-10T15:21:48.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">On Friday I Forgot My Ice Vest</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Southern summer, hot and humid, mid 90s for highs, mid to high 70s when I ride, and the air feels like you could carve it with a knife.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After hearing my story of my minor adventures with Bingo during my homework ride, Debbie decided on Wednesday that it was time for a lesson in the…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">On Friday I Forgot My Ice Vest</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Southern summer, hot and humid, mid 90s for highs, mid to high 70s when I ride, and the air feels like you could carve it with a knife.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After hearing my story of my minor adventures with Bingo during my homework ride, Debbie decided on Wednesday that it was time for a lesson in the 2<sup>nd</sup> ring. Of course Bingo behaved about going through the gate, Debbie, lead mare of lead mares, had told him to go through it. I did have to raise my right leg high to avoid hitting the gatepost, but he did not balk. Yeah, success!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This time Bingo gave me a much better ride. He remembered all my aids and mostly obeyed them within reasonable time. I had made one change to the shimming of my pad, I took out one of the bridging shims and put in the shoulder shims which reach back far enough to fill in the lowest part of his back underneath it. Debbie noticed a difference when she girthed him up, but Bingo did not seem to mind it at all. I changed the shims to see if it would make any difference to my lower legs which I have been carrying too far back. Debbie did not get after my legs like usual, and she told me that she did see my heels coming down further, but it was hard to see since I was riding with my stirrups home.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">One big difference with Bingo was in the leg-yield. Before he had crossed his front legs properly but did not really cross his hind legs. This time Debbie said that Bingo started crossing his hind legs even though I did not get into a half-seat. The way I had set up the shims, with the long front shim underneath and the bridging shim over it in front and sticking out in back, better followed the line of his back where it rapidly swoops up from right behind the saddle. Bingo may have crossed his hind legs better because I gave his back more room for movement and reduced the effect of my weight on his back. Little changes in tack can often bring about big improvements, horses tend to be very picky about what goes on their bodies.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">All was not smooth sailing though. Bingo seemed uncertain about how to do the turns in place at first, though he did improve by the third step. He was fine with contact on the bradoon rein, and I did not have to tweak the curb rein except the first halt or two. Basically Bingo was cooperative, for him, and reasonably obedient.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Friday I forgot my ice vest and I did not realize it until half-way through my ride. I got to ride in the main ring, and I went in full of confidence. However Bingo was “stickier”, his responses were not as generous, and he “forgot” my alternating bradoon reins aid for the halt. Thinking back about my ride it is obvious to me that my body did not work as well in the heat as it does when I wear the ice vest, and I think Bingo was reacting to that. I schooled him at the halt, at least he understood my alternating reins somewhat, and he did not get too irritated at me when I prevented him from plowing his way to his preferred place in the ring, pressing his breast up against the gate. He was not as generous with extending his stride at the walk and I had to keep on using my lower leg to get even a little extension.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">By half-way through my ride I was sweating heavily and I was very glad I was wearing my coolest riding clothes. I notice a difference in how well I react to the heat when I ride in my Flow Rise Kerrit tights compared to the Kerrits Ice Flow tights, the Kerrits Flow Rise tights are definitely cooler, my sweat evaporates better, and since I have the Rider Grips on my saddle I have solved the problems I had with sliding around the saddle when I use the Flow Rise tights. However I would have ridden Bingo much better if I had remembered my ice vest!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Horses notice the littlest things with our riding. My experience on Friday was a good reminder that when I suddenly have problems with a horse I should check MYSELF first, to see if my body is working as well as it normally does. Bingo was reacting to the worsening of my MS symptoms from the heat, my worsening balance, my greater in-coordination, and my shifting position in the saddle. Bingo just ignored my worsening signals at first and took a little advantage of my problems, but he was not mean about it in any way. If Bingo had any generosity in his disposition when young it was thoroughly squashed by inferior training and even worse riding, so I cannot assume ever that he will respond generously to my aids. I take comfort in the fact that while Bingo was not happy with my riding he did not decide to show me that I know nothing at all about riding or horses, something that several horses in my life have been all too happy to show me no matter how much experience I have. He did not respond generously, it was my fault, and I rewarded him for his cooperation even though it was not as good as during previous rides.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Next week I will make sure to remember my ice vest!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> Warning - Read the Fine Print tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-08-04:1773158:BlogPost:826430 2019-08-04T16:31:21.000Z Linda Finstad /profile/LindaFinstad <p><span>A word of caution to all artists who are seduced into entering art competitions. Read the fine print very, very carefully.</span></p> <p></p> <p><span>Free entry and prize money may not be worth it.</span></p> <p></p> <p><span>Recently I came across such a competition run through the City of Edmonton (government) so I assumed it would be a legit competition.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span> The call for submission was very particular it had to follow a theme and if your art…</span></p> <p><span>A word of caution to all artists who are seduced into entering art competitions. Read the fine print very, very carefully.</span></p> <p></p> <p><span>Free entry and prize money may not be worth it.</span></p> <p></p> <p><span>Recently I came across such a competition run through the City of Edmonton (government) so I assumed it would be a legit competition.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span> The call for submission was very particular it had to follow a theme and if your art was chosen as the winner the prize money effectively bought the piece.</span></p> <p><span>Also they required a 250 word essay describing the art to accompany the submission.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span> This competiton required quite a bit of thought and effort. However I was willing to do the work.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p><span>below is the little essay I wrote <span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p></p> <p><span><i>Throughout the ages and recoded history of mankind, horses have played a very important role.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span> Artist Linda Finstad believes that horses are the common thread that tie all peoples, regardless of country or creed.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span> Her symbolic composition “New beginnings” depicts how everything in the universe must be harmoniously interconnected for birth and re-birth to take place.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span> The golden stallion rearing up towards the heavens is representative of the sun which gives warmth and energy to all living things.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span> The water raining down on mother earth<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span> - represented by the golden mare at the base of the painting provides the life force for the earth to thrive and replenish in perfect harmony.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span> Although the painting is titled new beginnings it really depicts the circle of life which can only be completed when all elements work together for the greater good.</i></span></p> <p></p> <p><span>Everything was looking good until I read the fine print which read:<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p></p> <p><span><i>I agree, to relinquish all rights to the physical work of art and grant an irrevocable, perpetual license for the use of its image in promotional materials to the contest coordinators.</i></span></p> <p></p> <p><span>By entering the competition you gave up copyright of your work - I don’t know about you but I feel that is totally out of order and taking advantage of the artist.</span></p> <p></p> <p><a href="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/3406710500?profile=original" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/3406710500?profile=RESIZE_710x" class="align-left"/></a></p> Is the 2nd Riding Ring in Another Universe? tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-08-03:1773158:BlogPost:826428 2019-08-03T14:52:14.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Is the 2<sup>nd</sup> Riding Ring in Another Universe?</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Due to some chaos on Wednesday morning I did not get my lesson with Debbie. I did get to ride there on Thursday, and when we set it up I asked Debbie if I could use my double bridle on Bingo even though I would not be in a lesson. She had no problems with my request which was nice, it means I am using the double bridle correctly and not…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Is the 2<sup>nd</sup> Riding Ring in Another Universe?</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Due to some chaos on Wednesday morning I did not get my lesson with Debbie. I did get to ride there on Thursday, and when we set it up I asked Debbie if I could use my double bridle on Bingo even though I would not be in a lesson. She had no problems with my request which was nice, it means I am using the double bridle correctly and not causing Bingo many problems.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Since Debbie had scheduled a lesson with three other riders when I rode I decided to ride in the second ring so I would not have to keep track of the other horses and riders. I did go into the main ring so I could use the three-step mounting block and I rode to the second ring. From the time we turned up the “road” to the second ring's gate Bingo started sucking back, plainly telling me “I don't want to go there.” I persisted and got him up to the gate, my husband opened it, and Bingo refused to go through it, backing up every time I brought him back to the gate. After the third refusal I made Bingo do a turn on the forehand and I had my husband lead him through.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I have never ridden Bingo in the double bridle in the second ring. He acted like he had never been in that ring before, sucking back at first, then when I got him freely striding at a walk on contact there were certain areas of the ring that were WRONG to him, and I would have to coax him to get him to even go there, all at the walk.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I was concentrating on keeping contact with the bradoon at the walk, asking for a stretchy walk on contact, with several turns and a few halts. At first he did the halts off the bradoon fine (I used alternating twitches of my little fingers on contact) but at any moment he could decide that contact was not the way to go, especially when we headed toward the WRONG areas. After several minutes of walking Bingo tentatively started trying to balk but he went forward in response to my legs.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Anytime I tried to slow him down by using both my hands at the same time, something I'd been doing since I started him on the double bridle, he reacted like he had NO idea of what I meant by my rein action.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">All the previous times I'd ridden Bingo in the second ring it had been in a single-jointed snaffle or the double-jointed Wellep bit, and I stopped him with alternating tweaks with my little finger. But I had not schooled Bingo in the second ring with me using both hands at the same time to halt. It was like when I took Bingo into the second ring that I had changed to speaking a totally foreign unrelated language that had nothing to do with anything he knew, and he felt confused with anything that I had not taught him IN THAT PARTICULAR RING even though he obeyed the same aids fine in the main riding ring. In changing riding rings I went back to step one with the double bridle in spite of him doing quite well with it in the main riding ring.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Oh vey! I miss the Arabians and their advanced mental capacities.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I did not use the curb rein at all until I started schooling him to halt even though he was headed toward the gate. The first time I went toward the gate he just bored down on the bradoon until I finally stopped him just before the gate by taking a hard grip on the reins. So he got schooled on stopping when I told him to even if he was headed to the gate. After each stop his resistance got worse so I finally tweaked my curb rein and he stopped completely instead of trying to creep each foot forward.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I was schooling Bingo for the summer camp I had made sure to ride him when other horses were in the main ring, because I feared that if he was all of a sudden in a group of horses that he would forget all that he knew. I did this schooling in the snaffle bit that he was going to wear during summer camp, because I knew that if I did not do this schooling that Bingo would forget everything he knew and give his little rider a bad ride (which he did at the canter, but I had not schooled him at the canter as I was just too weak to handle it properly.) I also had a session or two in the second ring just in case they needed to use that ring for the summer camp.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">It seems that anything Bingo learns in the main ring has to be retaught in any different environment, especially an environment he is not happy with (luckily he loves trail riding if he is in the lead.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I have come to the conclusion that Bingo's brain just is not set up like all the other horses I've ridden. He cannot seem to find commonality between what I ask him for in the main ring when I change to the other ring, and I have to re-school him from the start. Once he learns something, again, then he will obey me but it takes time, time to teach him, time for him to understand, and time to repeat each aid so it finally gets into his head that this aid at this time means this.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The second ring might as well be in a different, much more threatening universe with unknown dangers lurking in the background, ready to pounce on him with ill intent. Bingo is not terrified in the other ring, just ultra wary about everything and he stays ultra wary the whole ride. Bingo's motto seems to be “when in doubt balk” then trudge as slowly as possible around the ring when I insist that he move forward.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Next week I should have my lesson in the main ring, all alone except for Debbie. YEAH!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I now use stainless steel bits for the double bridle because I could not find a titanium curb bit narrow enough for his mouth. I finally ran into a 4 1/2” Mullen mouth Weymouth curb in titanium but it will take me a while to save up my money to buy it. There is also a 5” single-jointed bradoon at the same place, unfortunately loose ring so that will be a whole new education for him. But it will take me months to budget for them and in the meantime I do ride him occasionally in the 5” single-jointed titanium coated eggbutt snaffle on my homework rides, so he is at least familiar with the taste of the titanium. It will be interesting when I finally get them to see if he improves with the titanium double bridle bits.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> The Heat Wave was Hard on Me tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-07-27:1773158:BlogPost:826420 2019-07-27T14:29:29.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The Heat Wave was Hard on Me</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I ride earlier in the morning during the summer, 8:00 AM, and while the temperatures were somewhat lower in the heat wave it still felt like a sauna when I opened my front door. I wore my summertime technical fabric riding clothes and my ice vest so I could at least ride some without too much harm but between riding and getting my house ready for house-guests that…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The Heat Wave was Hard on Me</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I ride earlier in the morning during the summer, 8:00 AM, and while the temperatures were somewhat lower in the heat wave it still felt like a sauna when I opened my front door. I wore my summertime technical fabric riding clothes and my ice vest so I could at least ride some without too much harm but between riding and getting my house ready for house-guests that week just plain drained me.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I did get a lesson from Sam, Debbie's daughter. It was my first ride with her since I started using the double bridle on Bingo so I started off asking her if she had ever ridden in a double bridle and she had. I explained how my riding in a double bridle on Bingo was very different than how the dressage or saddle-seat people use the double bridle and how I was adapting my use of it in accordance to the reality that Bingo does NOT have the “proper” conformation for double bridle work.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo did quite well. He readily took contact and accepted my hand aids, just not obeying them immediately but within a stride or so. I even trotted, and Sam really liked how Bingo acted when I asked him to slow down to the walk. We talked some about what Bingo did during the one lesson she used him for summer camp, and she said he behaved quite well at the walk and trot, but at the canter he was running around without much control. Well, I've been riding Bingo just at the walk and trot since I am still too weak and unsteady to canter him, much less school him at the canter. Maybe in the fall when it gets cooler I can start cantering him and convincing him that he STILL needs to obey his rider.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This week Wednesday morning was very nice, cool, with a cool breeze, and the humidity was lower. I took my ice vest out to the stable, but even after grooming Bingo I did not feel hot enough to put it on. It was SO NICE out in the ring! With Bingo obeying the double bridle quite well, Debbie and I talked about what Sam had told me about Bingo in the summer-camp lesson, and Debbie muttered something about him being used for just the walk-trot lessons. I suggested that she ask one of her granddaughters to school Bingo at the canter since I just cannot physically do it right now in the heat.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">There was a new wading bird, a white crane, walking around the pond near the riding ring, then the bird got to the small grassy area right next to the ring. One time when I passed the bird he exploded into flight, almost right under Bingo's nose, and he flew right next to Bingo's right eye. Of course Bingo shied (who wouldn't?), but when I applied my hand aids to stop him he obeyed me immediately and stopped still. He was leery about that side of the ring for the rest of the ride but there was no more shying though I could feel him getting prepared to shy if something sky-rocketed past his eye again.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I also worked on the super-slow “counted walk”, using alternating touches on the rein, a “shhhh” voice command, and my lower legs when needed. I did finally get him to the “counted walk”, really slow, always ready to stop, and I needed my alternating lower legs for each step. Debbie liked what he did.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I showed Sam my attempts at a leg yield he gave me his usual half-assed attempt to obey me. Sam noted that Bingo was crossing his forelegs fine, but he did not cross his hind legs at all. I had thought about this all week and I decided that maybe, because of Bingo's sway back/high croup conformation, Bingo found it too uncomfortable or impossible to obey me by crossing his hind legs. So for my lesson with Debbie I experimented with getting into a half-seat (getting my weight off my seat bones) when I asked for the leg yield, and Bingo improved some. Obviously Bingo's back has to get stronger, and he just cannot do the work necessary to get stronger when my outside seat-bone is glued to the saddle. I do not know if Bingo will ever get his back strong enough for this, being ridden just 30 minutes each ride once or twice a week, but I will be working on getting his hind legs to cross using leg yields and turns on the forehand while I am in half-seat.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">On Friday I rode Bingo in the single-jointed thick eggbutt titanium coated snaffle, the snaffle bit that he seems to be OK with. Bingo was basically good, until I asked him to stop—DUH??? He would start to slow down, but he just kept on creeping around as I reapplied my hand aids until he finally consented to stop. It felt like Bingo was waiting on confirmation from the Weymouth bit that I wanted him to stop and not just go slow, but I do not use the double bridle during my homework rides in the heat of the summer. I am getting the impression that Bingo prefers the double bridle to a single bit because I can tweak the sagging curb rein to tell him “YES, this is what I want”, and Bingo then feels less confused because he is not running through his mind what exactly I could mean from that particular rein aid. Bingo now seems to understand right now that the bradoon is for steering and preparing to stop, while the curb bit just confirms that THIS rein aid, at this particular point of time, means to slow down or stop. He seems to like the clarity he gets from the double bridle even though I am just tweaking the loose curb rein, never engaging the curb bit fully (as in the curb chain is not coming into play.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">It was still cool Friday morning so I did not put my ice vest on, but this was a mistake. I was pouring sweat and getting weaker and less coordinated every second of my ride. Next week I am going to assume that I will need to use my ice vest and put it on immediately when I get out of my car. There won't be a heat wave next week thank goodness, just normal Southern summer weather.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> I Try Another Bit with Bingo tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-07-13:1773158:BlogPost:826414 2019-07-13T15:25:20.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I Try Another Bit with Bingo</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Hot, humid weather down here in the South. The lows have been in the mid 70's F, which sounds really pleasant until I open my front door into a sauna. I really appreciate being able to ride earlier in the morning during the summer heat, but the humidity tends to be worse earlier in the morning. My ice vest is really helping me to cope with the heat, I am so glad I…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I Try Another Bit with Bingo</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Hot, humid weather down here in the South. The lows have been in the mid 70's F, which sounds really pleasant until I open my front door into a sauna. I really appreciate being able to ride earlier in the morning during the summer heat, but the humidity tends to be worse earlier in the morning. My ice vest is really helping me to cope with the heat, I am so glad I went ahead and got it for this summer.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">One of the reasons I got the ice vest was the hope that with it my hands would stay fit for riding in a double bridle. Wednesday was a really good day to test this, even with the ice vest my face started sweating during grooming. Bingo is still shedding a lot of hair (probably Cushing's disease but the Cushing's feed does not seem to be working,) and hair is still flying from his coat as we groom him. I do extra work on Bingo's back where the saddle pad goes trying to reduce the large amount of hair that it tends to pick up. After Debbie curries and brushes him I go over his back with the Tiger's Tongue, a jelly scrubber, the Griot's Garage Silicone Interior Brush (good for picking up pet hair,) and my Haas Diva Exclusive brush with the lamb's wool center. This has reduced the amount of hair my BOT saddle pad picks up, but in no way has it eliminated gobs of hair on the saddle pad. This work made me hot even before I got up on Bingo's back.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I successfully used the double bridle on Bingo without irritating his mouth during my lesson. There were still remnants of his resistances from being ridden during Debbie's summer camp but nothing I could not deal with easily. Bingo was very reluctant to move out. Once I got myself up into two-point, used a tiny bit of spur pressure with my alternating legs, and tapped my half-chaps with my crop he finally consented to stretching his walking stride a little bit.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">It was a wonderful day to work on stabilization, I did not have to check his speed too much and got to explain to Bingo that stabilization also works on going slower than the rider wants to. It was also a wonderful day for working on the “counted walk”, I had to give a light leg aid every step to keep him moving but I did not have to do much with my hand aids as he deliberately crawled around the ring one step at a time in response to my aids. From his super sluggish reaction to my leg aids asking to move back to a regular walk I think that Bingo would have been willing to go on walking around the ring, one deliberate step at a time.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I walked to the far end of the ring Bingo decided he did not want to go there at all. Twice I had to persuade him with calmly applied aids that I really expected him to go around the far jump, something he has done regularly during the past few months. His attitude was “I don't want to and you can't make me” and every step around that jump was done with great reluctance, but I got him to do it.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">At the trot Bingo was back to his regular QH shuffle/jog, requiring several leg aids to get him to move at a decent speed. This week Bingo did not feel like a rocket ship taking off when he went into the trot and I had no problems with great speed when we trotted off contact. Wednesday ride was in no way “exciting”, Bingo stayed calm in his defiance, and he stayed mostly calm when he finally obeyed my aids. An interesting note, when Bingo asked me to let him stretch his neck I did not loosen the curb rein enough, he “met” the curb bit and he continued stretching his neck out with no gaping, inversions or other signs of discomfort. He just does not seem to mind the curb bit when I am on the other end of the reins.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">For my homework ride I decided to try another bit. Bingo's responsiveness had suffered with the Cambridge mouth snaffle, and while he did not think that bit was “cruel” in any way he also did not think that bit had much “authority” over him. I settled on my single-jointed titanium coated egg-butt snaffle which is 18mm thick, a nice gentle bit (Bingo does not enjoy double-jointed snaffles.) I was pretty sure Bingo would find this bit acceptable, after all the OTTB Coach who loathes bits finds this bit acceptable and goes better in it.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo liked this new bit. Even though it was 1/4” too wide that did not seem to bother him at all. He picked up contact readily, his turns in place improved greatly over what he gave me my last few rides, and he returned to mostly “finger-tip” control. Whew!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">During my ride Debbie's lesson group came into the ring, one at a time until all six students were in the ring, then Debbie came out leading her “problem child” Arab Tercel. I checked to make sure that no one minded me being in the ring with them. For once Bingo did not get irritated that other horses were sharing HIS ring while I kept out of their way. I paid attention to Tercel having seem him be really unhappy about being in the ring months ago, but Debbie was using the titanium coated ported Kimberwick I gave Tercel, the “liquid titanium” Fenwick Face Mask with Ears, the D'yon blinkers, the running martingale, and Debbie's endurance saddle that was fitted to him, and Tercel looked like a nice calm horse anyone could ride, standing unheld as Debbie helped get her students situated. Right before she mounted I got off of Bingo and I stayed to watch her ride Tercel for a few minutes while my husband took Bingo back to the barn.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Tercel is a beautiful “hunk” of an Arabian, and he is so drop dead gorgeous when he is happy under saddle. I happily watched Debbie ride Tercel around on loose reins at the walk as she checked all of her students out, and he strode forth confidently and freely, obeying her light aids willingly and promptly. Considering that Tercel has proven himself supremely capable of throwing a fit if he is not happy I was really glad to see him calmly deal with all the other horses in the ring. Debbie has done a good job of training him, and all of those miles and wet saddle pads getting him fit for distance rides have done him a lot of good.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Next week Debbie will be gone. I might get a lesson from her daughter, Sam, if she has enough people to help her deal with the stable. If I learn I can get a lesson from Sam I will use the double bridle for it to show Sam how I work the double bridle with Bingo. Otherwise I will use the titanium coated “rainbow” egg-butt single-jointed snaffle on him to work on the slow gaits that are suitable for riding in high humidity as the sweat runs down into my eyes. Hopefully Bingo won't change his mind about this snaffle since he really needs a gentle snaffle but hates double-jointed snaffles and is not terribly responsive in the Cambridge mouth snaffle or a Mullen mouth snaffle. Maybe, just maybe I have finally found a gentle enough bit that Bingo is willing to carry in his mouth and obey.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> Bingo "Forgets" Stuff at Summer Camp tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-07-06:1773158:BlogPost:826408 2019-07-06T15:17:54.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo “Forgets” Stuff at Summer Camp</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Last week I had to delay my lesson from Wednesday to even earlier on Thursday since the stable got a load of timothy hay delivered, and they wanted to store it right away since rain was forecast for later in the day. All week I had obsessed over how Bingo did in the camp, but I did not call because everyone at the stable had a busy week.…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo “Forgets” Stuff at Summer Camp</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Last week I had to delay my lesson from Wednesday to even earlier on Thursday since the stable got a load of timothy hay delivered, and they wanted to store it right away since rain was forecast for later in the day. All week I had obsessed over how Bingo did in the camp, but I did not call because everyone at the stable had a busy week.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">As it turned out Bingo was not a good boy at camp, though his rider did not fall off. I did not get the particulars since Debbie did not have Bingo in her classes, just that Sam used him for only one lesson and he then got turned back out into the pasture. Bingo is not a very cooperative horse and does not seem to be able to “take a joke” like a good lesson horse for beginners should.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After much thought I had decided that it would be better for me to use the double bridle instead of the ported snaffle, Bingo seems to find it easier to “set” his jaw with the ported snaffle, which means I have to get harsher with my rein aids to get his attention, otherwise he just bulls ahead doing whatever he can get away with. Plus I really wanted a sign for Bingo that it was ME that was riding him, and the double bridle makes it easy for that since no one else at the stable uses a double bridle.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">From the start Bingo was less responsive to my aids, but that is what I expected. Our dialog at first was “yes Bingo, I want you to walk”, “yes Bingo, I want you to turn”, and REPEATED “yes Bingo, I want you to stop moving.” Bingo was back to his old habit of setting his jaw, ignoring the rein aid, with an added “I don't have to, I don't want to and you can't make me!”</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This lesson was when I really learned to value the utility of the double bridle. With just a snaffle bit in his mouth I would have had to spend a lot of my ride convincing him to obey my rein aids, repeating over and over again until I got his reluctant consent to doing what I wanted. With the double bridle, after two light properly timed aids with the bradoon I could tweak my sagging curb reins at the proper time and he obeyed, no fight, no arguments, and I did not have to use much energy.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">With the double bridle I got to “GOOD BOY” a lot quicker.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Even with the double bridle it was not easy. It was like we had to renegotiate the meaning of every hand aid, while at the same time renegotiating the meaning of my leg aids. This is in spite of the fact that Debbie told me that Bingo looked relieved that it was me on his back.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I worked around all these problems and I got Bingo working better under me. Then I decided to try backing up.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">You would have thought that Bingo had never backed up in his whole life. There was NO response to the backing up aids I've been using for months. Bingo's attitude was that these aids were irritating and meaningless noise and that he had NO IDEA of how to respond. Finally after a minute of repeating my aids, stiffening my fingers a little bit more for the first repetition then tweaking my sagging curb rein, Bingo moved his right leg back and stopped. I rewarded him, after all he had obeyed my aid even if it was half-hearted and reluctant, and I decided to stop while I was ahead. I had no guarantee that I would have another good moment asking for him to back up.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">During this lesson I had to tweak my sagging curb rein at least twice as much as usual to keep Bingo going at the speed I wanted at a proper impulse for what we were doing. When we trotted toward the gate Bingo would wake up and speed up by pushing more with his hind end and I would have to work on rating him down to the speed I wanted. Going away from the gate I had the opposite problem, leg, leg, leg to get him out of his QH shuffle with dragging feet. Then when we turned toward the gate he would “say” “WHAT is your problem, you've been telling me for the last minute that you want me to go faster” as his impulse tripled or quadrupled and he gave me a wonderful impulsive trot, a trot that I did not know Bingo could do of his own free will.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">However now I am working on stabilization, that the horse should continue at the speed and impulse I set until I tell him otherwise. A stabilized horse does not all of a sudden turn into a moon rocket at takeoff, a stabilized horse keeps the same speed all the way around the ring until his rider says otherwise.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I have never before worked with a horse who can, in a week's time, forget everything he had ever been taught. Bingo has no problem remembering how to resist his rider, that he gets right every time from the start. But every other bit of knowledge that he learns can disappear without any notice and he returns to his base line of disobeying every aid because he does not remember how to obey them. This is sort of frustrating and makes me dread breaks in his training since I have to teach him what the aids mean all over again, from the start.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I have no doubts that in a week or two Bingo will remember (or relearn) the meaning of my aids. Then I will go back to having a smile on my face during most of my ride because beneath all the history of abusive riding, bad or absent training and learned resistances, Bingo is a really neat little horse. I have never ridden a horse who is so mentally eager to become a fine riding horse, once he remembers how to obey my aids and I can reward him frequently and lavishly for being a good boy.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Someday it will all work out.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> The Oakley Diaries 40: Riding a Bicycle tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-07-02:1773158:BlogPost:826261 2019-07-02T04:12:32.000Z B. G. Hearns /profile/BGHearns <p>   Really. It turns out that a good way to think about riding is to think about riding a bicycle. Especially jumping, but dressage, too. I was warming up last Wednesday, when J.H. commented to one of the students in the class that was just finishing up, that they needed to look up, not at the jump (a problem I struggle with) and used the analogy that one does not look at the wheel of one's bicycle when riding, one looks ahead, down the street and guides the bicycle around whatever dangers…</p> <p>   Really. It turns out that a good way to think about riding is to think about riding a bicycle. Especially jumping, but dressage, too. I was warming up last Wednesday, when J.H. commented to one of the students in the class that was just finishing up, that they needed to look up, not at the jump (a problem I struggle with) and used the analogy that one does not look at the wheel of one's bicycle when riding, one looks ahead, down the street and guides the bicycle around whatever dangers lie ahead.</p> <p>   It is a fact that one can hear the same advice dozens of times, in dozens of different ways, yet not get it until two factors coincide viz., that one has acquired and integrated enough knowledge to be ready to absorb said advice, and that whoever presents said advice does so in a way that somehow connects. In this case, the fact that I need to keep my head up has been one aspect of jumping that I've consistently failed to do. I keep looking at the jumps, Oakley keeps skidding to a stop in front of them. I no longer leave the saddle in a a spectacular somersault, because my legs have finally (!) become strong enough to grip and not come off, but he still hesitates given the slightest excuse, and I give him lots of excuses. Which is not to say that he doesn't balk even when I'm doing everything right, maintaining my position, head up, in balance, legs pressing against his side to the point where if I'm wearing spurs my heels hurt. No, he balks anyway, but his tendency is vastly decreased when I'm properly positioned in the saddle and definitely increases when I look down at the jump.</p> <p>   What makes this analogy so pertinent for me, is that a lot of the time I spend riding my bicycle, I am actually imagining riding a horse. So when I approach the curb between the road and the bicycle lane, there is a bump, and I imagine myself riding my horse over a jump. (I also wonder how cool it would be if I could ride my horse to work instead of my bike, but, well, it's the 21st Century and I'm in downtown Toronto.)</p> <p>   Anyway, the idea that I should ride my horse like a bike was like a light bulb in my brain. I picture myself riding a bike uphill, and that effort mirrors the effort to keep my calves pressing against his side as we approach the jump. The only difference being the motion of my legs, or, more accurately, non-motion of my legs. Instead of pedalling, I press against his sides, but the physical effort of getting a bike uphill and getting a horse 'uphill' i.e. collected, with his hindquarters tucked underneath him, lighter on his forelegs, and with his head tucked down yet not pulling on the bit, getting a horse like that requires my legs pressed into his sides for as long as I'm riding him. Even when I'm not applying any force, I still need to have my calves in contact and steady against his side. This is every bit as hard as riding a bicycle uphill.</p> <p>   Then the question of looking ahead. Whether doing flatwork or jumping (which I have heard accurately described as 'Flatwork with obstacles') it is vitally important to be looking ahead, and especially not down at the horse. There are two main reasons for this, first because dropping the head forward changes the weight distribution of my body on the horse, and can add about 5 Kg of force in front of the horse's centre of balance. This makes it that much more difficult for any horse to keep in balance while keeping collected. This is why so many of the "great" modern dressage riders have to haul the horse's head in using so much hand and arm strength to force the horse into a frame: because they look down at what the horse is doing instead of up and where the horse is going. The second reason is because my horse, like all horses, can actually see my head and see where I'm looking and naturally directs his attention to what I'm looking at. So if I'm looking down immediately to the front, if I'm looking at the jump, he can see that, and, being a horse, naturally assumes that I'm looking there because there is some danger there. Being a horse, he naturally shies away from danger. I take cold comfort in the knowledge that even riders who are competing at the highest levels also make this same mistake, with the predictable results that they drop poles and knock down fences, and take hard tumbles, if their horses don't simply refuse outright.</p> <p>   So, when I picture myself riding a bicycle, naturally, I'm unconcerned whether the wheel is going to negotiate the curb, or whether I'm going to run into a hole in the pavement, as long as I've noted the obstacle and have steered clear, my attention is focused on, and so my head is up and looking at, what's ahead and where I'm going. A similar analogy that I've heard is like driving, for the same reason: one does not look at where one is, one looks ahead to where one is going. But the analogy of the bicycle somehow clicked in my head better than driving. Consequently, in the past couple of days, as I go around a course, or do my dressage work, I keep coming back to the image of riding a bicycle uphill. The sense of effort keeps my legs in place against his side. The focus on where I'm going instead of where I am keeps my head up and chest out and torso erect. The image of keeping my hands on imaginary bicycle handles keeps my arms and shoulders loose and flexible and my hands always in the correct position so my release over a jump is vastly lighter and easier. In the past week, the jumping has felt noticeably smoother, more co-ordinated, and more energetic.</p> I Work on Stabilization tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-06-22:1773158:BlogPost:825982 2019-06-22T15:37:42.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I Work on Stabilization</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie's first summer camp is next week so both of my rides on Bingo this week were geared to continuing his preparation for being a lesson horse for a kid who may not ride well.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I found this mildly frustrating, it really needed to be done but I had to take a break on developing Bingo's impulse. Bingo…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I Work on Stabilization</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie's first summer camp is next week so both of my rides on Bingo this week were geared to continuing his preparation for being a lesson horse for a kid who may not ride well.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I found this mildly frustrating, it really needed to be done but I had to take a break on developing Bingo's impulse. Bingo is going from being ridden by a decent rider who knows what to do (me) to carrying riders without my more or less advanced skills; kids learning how to ride a horse! Of course there is a bright point for Bingo, none of his possible riders weigh as much as I do so he may not feel like he has to defend his back as much. Their legs do not reach as far down his sides as mine do, and they will probably give lighter leg aids.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I think that Bingo has picked up that something is changing, and he may be somewhat leery of what these changes will mean for his life.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This week I concentrated again on getting Bingo to go gently, on sagging reins, while I used beginner level aids to communicate to him. Bingo was less quiet for me than usual, he always seemed ready to speed up this week contrary to his usual inclination to go as slow as possible. Luckily for training Bingo, both rides had another horse and rider in the ring so I could convince him that paying attention to me, his rider, was more important than paying attention to the other horse. Both rides I did do a turn on the forehand and hind quarters while the first few minutes of my ride, then I went completely to the more primitive aids, slightly leading rein for turns and both of my hands at once for slowing down/halting, the rest of my ride was mostly on sagging reins while I avoided any and all advanced hand, leg and seat aids.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Without a doubt having another horse and rider in the ring was exciting for Bingo, as in he was excited because he really did not know what to do! He kept on waiting for me to tell him to go faster and extend whatever gait he was in (walk and trot) and when I failed to do so he sped up anyway especially when headed for the gate. He gave me some gaits with serious impulse behind them. During these I gently did repeated retarding actions on both reins until he slowed down, then he was rewarded with sagging reins. Then he decided that since I was not actively urging him to go faster he could slow down a lot, from the trot to a walk and from the walk to a halt. Finally Bingo and I got on the same page for most of the way around the ring until the next time we headed to the gate.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This week I also used the Shire's Blue Alloy Mullen mouth bit with a port (Cambridge mouth, like a ported Kimberwick.) Bingo does not respond to this bit with as much sophistication as he does to the double bridle. When I had to give stronger hand aids to get his attention when I wanted him to slow down or halt, he opened his mouth, but he did not offer to invert or raise his head much at all. Bingo seems to consider this bit more humane than he does the single or double jointed snaffles. On purpose I have not been working on instant obedience to rein aids with this bit because I hope he will accept this bit as an acceptable one for beginning or elementary level riders. Bitless is NOT an alternative for this horse, his neck muscles up by his jaw are so massive that there is absolutely no way that a child could enforce commands, Bingo would just bull through them and do what he wanted to while the child pulled the reins with no response. That can really scare beginners.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This week I mainly worked at stabilizing Bingo's speed at the walk and trot. Plodding around without much impulse was rewarded, speeding up without leg aids was corrected. I did full ring trots, aiming for the same speed and impulse all around the ring, while I let the reins sag. This did remove the assurance that Bingo gets from contact (as in he knows what I want instantly), and he experimented with what was allowed. He would speed up, with take and release aids on the sagging reins I would slow him down to an acceptable speed, then he decided that maybe this allowed him to slow down completely and I had to say no—keep going. Eventually during both rides I got him to go all the way around the ring at a more-or-less even speed on sagging reins and he obeyed me better when I told him to slow down as he accelerated towards the gate.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie was pleased with Bingo's response to my more “primitive” level of riding in our lesson. He did not invert and go wherever he pleased at his preferred speed. He did not try too hard to bull his way through my hand aids, and when he slowed down too much he did not “explode” into faster movement from my light leg aids. Bingo was in no way perfect and she cannot put a complete beginner on him, but for an elementary level rider with some previous riding experience he can be an excellent education on how to get a horse to obey his rider at the walk and trot. Since riders are never guaranteed to get rides on well-schooled horses this is a part of their riding education that is essential, how to get a reluctant horse to obey his rider who uses humane, if primitive, aids.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">During my homework ride I could not use the main ring because Sam was working on the footing, smoothing it out and getting rid of some of the old hoof prints and ruts. Debbie was giving a lesson in the other ring to a lady who is moving away soon and wanted a last lesson on Cinnabar. I rode up to the ring and asked if they would mind me riding in it too, and Debbie and the rider told me to come on in. The lady was getting a lesson on jumping so I could not do my usual circuitous route around the jumps so Bingo got schooled on keeping a steady gait on sagging reins while the other horse cantered around and past him. Since the gate of the second ring is on the side and not on the side leading back to the barn Bingo did not have as much drive to get “home”, after all there is no point to carry the rider off to a fence that does not have a gate in it.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Even so Bingo did accelerate a little bit toward the barn, and he got sort of sticky passing the gate. Luckily I had previously gotten him used to the new judges' stand, even so he tried to keep a decent (to him) distance between his body and the judges' stand. He stood peacefully while the other rider was jumping a complicated course of jumps, and in general he acted like he was ignoring the other horse completely. He still opened his mouth some when I insisted that yes, he had to halt, but he did not get very upset over it. I did succeed in getting a mostly plodding trot all the way around the ring on loose reins, and he did not try to rebel against me and my demands.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Before I left the barn I transferred Bingo's new bit to his stable bridle, I put my old pair of rainbow reins on it because when I was trying to figure out which pair of reins to put on, there appeared in my mind a picture of Bingo's neck from a rider's perspective with the rainbow reins. Maybe Bingo thinks that elementary level riders would annoy him less if the rider had a visual reference to keeping both hands at the same point along the reins. Since Debbie had lost his ThinLine shims for his Contender II BOT/ThinLine pad I transferred my shims into his stable pad for the riding camp, telling Debbie I wanted them back for my next ride on Bingo two weeks from now.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I do not know if I've schooled Bingo enough for the riding camp. I hope that he will not scare his rider/s and that he will act in a moderately civilized manner in the riding ring. When I untacked him I told him he would get a rider who WANTED to fall in love with him, and that it would be very kind of him to treat his rider/s gently so that they could fall in love with him.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> I Prepare Bingo for Riding Camp tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-06-15:1773158:BlogPost:826060 2019-06-15T15:35:03.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I Prepare Bingo for Riding Camp</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">First an update on ice vests. When I realized that my FlexiFreeze ice vest was causing me an allergic reaction to the neoprene I went on-line to see what other ice vests were available. I found the Kool Max ice vest from Polar Products. It is not as flexible as the FlexiFreeze vest since instead of lots of ice cubes enclosed in plastic the Kool Max vest uses 4” x…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I Prepare Bingo for Riding Camp</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">First an update on ice vests. When I realized that my FlexiFreeze ice vest was causing me an allergic reaction to the neoprene I went on-line to see what other ice vests were available. I found the Kool Max ice vest from Polar Products. It is not as flexible as the FlexiFreeze vest since instead of lots of ice cubes enclosed in plastic the Kool Max vest uses 4” x 6” ice blocks, my new vest fits 9 of these, 4 in the front (2 on each side), 3 across my lower back and 2 vertically down my upper spine.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The two mornings I rode in it were rather cool (upper 50's, low 60's F) so I am still not sure how it will work in true summer heat, I was not expecting to have wonderful riding weather this week! Usually at these temperatures I figure I do not NEED any cooling besides my technical fabric hot weather shirt and breeches. I was amazed, even at these cooler temperatures, how much the ice vest helped my riding. I was able to do the posting trot all the way around the riding ring instead of just ¼ of the way around without feeling totally drained. Bingo “said” my contact was fine and he did not seem to mind the extra 4 pounds on his back. So far so good, hopefully the ice vest will help me when it gets hotter and more humid.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie's summer riding camp is coming up all through the last week of June, and she told me she will have to use Bingo some, for teaching little riders how to walk and trot a horse. Since Bingo has difficulties with sudden changes, this week we are not using the double bridle, I put his new Shire's Blue Alloy Mullen mouth bit (it really is not a true Mullen mouth since it has a port) on my bridle to give him 2 weeks to get thoroughly used to this bit. I am sitting looser in the saddle, I am letting Bingo slog around the ring at his own pace, and I am practicing getting Bingo set with using sagging reins instead of contact.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">In other words this week and next I am stepping back from training Bingo to be a fine riding horse (eventually) to training him not to scare his beginner riders. It is not that hard, since I am not using my driving aids (alternating lower legs) to speed him up I find that my seat is a little looser in the saddle and my lower legs are making a reasonable approximation to the control that a beginner would have (waving around in the air somewhat.) My seat bones are no longer “glued” to the saddle so it feels more like it will with a beginner up on his back, shifting a little bit more as his back moves. I mostly worked on loose reins because beginners do not know how to keep good, consistent contact. I used “primitive” hand and leg aids too.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo took it all in rather well, as in he did not try too hard to take advantage of me, and when I corrected him from a loose rein he did not object. During my lesson I did get him up to one “marching” walk and I got one decent trot from him, but during my homework ride it was all “Bingo, this is what you need to do to keep your rider feeling safe”, nice slow gaits, no impulse, and no sudden movements. Bingo got into the game quite well.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">As we were plodding around at the walk Bingo amazed me. Of his own free will, since I was not using my legs to “drive” him into the bit, he reached out gently and picked up contact on his own. He did not lunge into contact, he did not dive into contact, he just reached out with his head gently and picked up a nice, light contact. I think Bingo prefers this bit to the jointed snaffles, I think he likes the lack of noise in his mouth, and I think he really appreciates the fact that it does not squeeze shut in his mouth.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Then we trotted, I just nudged him into his normal shuffling trot, no suspension, with his head low and off contact. I concentrated at keeping him at a relatively stable speed on a sagging rein, using light rein aids when he sped up and light leg aids when he slowed down too much. Even at this slow, plodding trot with no impulse Bingo reached out for contact again. He did waver off his path a few times but I brought him back to his path without any problems.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">You would think that Bingo was a seasoned beginners horse instead of a balky, defiant, angry and uncomfortable horse who was ready to hate anyone. Amazing what good logical training can do for a horse's outlook on life!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">During my lesson Debbie talked with me about what she will be teaching her summer camp riders. After I did a “rider's push-up” she reminded herself that this was something she needed to teach these riders. I suggested that for the first time doing it that Debbie should “spot” the riders, mostly to show them where their lower legs should be during the push-up, noting that I tend to bring my lower leg back as my chest touches the horse's neck. Debbie thought that was a good idea. I also reminded her to use the Equicubes I gave her, to help these riders to find their seat in the saddle.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo will not be used to jump during the camp, Debbie is worried about his front legs. After she said this Bingo “reminded” me that he used to go fox hunting and that he could jump. He appreciated that she wanted to spare his front legs, but he “told” me that he could handle trotting over cross-rails IF the rider did not hurt his mouth. So I told Debbie this, it would expand his usefulness as a lesson horse a little bit more. She probably won't use Bingo for trotting over cross-rails but she seemed pretty happy that Bingo said he was willing to do that much.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I do not think that Bingo likes any jointed snaffles at all if a beginner is holding the reins. He seems pretty happy with the Blue Alloy bit with the ported mouth, and he seems to enjoy it more than a Mullen mouth snaffle. The problem of putting a beginner on a horse is that however well meaning the rider might be, the rider is simply not capable of keeping a light, steady contact. At least with the solid mouthpiece any accidental pulls on the reins will not hurt his mouth as much as they do with a jointed snaffle. So next Friday, after my “homework” ride, I will switch the Blue Alloy bit over to his stable bridle from my bridle, and I am going to lend Debbie my Rainbow reins so that the riders can keep both reins at mostly the same length (another dictate from Bingo.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Another thing I've been working on with Bingo the last few rides is that he is expected to keep trotting more than ¼ of the way around the ring. I did very well in the ice vest, for the first time in years I was able to do the posting trot all the way around the ring during my lesson. During my homework ride I was able to do the posting trot all the way around the ring twice, once in each direction, with only a few minutes of resting between the trotting sets. I did have to keep him moving at the trot when I got tired and more sloppy in the saddle, but he cooperated with me fine. I let him do his regular shuffling trot because that is the best trot for beginners. He sped up a few times but settled back down when I told him to. I will work on this some more next week.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> Trying Out My New Ice Vest tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-06-08:1773158:BlogPost:826043 2019-06-08T15:00:00.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Trying Out My New Ice Vest</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I have MS. Heat is bad for people with MS. This year my body told me that my wonderful technical fabric summer cooling shirt and breeches were not enough, and a long term forecast I saw warned of the possibility of over a month with no relief or rain (fortunately that forecast was not completely accurate, it has cooled down a little and we are getting rain…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Trying Out My New Ice Vest</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I have MS. Heat is bad for people with MS. This year my body told me that my wonderful technical fabric summer cooling shirt and breeches were not enough, and a long term forecast I saw warned of the possibility of over a month with no relief or rain (fortunately that forecast was not completely accurate, it has cooled down a little and we are getting rain today!)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I decided to try an ice vest again. I owned one several years ago and I used it in the summer heat (you can see it in my avatar photo), but finally one of the freeze packs burst. The technical fabric riding clothes seemed to help enough in the summer heat so I did not replace my cooling vest. I did try an evaporative cooling vest but I live in the humid, humid, humid South and the water in the vest did not evaporate and I ended up feeling hotter.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">So I hit the web, looking for real ice vests.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After much comparison of several factors including cost, I ended up ordering a FlexiFreeze ice vest made by Maranda Enterprises in the USA. This vest uses packs of water ice divided into 96 little cubes which Velcro into the back of the vest and on both sides of the front of the vest itself, and the vest when it is set up it is pretty flexible. One thing that attracted me to this vest is that it is adjustable to fit anywhere from XS to 6X which meant my husband, a big guy, could also use it. It also has a neoprene shell which helps insulate the ice against the hot air.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I was SO EXCITED when it arrived. I popped the ice cube packs into the freezer (keeping them in the freezer overnight freezes them), and figured out how to get the vest tight enough on me so that the ice cube packs would rest close to my body. I read all the comments about this vest and noted that the comments as well as the literature from the company strongly recommend wearing at least a T-shirt under the ice vest so the little ice cubes to not freeze the skin. A day later I decided to wear my new ice vest to go out to my mailbox in the hottest part of the day. It worked well, I was not prostrated by the heat.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Then I wore it on Sunday to ride Cider, and again the vest helped keep me cool and I was quite pleased, the bottom of the vest did not hit the saddle and I could move around quite well. After my ride I felt better ALL DAY, and I could do more than usual. I was happy, <b>BUT</b> <span style="font-weight: normal;">my skin looked like a horde of mosquitoes had fed on me, not all over but I got hives on my arms and some on my legs and waist.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">At first I thought my skin problems came from mosquito bites, so I sprayed a DEET mosquito repellent over my skin. I STILL got more “mosquito bites”. Then I decided to wear my technical fabric long sleeve shirts and my old pair of technical fabric tights to put up a physical barrier against the mosquitoes and I still got more “mosquito bites.” Then I realized that the hives were where the neoprene shell of my ice vest had touched my skin OR where it had touched my technical fabric clothes (somehow it got through to my skin). Oh no, I am ALLERGIC TO NEOPRENE!</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">So when I did my lesson on Wednesday I did all that I could to avoid touching the neoprene shell. I wore a T-shirt under the vest to protect my skin from the ice and I also wore a T-shirt over the ice vest to protect my arms and hands from the neoprene. I had to get my husband to help me get into my vest and zip it up. I wore my technical fabric shirt over all of this, and it worked well as in I only got one more hive on my skin. I was fine during the lesson, and I recovered well after the lesson and the heat was nowhere near as crippling as it usually is this time of year, but since I needed help from my husband to get all this on and off I had to come up with another solution to my heat problem. So I went back to the web to look at ice vests that DO NOT have neoprene insulation.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">I found, and ordered, “Light Weight Kool Max Zipper Front Vest” made by Polar Products, whose vest is made of cotton twill and I saw no mention of neoprene in their write ups. This vest also uses ice and I have to use a freezer to get the ice packs frozen. Unlike the FlexiFreeze ice vest, with the little ice cubes encased in flexible plastic the Kool Max vest has ice packs that are around 4”x 6” which go into pockets in the vest, so it is less flexible. It has not come yet so I do not know how it will do when I am in the saddle, but I will be able to put it over my shirt which means I can take it off easily if I get too cold.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">Wearing my ice vest did effect me in the saddle while I got used to it. Debbie got after my hands a little bit, and my lower legs as well. The extra weight affected my balance some since I was not used to the weight plus the coldness of the ice. Bingo did not seem to mind at all, he just kept on plodding around the ring, obeying all my aids and generally acting like a horse with no problems at all, in fact Debbie remarked about how well he was doing. He halted by my second twitch of the bradoon rein from contact, and while his backing up was not quite as good as the week before he did consent to back up without too many problems. He kept contact fine, we did the three speeds of the walk, lots of big curves, some turns in place, and we trotted. During the second posting trot, since he was doing a plodding QH jog I started alternating my legs (when I sat down) and light indications with my hands (at the top of my post) and he livened up his trot some and I could feel more power coming through his body into my hands. Bingo was a good, good boy!</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">This has left me with the problem of what to do with my FlexiFreeze ice vest because of the neoprene shell. Luckily this ice vest is adjustable to fit both BIG and small people, so my husband decided he wanted us to keep it so he could use it outside in the summer heat. He has touched the neoprene a good bit and his skin has shown no reactions so I guess he is not allergic to the neoprene. In the mean time I have found the FlexiFreeze ice packs (which have no neoprene on them) quite useful in keeping me cool when my house gets hotter, I just put one on the pillows I lean against and I rest on it. My mind clears, I recover from physical exertion better, and my body works better. I just wish I was not allergic to the neoprene because this is a nice ice vest.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">Have a great ride!</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">Jackie Cochran</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> Bingo's Mouth Stayed Closed! tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-06-01:1773158:BlogPost:826210 2019-06-01T15:16:15.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo's Mouth Stayed Closed!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">But first an update on Cider. She has been flinching just about every step (though more or less trotting “sound”) so when it came time in my budgeting I finally gave in and got her some Back on Track stuff. I bought her exercise boots, for both the fore legs and her hind legs, and a BOT exercise sheet. It is getting hotter so we just use the exercise sheet after we…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo's Mouth Stayed Closed!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">But first an update on Cider. She has been flinching just about every step (though more or less trotting “sound”) so when it came time in my budgeting I finally gave in and got her some Back on Track stuff. I bought her exercise boots, for both the fore legs and her hind legs, and a BOT exercise sheet. It is getting hotter so we just use the exercise sheet after we saddle, through Shannon tightening the girth (which takes a few minutes of walking), then we take it off because it is getting hotter in the ring. Cider did not mind the exercise sheet at all, but then most of the times I ride her she has had “clothes” on, the butt blanket in the winter and the fly sheet in the summer. An extra thing over her hind end was not a problem and I think it felt good to her.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The exercise boots were another thing. Since Cider had done events and showed before Shannon got her I assumed that she was familiar with boots or bandages on her lower legs. I may have been wrong in that assumption. After Shannon put the boots on Cider was not easy with them, and when Shannon started walking her about Cider lifted all four feet high and kicked out some with her hind legs. Shannon walked her around until she stopped being so expressive with her hind legs but when I got on it was obvious she still considered the exercise boots as dangerous, risky, foreign traps on her legs, so I just walked her around so she would get used to them. It took around 15 minutes until she stopped kicking with her hind legs and throwing most of her weight on the fore legs. Then she settled down some, but it is too early to see if they help her front legs. I hope they do, they did help Bingo's legs, so maybe they will help some when Cider finally accepts them on her legs.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I felt really happy when Bingo was led into the grooming stall on Wednesday. He may be the ugliest horse I've ever ridden, but when he feels content he starts looking cute and appealing. Now he LOVES having his ears groomed inside and out, lowering his head so I can reach them better, turning his head slightly so I will move on to yet another scratchy part of his ears and giving every sign of enjoying the process. Such a big change from where he was when I started riding him again when I had to stand on tip-toe and stretch my arms to reach his ears. Debbie had a little problem getting both bits in his mouth but he settled down immediately.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo was GOOD during our lesson. It feels to me like, after 7 weeks in the double bridle, that he thinks he has finally figured the whole thing out. Contact was fine and Bingo did not suck back at all. He strode forth confidently reaching for the bit and obeyed my rein aids for turning well. I had no problem getting him to stride forth at longer, faster walk, which elicited praise from Debbie. Then came our first halt, and Bingo halted readily from two light hand aids (both hands at once) without any bracing or other resistances to my hand and he stood still peacefully until I asked him to move again.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This was a BIG improvement. Of course I praised him mightily and sent him to Debbie for even more praise. This is part of my long term plan to get Bingo to learn that the riding teacher is part of a three entity team of Bingo, me and Debbie, all working together to get Bingo to feel more confident in the riding ring. Of course Bingo is learning to love praise, and every time we pass Debbie he “asks” politely if he can come to Debbie for more praise, but I keep him walking past her. Praise from Debbie is for him accomplishing something beyond just walking around peacefully.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">His turns in place also improved, instead of two or three strides to “plant” his hind or fore end in one place, it took only one stride. He is finally getting it! Due to his rather severe conformation faults I cannot “make” him do these turns in place, so I have worked on him understanding my aids for these turns in place so he can voluntarily decide to cooperate with me.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After our usual meandering around the ring and jumps we did a few trots. During one of them I “gathered” him by alternating light hand aids on the bradoon rein with my leg aids, and he responded by organizing his trot better and lightening up a bit on his forehand. Then during my last trot I asked him to change direction and his body bend and he cooperated fully.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Then came the big test, backing up. He was warmed up and did not show any stiffness so I thought he was ready. We halted, rested a few seconds, and I used a light leg aid then a light drawing back on the bradoon rein. The second time I alternated my aids Bingo actually did a full step back instead of his usual micro-step back, and when I asked him to do a second step back he cooperated fully. He also felt ready to go on backing up but I did not want to overdo it and ruin the experience for him. After months of tentative micro-steps back it was so nice to feel him doing full steps back! And Bingo did not open his mouth AT ALL when I halted or backed up, for the first time since I started riding him again.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">During our ride I think I just tweaked the curb rein once, instead of three or four times during our ride. Everything else was the bradoon, usually from contact.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I am still totally amazed about how much Bingo has improved in the double bridle. This improvement does not come from using the curb bit since I only do a tweak or two from a sagging curb rein, and most of the time the curb reins are not active. Since this time I am putting the curb bit right above the curb groove and the bradoon with one wrinkle, the double bridle bits are definitely working on different parts of his tongue. Bingo seems to actually LIKE this, much to my surprise, and he has shown so much less confusion about my hand aids that I wonder why in the world I waited so long to put him in the double bridle. The next horse I ride, if its lips are long enough for two bits, I think I will introduce the double bridle even earlier. I can explain stuff to the horses fine with just a snaffle, but having two bits in the mouth seems to make it easier for Bingo to understand what I am “saying” with the snaffle/bradoon bit. We are both much happier and Debbie likes our progress.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Due to the long range weather forecast of a “heat ridge” parking itself over the South for weeks I finally broke down and got myself an ice vest. For many years I made it through the summer thanks to the marvelous new technical fabrics, but this early heat wave has really dragged me down. Tomorrow I will be using my new ice vest for the first time when I ride Cider. It is sort of heavy (3.5 lbs.) and it is cold, the ice for this one is actual water ice so I am wearing lots of little ice cubes on my torso. I did walk outside during the hottest part of the day yesterday while wearing it, and it was a lot easier for me to walk to my mailbox and back in the direct sunlight. The ice is supposed to go on working for around 2 hours so it should last all the time I am out at the stables. Hopefully it will help me enough so I can go on using the double bridle on Bingo instead of me having to switch to a Wellep bit like I usually have to in the heat of the summer.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> A Single Jointed Bradoon Improves Contact tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-05-25:1773158:BlogPost:825915 2019-05-25T15:58:37.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">A Single Jointed Bradoon Improves Contact</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">As I lay thinking about my previous week's lesson I decided I had to do SOMETHING about Bingo's bradoon on the double bridle. Since the French-link eggbutt bradoon seemed to be encouraging sucking back, iffy contact except for a few steps, and great resistance to halting and backing up, and I decided that Francis Dwyer might have a good point about…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">A Single Jointed Bradoon Improves Contact</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">As I lay thinking about my previous week's lesson I decided I had to do SOMETHING about Bingo's bradoon on the double bridle. Since the French-link eggbutt bradoon seemed to be encouraging sucking back, iffy contact except for a few steps, and great resistance to halting and backing up, and I decided that Francis Dwyer might have a good point about double jointed snaffles acting like a twitch around the lower jaw. Bingo was acting like he was uncomfortable with the bradoon while at the same time he did not seem to mind me twitching my sagging curb reins at all. So I dug out my 4 3/4” eggbutt single-jointed bradoon and put it on my double bridle.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Thankfully Bingo has mostly shed out, hair still comes out but not in clouds of very fine hair that sticks to everything. Every week Bingo acts less head/ear shy and now he stands peacefully as I brush his ears thoroughly inside and out, though he still reacts some when I groom his head further down. This is a big improvement over two months ago when I had to stand on tip-toe and sneak up to his ears with the brush and brushing the rest of his head caused him major upset. Bingo did give Debbie a little bit of a hard time when she bridled him, but he opened his mouth after a minute or so.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When we started our ride I let him have a few minutes to get used to the different feeling bit set up before I asked for contact. Contact? No problem. He reached out, took contact, kept contact, and did not suck back at all. Debbie praised his first circle as the sand showed a nice even curved path. His turn on the hindquarters improved and while his back felt irritated from the turn in place it was not as bad as the previous weeks. Then came the big test, our first halt. I asked twice with the bradoon, lightly with both hands at once, and Bingo halted, no gaping mouth, no iron lower jaw, no “I don't want to”, Bingo just halted.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Good Bingo!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Resuming our walk, Bingo had no problems with picking up contact when I asked him to with my legs. He proceeded along our very winding path around the jumps without trying to suck back at all. When we trotted he voluntarily reached for a gentle contact, kept the contact, and even reached out further with his head as he relaxed, keeping his lower jaw nice and relaxed. When I wanted him to walk he obeyed promptly instead of his previous “I don't want to slow down”.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo was transformed.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Near the end of out lesson came the final big test, backing up. When I first asked for it Bingo acted as if he was not sure that my backing up rein aids meant the same thing as they did in the French-link bradoon, but after a few light combinations of alternating legs and hands he backed up tentatively, to be rewarded lavishly. He did not set his jaw, Debbie said he just opened his mouth a little bit, and although he backed up with micro-steps Debbie and I were pleased with his lack of his usual resistance.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The big difference with my hands when I ride with the double bridle is that I keep my hands closer together, around 6” instead of the 12” to 18” I keep them apart when I ride in just the snaffle. Holding my hands closer together seem to irritate the horses when I ride them in a double jointed snaffle, which is why Debbie always gets after me about my hands being further apart than the ideal. If the horse and Debbie disagree about what constitutes proper contact I usually listen to the horse first, and all the horses I've ridden in a double jointed snaffle have wanted my hands to be further apart when they pick up contact. So long as I keep my hands further apart contact is fine, but the closer my hands get the worse the contact. Is this the “lower jaw twitch” effect that Dwyer wrote about?</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Note to self: double jointed snaffles need wide hands, with single-jointed snaffles I can keep my hands closer together without irritating the horses. I now wonder if the veritable plague of dressage horses carrying their heads behind vertical comes from the “lower jaw twitch” effect of the double jointed, supposedly gentler snaffle bits. As usual horses often do not agree with the theoretical constructs that horse people build around the bits, and a single-jointed snaffle might be the gentler bit in a double bridle or when the rider holds their hands closer together with just the snaffle in the horse's mouth.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">On Friday I got to ride Bingo for my homework ride. It felt so hot and muggy I was surprised when my husband told me that the car's outside temperature gauge said it was only in the higher 70s. I spent my whole ride at the walk getting my hands coordinated enough to give aids with the unjointed Shire's Blue Alloy ported “Mullen mouth” snaffle. Debbie told me that while she did not need to use Bingo in the regular lessons now, she will need to use him for summer camp, and I told her it might be a good idea if I lent her my new bit for camp. I've noticed that when Bingo's mouth hurts he sets his lower jaw and his mouth becomes HARD, which encourages his riders to give stronger hand aids. Except for figuring my hand aids out in this bit I have not run into horrible resistances to the hand aids, and since it seems to hurt him less he might be more cooperative with his little riders if he is not afraid of pain from the bit.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Decades ago I started reading about how double-jointed snaffles were gentler bits than single-jointed snaffles. I started off experimenting with the double-jointed snaffles with a “dog bone copper roller” double jointed snaffle on my first horse, and he LOVED that bit (it was the only bit he would open his mouth for—I never had to stick my thumb into his mouth.) I then got into the Dr. Bristol bits which worked fine for me once I figured out how to put them on the bridle properly (one way is gentle, the other way is very harsh.) I am a Forward Seat rider, and if the horse tells me, by his reactions to the bit, that he prefers me to keep my hands further apart I will ride with wide hands. I did not get as good reactions with the French-link or lozenge double-jointed snaffles, especially when I brought my hands closer together, but the horses would humor me as long as I was polite with my hand aids.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Right now I am beginning to believe that, except for certain horses with wonky mouths, the horses DO NOT consider double-jointed snaffles to be the gentler bit (of course there are exceptions!) The widespread use of double-jointed snaffles is relatively new, back when I started riding seriously the double-jointed bits were not widespread and most hunt seat/dressage people used a single-jointed snaffle, from beginners to advanced riders, until the time came for the double bridle. For the horses that did not like a single-jointed snaffle the proper remedy was often a rubber Mullen mouth Pelham. I do find it telling that back then when a horse carried his head behind the vertical it was considered a HORRIBLE, AWFUL fault with contact, instead of it being rewarded with the highest honors. Of course the horses objected to harsh, hard, inhumane hands with the single-jointed snaffle, but with decent hands (decent, not perfect) they would reach for contact and keep contact without going behind vertical.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Listen to your horse, it is HIS mouth, and his comfort.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> Russ Krachun "Kozak" Horsemanship - Equine Educational Programs tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-05-20:1773158:BlogPost:825594 2019-05-20T20:37:41.000Z Russ Krachun Kozak Horsemanship /profile/RussKrachunKozakHorsemanship <p><a href="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2648244426?profile=original" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2648244426?profile=RESIZE_710x" class="align-full"/></a><a href="http://www.kozakhorsemanship.com%C2%A0">www.kozakhorsemanship.com </a>;</p> <p>Equine Educational Programs- "Foundation" "Intercommunication" "Evolution" </p> <p>Clinics-Events-Lessons-Equine Education-True Grit Academy-Custom Equipment </p> <p><a href="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2648244426?profile=original" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2648244426?profile=RESIZE_710x" class="align-full"/></a><a href="http://www.kozakhorsemanship.com%C2%A0">www.kozakhorsemanship.com </a>;</p> <p>Equine Educational Programs- "Foundation" "Intercommunication" "Evolution" </p> <p>Clinics-Events-Lessons-Equine Education-True Grit Academy-Custom Equipment </p> The Final Cold Morning of the Season tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-05-18:1773158:BlogPost:825587 2019-05-18T15:32:34.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The Final Cold Morning of the Season</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This Wednesday morning it was quite crisp, 45<font face="Times New Roman, serif">°</font><font face="Times New Roman, serif">F with a brisk breeze at dawn and it did not warm up much in time for my lesson. I had to put my cold weather breeches back on and I could wear my BOT back brace without getting too hot. I even used my home-made bit warmer on the bits.…</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The Final Cold Morning of the Season</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This Wednesday morning it was quite crisp, 45<font face="Times New Roman, serif">°</font><font face="Times New Roman, serif">F with a brisk breeze at dawn and it did not warm up much in time for my lesson. I had to put my cold weather breeches back on and I could wear my BOT back brace without getting too hot. I even used my home-made bit warmer on the bits. Of course the horses felt it too.</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">Bingo was a little bit peeved at being groomed, shifting around the wash stall as I got him clean. Debbie was raking the riding ring but Sam helped me by cleaning his hooves and putting his exercise boots on. Debbie came around in time to do the final brushing and she tacked him up as I got his face mask on. Bingo's head shyness came back a little bit, at least until he remembered how GOOD it feels to have the inside of his ears brushed out! Debbie put on his riding fly sheet, but we both forgot to put his BOT exercise sheet on which may have contributed to some of my problems in the ring.</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">When I got up on Bingo he was restive as I got myself situated, getting my right foot in the stirrup and sorting out my reins. As we walked off Bingo was looking here and looking there, feeling antsy and refusing to settle down. He would take contact but he was also quite willing to drop contact if anything, anything happened around the ring and in the pastures. After a minute or two I told Bingo that we were going to go in a circle around Debbie until he settled down. I worked on convincing Bingo to pay attention to me and ignore everything else as I kept him in a good walk on the circle.</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">When I finally got him focusing on me we went out of the circle, first going around the jumps around Debbie and gradually to the fence line. He noticed the birds, the cows hidden in the woods, the wind shifting, the dogs and the other horses, and each time I had to bring his attention back to me. He felt shifty enough under me that I picked up my RS-tor for the first time since I put the double bridle on so I had four reins, my crop and the RS-tor in my very crowded hands. This, I admit, probably made my contact more irritating to him.</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">Then it came time to halt. “Halt? What is a halt? You want me to do what? Why, oh why do you want me to halt? Is this halt really necessary? Oh, OK, if you insist” as he grumbled his way down to the halt. He was not happy since I had to “set” my hands on the bradoon rein when he ignored my first two alternating bradoon rein then curb rein halting aids. My praise only mollified his sullen mood a little bit. The only good thing about that halt was that he did not open his mouth.</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">After that he settled down a little bit though he never became cheerful. I worked a bit at lengthening and shortening his walk stride and he cooperated a little bit. We continued our turns, which improved a little bit, and I worked more at the “scary” ring fence. He finally settled down enough so I felt confident enough to trot, and he did behave while trotting, accepting contact and my rein aids. I did not do much trotting since I was feeling tired, just enough to get two decent trots in.</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">Then I decided that he was responsive enough to back up without problems. I was wrong. Using my legs then tweaking the sagging curb reins he just stood there. I repeated my aids and he ignored me again. I switched from the curb rein to the bradoon rein and he ignored me again. I finally had to “set” my hands on the bradoon rein before he reluctantly backed up two strides. This time he did open his mouth a little bit, but nowhere as bad as usual (full gape as far as he can open his mouth.)</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">We went back to walking around with me practicing even more halts. I finally got a half-way decent halt, with a relatively prompt response to my reins while keeping his mouth closed and I got off.</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">When I laid down at home and thought about my ride it occurred to me that Bingo may be “telling” me that the French-link bradoon does not feel that comfortable to him. I remember reading in Dwyer's book that double jointed snaffles can act as a painful twitch around the lower jaw bone. Most of the time I ride in with just a double jointed snaffle my hands are further apart than they are when I ride in the double bridle. Could holding my hands closer make this bit more uncomfortable for Bingo?</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">Luckily I have single-jointed eggbutt bradoons and I can try one next week to see if there is any improvement in contact and in response to my halting or backing up aids. I also went ahead and bought a “Magic Snaffle”, a Cambridge mouth ported unjointed snaffle with</font> <font face="Times New Roman, serif"><i>small</i></font> <font face="Times New Roman, serif">bradoon sized rings to use on horses that do not like jointed bits, as it seems that at least some horses do not like jointed bits with my hands. Since there are only 4 sizes available for the Magic Snaffle this bit won't fit him quite as well, but if he objects to the single-jointed bradoon it will give me an alternative to try. I just wish it was not a loose ring bit. With the Magic Snaffle I will have to be sure to support the bit with my outside hand, because it is loose ring it needs to be a little bit wider than an egg-butt snaffle, which means if I use one rein for a hand aid the port can drag across the horse's tongue, something many horses do not enjoy. The small rings also mean it is easier to pull the bit through the horse's mouth—OUCH! In other words the Magic Snaffle will be an excellent excuse for me to use my legs and seat more for turning aids.</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">Ninety plus degree days are starting to appear now. Soon I will be in full summer riding gear, trying not to literally melt in the saddle!</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">Have a great ride!</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><font face="Times New Roman, serif">Jackie Cochran</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">P.S.  Sorry about the font size, my word processing program was jumping around on me.</p> Is the Double Bridle EASIER for Horses to Understand? tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-05-11:1773158:BlogPost:825880 2019-05-11T16:00:00.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Is the Double Bridle EASIER for Horses to Understand?</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This week was the fourth time I used a double bridle on Bingo. I continue to be totally amazed how this horse who was VERY resistant to hand aids has settled down and is now showing definite signs of understanding my hand aids. Even though my curb rein is sagging enough so that I do not bring the curb chain into action, when I give hand aids…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Is the Double Bridle EASIER for Horses to Understand?</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This week was the fourth time I used a double bridle on Bingo. I continue to be totally amazed how this horse who was VERY resistant to hand aids has settled down and is now showing definite signs of understanding my hand aids. Even though my curb rein is sagging enough so that I do not bring the curb chain into action, when I give hand aids his obedience has improved a lot and most signs of resistance to the hand aids have disappeared (as long as I keep them light!)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">During my lesson this week I had no problems with Bingo at all. Halting was fine, he did not brace his jaw against my hand aids and stopped readily to the bradoon-curb alternation as he kept his lower jaw and poll relaxed. All of the three speeds of the walk drew praise from Debbie, his turns required less rein/seat/legs and he did not lose impulse. His leg yield improved also. His turns in place are still a work in progress but he is having an easier time figuring out his legs to do a proper turn in place. The most amazing thing this week was backing up, from having to do repeated aids for each step Bingo readily obeyed my light leg aids and light twitches on the sagging curb rein and backed up two full strides without any stopping, head flinging, scowls or gaping mouth--his usual reaction to the backing up hand/leg aids.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">GOOD BINGO!!!!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie was very pleased with both of us. She told me how much she liked how I was working Bingo, how it was strengthening his riding muscles and how he moved under me.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I got home I started thinking back to the other four horses I had introduced to the double bridle and how they reacted to having two bits in their mouths. When I introduced my first horse, Hat Tricks, to the double bridle it was pretty much an interesting non-event, but by then Hat Tricks and I had come to a good understanding with the snaffle bit, and he understood the snaffle bit and my hand aids. I got some extra refinement with him with the double bridle but no big changes in his obedience or way of going at first. As I sporadically used the double bridle on him we improved some and one day when the stars aligned I got the first collected canter of my life, with Hat Tricks light in hand, out trail riding, and heading home for extra impulse. Most of the time the double bridle was a boredom reliever and he never got upset about how I used the bits.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The next horse I introduced to the double bridle, Suzi a 7/8 Arab/ASB mare with a screw loose in her head, was more a case of desperation and not wanting to die while I retrained this mare who only had basic training with Western tack (including a Tom Thumb Western curb that was 3/4” too wide for her mouth.) After my first two rides in a single jointed snaffle and standing martingale it was super, super obvious that I had to do something different as far as her head gear was concerned. I went up to the Little Joe's Saddlery in Richmond, VA, and bough an Eldonian hollow mouthed fixed cheek curb that fit her mouth, as well as a rather thick Eldonian loose ring single-jointed bradoon. I also had to use my widest saddle, an old Borelli old English hunt saddle (no knee rolls, no security) since she had mutton withers. Suzi had many defenses, the usual inversions, mouth gaping, lower jaws of iron, PLUS she also either balked or bolted. Spurs helped with the balking, but I rapidly got tired of her galloping with her head high in the air going wherever she wanted.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">It took me six months in the double bridle and standing martingale, plus two lunging sessions in a Chambon, until I got her to where I could ride her in a regular snaffle without needing a martingale. Then I never used the double bridle or martingale on her again because I did not have to.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The next horse was a Paso Fino mare owned by the owner of the Paso Fino breeding barn I was boarding at (sorry, I forgot her name.) He had bought this 6(?) year old mare who had been broken to saddle who just did not understand the bit. He had his rider work this mare, and after one day when the girl had to run the mare into the side of the barn to stop her because the mare had over-bent so much that her chin was planted against her chest, her rider had no control at all. He was desperate, otherwise he would have never asked me, who rode Forward Seat, to work on this mare who was headed for the Paso Fino shows. After listening the the list of woes from her owner I asked permission to use Suzi's double bridle on her and he agreed. After his tale of woe I had a pretty good idea of what was happening (she was going behind the bit big time) and how to fix it.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">My first ride her owner was hovering around us anxiously watching us as we rode around the pasture (he did not have a riding ring.) I lightly introduced this mare to the bradoon and the curb bits, got her reaching to the bit in response to my legs, rode up to her owner in a rather impulsive walk, and stopped dead a few feet away from him, no inversion, no gaping, a rather nice civilized halt. His jaw dropped. I explained that she had been behind the bit (and then I had to teach him what that meant, he had never heard of it) and how I got that nice halt. He asked me to teach his rider about this so I gave the girl a few lessons on Suzi who was still super ready to go behind the bit for any reason, until the girl could satisfactorily keep contact, counteract the inversions, and come to a good easy halt. I got just a few more rides on this mare (since I did not know how to gait her or ride her in the Paso Fino show style), but his rider managed to stop the mare by using what I taught her so the main problem was solved.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The next horse was Glow, a Russian Arabian at Debbie's stable. Glow had big problems with contact, with the usual inversions and evasions, AND Glow did not suffer fools gladly, at all. After several bits until I found one he liked (JP Dr. Bristol) Glow learned to understand the snaffle bit and he got quite good in it, as good as Hat Tricks had been. I did not HAVE TO put a double bridle on Glow at all, it was a boredom reliever since by then I was limited to riding in the ring. After much thought Debbie and I agreed to introduce the double bridle without a curb chain on the curb bit. The last time I rode him I got a spectacular “school trot”, very impulsive, that Debbie had never seen Glow do before. Unfortunately for me Glow's breeder had finally tracked him down and offered to take Glow and Pepsi, another Arab gelding she had bred, back when Debbie could not use them any more in lessons. Well Pepsi had started stumbling badly, I was the only rider she had for Glow, so Glow finally got to go back to the place of his birth before I could try the curb chain on him. I still miss Glow, he is the best horse I ever rode.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">So two of the four horses I introduced to the double bridle did not “need” it at all for basic control, what I got from the double bridle counted as “icing on the cake”, very nice, very pleasurable, but not absolutely necessary. By the time I had introduced these two horses to the double bridle they thoroughly understood the snaffle bit, my hand aids, and my goals for riding them and I had gotten them past inversions, gaping, stiff polls and bars of iron lower jaws. To them the double bridle seemed interesting, something new to explore without fear, and pretty much a non-event.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">But thinking back to Suzi, the Paso Fino mare, and now Bingo, all these horses had absolutely no idea of how to relate to the snaffle bit, they had no understanding of how the hand aids worked, and while I could keep contact it was not the relaxed, confident contact that I love. As I related above I quickly put the double bridle and martingale on Suzi because I did not want to die (just a little exaggeration), the double bridle was totally necessary for me to gain control over the crazy mare. The Paso Fino mare had NO IDEA of what the bit meant even though she was “broke”. With both these mares, by alternating between the snaffle and curb, they finally figured bits out—sort of an “Oh, is that what you mean?” instead of a panicked meltdown.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo did not really understand the bit. The first time I rode him for several months him I had gotten him to accept the bit and the hand aids somewhat, but that disappeared during his long vacation. I was facing a few months of work in the snaffle before he truly understood what I meant when I used hand aids. But when I introduced the double bridle he calmed down, he started to use the thinking part of his brain, and in four weeks I've made the progress that I was thinking would take me months of work.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I do not know if having two bits in the mouth activates more brain cells in the horse's mind, but it sure seems that way to me. I suspect that having two bits, resting on different parts of the tongue, sort of derails the horse's old defenses because it feels new. At least with Bingo his improved understanding does not come because the curb bit hurts more since I have not engaged the curb chain, all my hand aids for the curb bit so far have come from tweaking a sagging rein with immediate release. But one way or another Bingo now seems to UNDERSTAND bits and the hand aids, and I am simply ecstatic about it all.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I now believe the double bridle helps the horses to figure it all out.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> The Oakley Diaries 39 - Winter is... Gone! tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-05-10:1773158:BlogPost:825662 2019-05-10T00:03:56.000Z B. G. Hearns /profile/BGHearns <p>   The past two months have improved my abilities at an appropriately glacial pace. Winter came, snowed, thawed then froze, then snowed, then thawed and froze again, leaving a thick layer of ice covering everything. After the glacier subsided and the mud was something less than thick enough to suck the hooves off the horses, we have been continuing on with the task of subtle repositioning in the saddle, which is much harder than it sounds.<br></br>    The best way to describe it is to stand up,…</p> <p>   The past two months have improved my abilities at an appropriately glacial pace. Winter came, snowed, thawed then froze, then snowed, then thawed and froze again, leaving a thick layer of ice covering everything. After the glacier subsided and the mud was something less than thick enough to suck the hooves off the horses, we have been continuing on with the task of subtle repositioning in the saddle, which is much harder than it sounds.<br/>    The best way to describe it is to stand up, then pull the chest up and out, as if being drawn upwards and forwards on a string. A movement of a couple of centimetres (about an inch), and either the pelvis goes back to compensate, or one rises up onto the balls of the feet striving to maintain balance. That's how subtle the change is, and yet, Oakley responds obviously to that little amount of difference when I'm in the saddle.<br/>    As Sally Swift talks about balanced riding, I am remembering and re-discovering her explanations and advice, yet again. This time, however, it is different, because I am not so concerned with myriad other aspects of staying, quietly, in the saddle. I am now able to concentrate on my upper body because my lower body has achieved a comfortable and continuous contact with the saddle. This comes from riding without stirrups, which I began again and which I have increased again to almost an hour, including rising trot without stirrups and jumping over low obstacles.<br/>    What has happened has to do with training muscles. Without going into lengthy details, muscles contract and can go in one of two ways: either to do a single maximum effort, like a weight lifter heaving a massively laden barbell once, or repeated light effort, like a marathon runner going on and on for hours. What happens is with increased tone and specific training, my legs are staying in position for longer and longer periods, using a continuous light contraction to hold in place, punctuated with occasional increased efforts, like when I rise from the saddle, or increase the pressure to give him a signal or really increase pressure to go over an obstacle. My ability to keep my legs in place and quiet for longer and longer periods means that aspect of staying in the saddle is no longer of primary concern.<br/>    It is quite difficult to absorb and put into practice all the good advice about how to hold one's upper body when one is seriously concerned about the very real possibility of an unplanned, graceless, involuntary dismount because the horse is nervous, spooky, or excited. It is all well and good to advise riders to have 'quiet, light hands' but when the horse sticks her nose up in the air and starts to bolt, good luck getting a message through the bit with subtle twitches of the fingers that work so wonderfully when quietly doing a shoulder-in along the side of the arena.<br/>    Once that concern goes away, because even when jumping up and down, one's legs are toned enough to keep a grip, stay in contact, and stay in the right place, while the pelvic bones keep in contact with the saddle, then it becomes much easier to remember to sit upright and stay in balance. We were coming to the end of a trail ride and something made Oakley excessively eager to get back to the barn. It felt quite wonderful to simply increase the pressure of my legs, to feel them wrap comfortably around his barrel, to feel quite confident that, even though he was jittering around underneath me, that my seat felt glued into the saddle. The effect was that my signals to his mouth were independent from the need to hang on. Typically, a rider about to come off grips the reins for dear life, and any communication with the horse's mouth ceases. But in this case, my legs and pelvis were able to handle the question of staying in the saddle and so my hands were able to focus on communicating to Oakley the need to not bolt. The result was he did a lovely collected canter and and an almost piaffe that would have made a dressage judge weep with joy through the cornfield. He also calmed down very quickly and came back to behave.<br/> My job now is to now focus on keeping my upper body soft and fluid, while remaining in good posture, no matter what we are doing. With a soft, fluid shoulder movement, I get a smoother trot, better collection going up and down hills and through draws, my release as he bascules over jumps remains lightly in contact, and I can get him back into an organized canter much faster after we land, so we're ready for the next jump. We are getting better, but the differences are subtle and hard to explain.</p> Creative Genius or Eccentric Old Bat? tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-05-06:1773158:BlogPost:825727 2019-05-06T12:13:37.000Z Linda Finstad /profile/LindaFinstad <p><span>Do you worry about how others view your actions or what they think about you?…</span></p> <p><span><a href="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2308486912?profile=original" rel="noopener" target="_blank"></a><a href="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2308488508?profile=original" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><img class="align-full" src="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2308488508?profile=RESIZE_710x"></img></a></span></p> <p><span>Do you worry about how others view your actions or what they think about you?</span></p> <p><span><a href="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2308486912?profile=original" target="_blank" rel="noopener"></a><a href="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2308488508?profile=original" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2308488508?profile=RESIZE_710x" class="align-full"/></a><a href="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2308486912?profile=original" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><br/></a></span></p> <p><span>This is not something author, artist , photographer Linda Finstad has ever struggled with.  In fact as a young girl, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up her response was always the same I really want to be an eccentric old bat - they seem to have so much fun and are allowed to colour outside the lines.  </span></p> <p></p> <p><span>50 years later She is living the dream, Linda has always been kindly referred to as “one of those creative types”.  She earned her living as an equine photographer and author  however when she decided to retire from horse show photography she let go the need to create images that would please others and sell. When her livelihood was no longer tied to her creativity it allowed her to reveal her authentic self and let loose the eccentric old bat.</span></p> <p></p> <p><span>She focused on painting rather than photography and using all the colours in the paintbox developed a brand new style of equine art which she calls “Prism-Equus” this made up word means equine personality depicted in colour.  Her brightly coloured horses were a hit and the new art term was added to the “Urban Dictionary”.  Her paintings are extremely popular and sell almost as fast as she paints them. </span></p> <p></p> <p><span>For Linda the next step was obvious  - if she derived her inspiration from horses perhaps she should paint a picture whilst riding a horse. This presented a couple of technical issues. Number one her paint brushes were not long enough to reach the canvas  - easily rectified with a garden stick and duct tape.  Problem number two Linda didn’t have a horse and hadn't ridden in over 20 years.  But as the horse show photographer she knew lots of people who did have horses and it didn't take long to locate the perfect painting partner a part bred Fjiord called Sven.  Finstad’s  very first horseback painting took place at New Horizon ranch and was a huge success. </span></p> <p></p> <p><span><b>Creative Genius or just an eccentric old bat?</b></span></p> <p><span><b>You decide.  </b></span></p> <p><span><a href="http://www.LindaFinstad.com">www.LindaFinstad.com</a></span></p> <p><a href="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2308485683?profile=original" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2308485683?profile=RESIZE_710x" class="align-center"/></a></p> I Rode Bingo Twice This Week tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-05-04:1773158:BlogPost:825615 2019-05-04T15:24:52.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I Rode Bingo Twice This Week</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This was a good week, I got to ride Bingo 30 minutes at a walk twice this week, once for my lesson and then I FINALLY got a “homework” ride in.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Wednesday I was so glad to see that clouds of hair did not come off Bingo when Debbie groomed him! He is still shedding, but a lot of his undercoat and…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I Rode Bingo Twice This Week</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This was a good week, I got to ride Bingo 30 minutes at a walk twice this week, once for my lesson and then I FINALLY got a “homework” ride in.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Wednesday I was so glad to see that clouds of hair did not come off Bingo when Debbie groomed him! He is still shedding, but a lot of his undercoat and long guard hairs are gone. Bingo also was happier with me when I groomed his head, just trying to become a giraffe once instead of constantly. He is no longer ear-shy and I got to clean out his ears without any problems. He seems to accept my Fenwick Mask with Ears readily now so long I put it on from his side. I am so glad that he no longer sees my hands and grooming tools as instruments of torture when they get near his head, that makes it so much easier to groom him.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This was our third lesson with the double bridle. Since some horses take their own sweet time to decide if they like a new piece of tack I feel hesitant to declare success the first two weeks, the horse may appear to accept the new bit, bridle, saddle, etc., because it takes some horses weeks to come to a conclusion as to the suitability of the piece of tack to their peculiar sensitivities. Fortunately Bingo showed no problems with having two bits in his mouth, he did not give Debbie any big problems when she bridled him. Since Bingo has proven that he can be extremely difficult to bridle when he does not approve of something, I have hopes that that this shows that I introduced the double bridle to him correctly.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">At the walk we worked on the three speeds, gradual turns, turns in place (fore and hind), leg yield, halting and backing, mostly on contact with the bradoon with active driving legs. My curb reins were sagging, and I would tweak my little fingers to “activate” it. He reached forward for contact readily and he kept contact fine between my hand aids. The only time he raised his head a little bit was when I used both hands at the same time with the bradoon reins for my halting aid, but I would release and when it was time to apply the curb reins his head was back down (somewhat.) I stopped in the middle of the ring twice, and both times I had to alternate between the bradoon and the curb twice, and he stopped softly with no gaping and keeping his head mostly down where it should be.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">He was still reluctant to extend at the walk though I did get two “marching” walks which pleased Debbie. She LIKED seeing him stride forth confidently. Our super-slow walks also got her approval. His turns in place were still a work in progress, but it did not take as many steps for him to “plant” his hind or fore ends, unfortunately these still irritate his back some. I did remember to keep in the half-seat for these turns in place, and his back did not feel as stiff when we walked off afterwards. For some of the gradual turns I used my outside leg as the aid, for others I brought my outside hip forward as his hind leg pushed my seat forward, and for one I just used my inside thigh. For reinforcement I used light touches with the bradoon rein. His leg yield improved some, but backing up was still iffy, but considering that one of Bingo's old evasions was backing up at speed I will take iffy attempts to obey me cheerfully; with patience Bingo's backing up will improve.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie was please with our ride. I think that she is enjoying seeing me introduce Bingo to the double bridle without causing him any problems.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Friday I got my first homework ride on Bingo! Most of the riders at the stable were planning on leaving for the district horse show at 8:30 AM so my husband and I arrived around 15 minutes later, and everyone had left. The lady finishing up the morning chores brought Bingo in for us, and we got to grooming him. While my husband curried and brushed his body I worked on his head and his lower legs, and after my husband cleaned his hooves I put Bingo's rear BOT exercise boots on, Debbie told me it was OK for me to leave his front exercise boots off since I got so tired putting them on. When it came time to put on Bingo's bridle I did not know what to expect. On Tuesday I had gone by our “local” good tack store and a bit caught my eye, a Shires Blue Alloy Hunter Dee “Mullen” mouth with a medium port (Cambridge mouth), a solid mouthpiece with an iron coating on the mouthpiece (the blue alloy). I have never used one of these bits before which means Bingo had never seen one before, but when I presented it to his mouth Bingo opened his mouth before I could get my thumb all the way in between his lips. I was SO RELIEVED that I did not have to stand up on tip-toe! He felt the new mouthpiece with his tongue a few times and then accepted his new bit.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When we started our ride Bingo took contact readily and kept contact quite well. It took me a little bit to coordinate my hand aids with the new solid mouthpiece but Bingo took my initial mistakes well. Turning was fine (I used my legs, of course,) and he did not seem to find anything wrong with the bit. The true test came when we halted, using both reins at once one time, he slowed a little bit, and the second time I gave the halting aid he came to a soft halt with his mouth closed, I did not have to “set” my hands like I did with the Wellep snaffles, he did not act in any way showing any discomfort with the bit.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I stopped Bingo so he could get a good look at the cows a heron suddenly took flight around 20 feet in front of him. Bingo startled in place, he did not shy. He was a bit antsy when we went down the fence line, then he relaxed and except for him looking askance where the heron took off he went past the spot without any great problems later on. He is a good horse!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Maybe, just maybe, Bingo does well with the ported solid mouth bits because had been fortunate enough to get a few good rides with a normal ported Western curb bit when he was young. With both the Weymouth curb and my new Shire's snaffle he has relaxed in relation to the bit. No fussing with his tongue, no gaping at the mouth in response to my hand aids, no inversions, and for him rapid obedience to gently applied hand aids. I do not get this good response from any other snaffle I've used on him, mostly the super-gentle Wellep bits with the super mobile mouthpieces. When Debbie uses him in lessons she has a single jointed rubber covered snaffle in his mouth and he shows resistances. Could it be possible that Bingo does not like jointed snaffle bits, could the extra movement of the mouthpiece derail his obedience to the hand aids? Could some of Bingo's resistances come because his tongue feels “trapped” by the jointed snaffles? All I know is that Bingo seems to consider rein aids with a Cambridge mouth ported solid mouthpiece as MUCH more understandable than the same reins aids given with a jointed bit in his mouth. He is CONFUSED about what the hand aids mean with the jointed snaffle, and while I made some progress during the months I rode him a year ago I did not get to the point that I got to with one ride with my new Shires “Mullen” mouth ported snaffle.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I am very glad that I did not waste my money on my new bit!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> We Check Out the Weymouth Curb tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-04-27:1773158:BlogPost:825606 2019-04-27T17:28:39.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">We Check Out the Weymouth Curb</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">One of the advantages of the double bridle is the ability to communicate with the horse at a level of great subtlety. The bradoon give the snaffle effect or course, like the Weymouth curb gives the curb effect, and the subtleness of the double bridle comes from how the rider uses both bits in combination. For most purposes the individual bits are used to indicate…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">We Check Out the Weymouth Curb</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">One of the advantages of the double bridle is the ability to communicate with the horse at a level of great subtlety. The bradoon give the snaffle effect or course, like the Weymouth curb gives the curb effect, and the subtleness of the double bridle comes from how the rider uses both bits in combination. For most purposes the individual bits are used to indicate to the horse how the rider wants him to move, for turning the bradoon is used, and for slowing down/halting either the bradoon or Weymouth can be used. With the double bridle a rider can also effect the horse's head carriage, the bradoon works to raise the horse's head with the nose stuck out, and the Weymouth curb asks the horse to yield his lower jaw and to flex at the poll, and the horse brings his nose down and toward his neck. To be able to get the full effects of the double bridle the bits MUST fit and be placed in the mouth the proper positions, and the rider's hands must be independent from the seat and the fingers must be supple and able to move independently of each other.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When we bridled Bingo I was very happy that Bingo decided that he did not have to sling his head around when we adjusted the bridle. I was successful in getting the Weymouth curb exactly in the right position, vertically above his chin groove, and I was able to get his curb chain to its proper tightness-- so I could get my fore and middle fingers side-by-side horizontally between the curb chain and his chin groove. At first Debbie was worried that Bingo might consider the curb chain too tight, but dropped her objections when it became apparent that Bingo was comfortable with the slightly tighter curb chain.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Since I had big problems getting to sleep the night before I told Debbie I could only walk, I just was not confident enough that I could keep my position stable at the trot. So Bingo and I walked around, doing gradual turns between and around the jumps while I kept contact with the bradoon. Bingo did not fuss at the bits, he accepted contact readily and he willingly kept the contact. As before when I was adjusting my reins I accidentally bumped the curb bit slightly once and he did not react, so when he was STILL resistant to stopping with just the bradoon I told Debbie that I was going to alternate giving the halt aid with the bradoon and the curb. When Bingo resists the halting hand aid with the bradoon he sets his jaw hard, he gapes his mouth, and he does not slow down at all, it is VERY obvious that he is not yielding to the aids.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The next time I wanted to stop I gave the bradoon rein aid with both reins simultaneously when his head came up (the normal head movement at the walk,) then I relaxed my fingers completely. The next time his head came up I twitched my little fingers on the sagging curb reins, relaxed my fingers, and he slowed down a little bit. After some brief praise I then repeated the sequence and he stopped after the curb rein aid, no gaping, no hardening of his jaw and I did not have to set my hands at all, my contact was light and supple throughout the process. I then praised Bingo to the skies because this was the lightest halt I had gotten since I started riding him again. My curb rein aid was light on the sagging reins and I do not think the curb chain engaged at all so he did not stop because of pain.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After letting Bingo rest a few moments I started walking again and experimented with slowing down his walk. I will be emphasizing the super slow walk (the “counted walk” for dressage people) because it is a method of strengthening the “sling muscles” from the scapula to the sternum. As these muscles strengthen Bingo's forehand should come up a little bit more than usual and get him off the forehand. My slowing down aids for the walk are LIGHT and timed to the forward swing of the hind leg. With the snaffle I alternate the reins always applying them when his head comes up, when I use the curb rein I do light twitches of my little fingers, both at the same time, when his head comes up. Bingo slowed down a little bit but he “told” me that he really did not want to do a super slow walk that day so I contented myself with a little bit.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The last thing I did to introduce Bingo to using the curb bit to signal for backing up. Bingo was not totally sure at first as I alternated my light legs and my twitching little fingers. By the third time he tentatively backed up on step, then the other diagonal, and I stopped and praised him.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After walking another minute I got off. I had successfully introduced Bingo to the curb bit action without triggering any resistances or upsetting him at all. It was definitely time to stop my ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I have gradually come up with the hypothesis that while it is possible with a very good rider to get the horse to react to the snaffle as he does with a curb bit, I do not think most horses like this. If the horses did like it there would be absolutely no need for drop or flash nosebands, or for heavy contact and hand aids. I have noticed this on several different horses including those whose head/upper neck conformations make it easy to flex the lower jaw and poll (Arabs, part-Arabs and Tbs) and with horses whose head/upper neck conformation make it hard to flex the head joints (Bingo and my Paso Fino mare.) I can get a much better lower jaw/poll flexion when I tweak my little fingers on sagging curb reins than I can with the snaffle bits with both light or strong contact and rein aids. Since tweaking my little fingers on a sagging rein does NOT engage the curb chain (make it tight against the curb groove) the horses do not stop because of pain from the curb bit, they stop because the signal from the curb bit is more UNDERSTANDABLE and comfortable for the horse.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">As we walked back to the stable Debbie listed all the things I did right. My contact was light and supple (good hands, her words) and I used my legs a lot (alternating and using just my calf.) On Bingo I have to use my legs a good bit because his favorite speeds are the halt and a shuffling crawl, refusing to keep good contact. So I use my legs to send him to the bit and to get him into his best approximation of a flat-footed walk (both on and off contact.) I make good and sure not to use my hands and legs at the same time so my aids are not conflicting. The result is that I avoided most of Bingo's ingrained resistances because he was COMFORTABLE and found no reasons to resist my hands.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Right now I believe that if riders with an independent seat and hands switched to a double bridle when their riding teachers start talking about dropped/flash/crank nose-bands, those riders would end up with better results with less resistance from the horse. Using a double bridle is not rocket science, and if the bits are fitted, placed and used properly the horse stays comfortable. I was really expecting for Bingo to react badly to the double bridle, but to him it has been a total non-event and definitely nothing to get upset about even if he does have two bits in his mouth instead of just one. I think he LIKES that I can be more subtle with my rein aids instead of having to set my hands hard.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Bingo will never end up with a “pretty headset”. His face will never be vertical to the ground. Bingo will never be “in frame.” Even so Bingo has improved his responsiveness to my light hand aids when I use the appropriate bit. Bingo has these severe limitations but even he can improve with the proper use of the double bridle.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> I Introduce Bingo to the Double Bridle tag:www.barnmice.com,2019-04-20:1773158:BlogPost:825334 2019-04-20T15:04:31.000Z Jackie Cochran /profile/JackieCochran <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I Introduce Bingo to the Double Bridle</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">My French-link Egg-butt Bradoon bits finally arrived on Monday. Yeah! I got out my cob size bradoon hanger, found my longest Micklem bit straps and my new reins. My Hinterland notched reins stayed on my Wellep double-jointed snaffle since I really did not expect for Debbie to tell me to go ahead and use my made-up double bridle, but I went ahead and put my…</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I Introduce Bingo to the Double Bridle</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">My French-link Egg-butt Bradoon bits finally arrived on Monday. Yeah! I got out my cob size bradoon hanger, found my longest Micklem bit straps and my new reins. My Hinterland notched reins stayed on my Wellep double-jointed snaffle since I really did not expect for Debbie to tell me to go ahead and use my made-up double bridle, but I went ahead and put my web reins with colored rein stops on the Weymouth curb. We had measured his mouth and my Weymouth curb is 4 1/2” wide and the bradoon is 4 3/4” wide. I put one of my shorter curb chains on the Weymouth curb, as well as a lip strap.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I got to the stable Debbie was sort of displeased with Bingo as he had really bounced around as his head-shyness made a reappearance. I showed her the bits I had selected for the double bridle. Since the Weymouth curb's mouthpiece is a rather slender 3/8” and the bradoon is 12mm thick, she was not too worried about the bits feeling crowded in his mouth. Then I asked her what bit set-up she wanted me to use for my lesson and Debbie told me to go ahead and make up my double bridle.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">So I switched the notched reins from the Wellep bit to my bradoon and threaded the hanger through the elastic bit at the top of the crown-piece of my Micklem bridle. I find it REALLY hard to thread the bradoon hanger through the brow-band loops so I didn't because I was in a hurry. I hung the Weymouth curb to the Micklem bridle with the bit straps and lengthened to cheek pieces. I “guesstimated” how it would fit (and of course we had to adjust the bridle further.)</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">While I tried to groom Bingo's head he was not agreeable at all. He'd throw his head as high as it would go and try to get away from my hand/grooming tool. I did not even try to put on his “bonnets” and it was hard for me to get the bridle places clean. Debbie bridled him and then we spent around 10 minutes fussing with minutia, adjusting the cheek-pieces for the curb bit as Bingo slung his head around, getting the curb-chain on straight, and making sure that the bradoon was in a decent place. After slinging his head around whenever our hands got near to his eyes, Bingo seemed to accept having two bits in his mouth rather well, at least he was not trying to push them out of his mouth. We were only able to get the curb-chain rather loose, 3 fingers side-by-side, instead of the preferred 2 fingers side-by-side horizontally. Since the lip strap limits the movement of the curb chain I was not too worried about the curb chain getting to the sharp lower jaw bones above the curb groove.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I got up on Bingo in the ring I left my curb reins (the web reins with colored stops) sagging a good bit while I kept contact with the bradoon. Bingo accepted contact with no problems. The main difference between Bingo in the double bridle and Bingo in the Wellep bit was that he went slower. That was fine with me, he needed time to become familiar with the odd, odd, odd feelings from having two bits in his mouth. Then I tried to stop and apparently bit aids that were understandable with only one bit in his mouth all of a sudden were completely new to him with two bits in his mouth. It was not a pretty halt as he gaped widely before finally halting.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When we started walking again I practiced adjusting the reins, always trying to keep the curb rein sagging. I deliberately put on pairs of reins that did not match in feel or appearance so I would find it easier to keep track of which rein went to which bit. I had to change how I shorten the reins, with the curb bit in the mix I really could not just widen my hands to get my hands further down the reins. I had to use the other hand to shorten each rein individually while trying not to affect my contact with the bits. Once or twice I accidentally got one curb rein too short (contact with the bit) but I immediately released and Bingo did not make any comments about my fumbling.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">After a second gaping mouthed halt I decided, since Bingo had not thrown a fit of any kind about me accidentally touching his mouth with the curb bit, to start introducing the action of the curb bit to him. When introducing a new aid to replace an older aid the “rule of grammar” with horses is to introduce the new aid first, and then do the old aid. So I got the curb reins sagging just a little bit, then as his head moved up I tweaked both curb reins with my little fingers and released immediately, and the next time his head came up I did the halting aids with the bradoon. I had another gaping mouthed halt, but I let Bingo just stand there on loose reins while I counted to 10 and then I praised him to the skies for being such a smart horse. By the third time of me using the curb for a halting aid he responded immediately and I barely had to use the bradoon to get a full halt.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Debbie was pleased with us. While Bingo did not stride forth confidently at the walk he did not seem to be upset with the curb bit and how I used it. Except for the halts Bingo did not seem to get upset by the French-link bradoon. He reached for contact readily, he did not try to duck his head back or invert when I tweaked the curb reins, and he seemed to consider the double bridle a non-event, and definitely not something to get worked up about. Good Bingo.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I first decided to try working with a double bridle again I did a lot of research into the curb bits. Since Bingo had started out as a Western horse I figured that he had been introduced to a curb bit before. Since his mouth has never felt truly educated to me I figured that if he had been worked in a curb bit it probably would have had 7” shanks, be 5” wide, pulled up to the corners of his mouth around 3/8” higher than his curb groove, and with the curb strap over the knife-edges of his lower jaw bones. I took a chance that with a properly sized curb bit (4 1/2”), placed in the proper part of his mouth, and using a curb-chain instead of a curb-strap, that I might not trigger bad memories of brutal riding.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">And I was right, I did not trigger horrible memories of agony. Thinking about my ride I decided that Dwyer was correct in saying that a curb bit of proper width and thickness, properly placed vertically above the curb groove, with a curb chain acting on the curb groove only, with the curb chain at proper tightness, and with a rider with decent hands is a comfortable bit for the horse causing no problems or discomfort. Dwyer also said that mouth problems disappeared “as if by magic” when the size and placement of the curb bits were corrected. Well Bingo did not get upset about the curb bit at all even when I accidentally activated it when I adjusted my reins.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I was expecting much worse.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Have a great ride!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jackie Cochran</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"></p>