Anyways, I reorganized all my stuff then went and got Misty out first. I decided to do her hooves first since it was still cool out. I think I did a rather good job smoothing them out! They got a bit chewed up from our trail ride over the weekend. The trails were crushed gravel so while there was no ouchiness and she did quite well, the ground was still quite abrasive and since she's due for a trim, she chipped quite a bit. She was much easier to do than Jetta and acted like quite the lady for her rasping. Unlike Jetta who was decidedly NOT a lady when I did her hooves.
Gave her some thrush stuff then tacked her up to lunge in side reins. I decided to try the Micklem bridle on her and it was a success! Jetta's bridles don't really fit her because her head is in between cob and horse sized. Sigh. But the Micklem is so adjustable that it fit almost perfectly! The only place it was too small was the throatlatch, so I may figure out a way to extend it with one of the extra cheek pieces that came with the bridle, lol.
|Sleepy poneh. She stood with her eyes closed the whole time I played with getting it to fit right.|
But, the bridle worked out perfectly. I actually don't own any flashes because I've never used one. I don't like the idea of strapping a horse's mouth shut, but I've made exceptions for Jetta during cross country so she's better able to focus on the task at hand and listen when I ask her to slow down, and then with Misty since she's so over the top with her displeasure when I put pressure on the bit. She's going to get her teeth looked at soon, but I've felt around and at least there are no wolf teeth, so I think it's just a gap in her training.
I've been using the vienna reins on Misty but I think we may try something else. I think the type of side reins you use are very dependent on your horse. With Jazz I used elastic side reins, but when I used them on Jetta, she learned to hang on them, so I switched to the vienna reins which are all leather and don't allow her to hang on them. Also, since Jetta likes to carry her head high, it asks her to stretch down, which allows her to use her back better. With Misty, I think she needs something different. Since the vienna reins have some adjustability in where the horse is able to hold their head, I don't think they work as well for Misty because she can get her head up really high and tuck her nose in, getting really short in the neck, to avoid bit pressure from the reins. What she needs is something that gets her to put her head down and poke her nose out.
I thought about getting a neck stretcher since they're easy to find for super cheap, but I think a chambon would be the best option because it applies pressure to the poll when the head is up, but releases when the head goes down and allows them to poke their nose out, which the neck stretcher doesn't. With Misty, she tends to curl too far behind the bit, so I don't want something that allows/encourages that.
|image from sustainabledressage.net|
Regardless, she's definitely getting better at accepting the vienna reins. I still haven't been able to tighten them on her since she'll still panic occasionally, but she had a lovely trot in both directions and a very nice, relaxed canter to the left. To the right, her more difficult direction, the canter was more rough and she had a couple spots where she hit the reins and panicked (boy can she stop and spin on a dime!) but we finally got two whole circles where she maintained gait and didn't panic so we called it a day.
Jetta was up next and I had a nice ride on her as well. The plan for today is to ride both ponies then take them home for the weekend. We have our trail competition this weekend which should be interesting, as I've decided to ride both of them in it just for the heck of it!