Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Good Fit

My new bit and headstall both arrived last week, but since Brian and I had our Sunday trail ride planned I decided not to try them out until afterwards. I intended to test the new combo yesterday, but work did not permit.

This morning I woke up and it was dark and raining, but things cleared during breakfast. By the time I got to the barn one storm had blown over and another was rolling in. Steen was way way out at the top of the huge hill in the pasture, but he was clean and dry. I made him jump the drainage ditch on the way in. We tried this before our last ride after Brian made Bear do it the other day. Steen was pretty willing to go over the first time with minimal coaxing, but today he didn't even hesitate. He took it in a big leap and then pranced along next to me all proud of himself for a moment.

Inside I groomed, tacked and put the new bit in his mouth. I had him flex to it a few times before mounting and noticed it sits a lot more solidly in his mouth. His old bit was always shifting, so I took this as a good sign.

We went to the outdoor arena and I mounted and Steen started out by not wanting to stand, then not wanting to walk, but I forced him to walk around for a while anyway. I don't think his antics had to do with the bit, but more to do with the faster rides we've been doing and also nerves at being alone instead of with Bear. Eventually I asked for the trot and he started scooting around with his head way up and his ears back waiting for me to ask him for the lope. I did not and it took him about 15 minutes of solid trotting to calm down. But during this time he never shook his head or chomped on the bit or seemed irritated by the headstall, so again I think it was just high spirits.

Finally he relaxed and after that he was great. I worked on some bends and flexes, and he seems more willing to give to this bit than the old one.

I only rode for half an hour and in that time the wind was gusting around and dark clouds were racing by to the north. We could even see lightning in the distance. I kept thinking the sky would open up and we would get drenched, but it never happened.

After the ride I took a photo of the new setup. Unfortunately it was rather dim in the barn so its grainy. I'll have to get a better one later.

Ride Time: 0:30
Horseback hours YTD: 56:35

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