Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Bit

I'm pretty happy, although my boy didn't stop playing with or chewing on his new bit. I got a Mark Rashid recommended Rocking S raised snaffle bit in a 4.5 size. It looks like this:

This bit is designed for horses with small mouths and a low palate. I haven't had Ashke looked at, but he told the psychic that the bit was hitting the top of his mouth. And I've been feeling like both of his other bits were too wide for his mouth. This snaffle is designed to not pressure the bars, pinch the tongue or use leverage in the mouth at all. Rashid recommends it because it increases the communication between the rider's hands and the horse's mouth. It helps make the horse softer and they give to the pressure much easier than with other bits. The only funky thing about this bit is that it lays in the back of the horse's mouth, farther back than they are used to, and flat against the tongue, rather than raised against the roof of their mouth. Ashke played with it our entire ride. I'm hoping that he will settle a little bit with it tomorrow and not wander around with his mouth wide open.

J helped me get Ashke ready. Don't you see the nice muscle we are seeing develop on his front shoulder. He's looking so good.

Nicole and I rode together. She was worried that the way he was working the bit it was too small and tight for his mouth. (I ordered the size without measuring his mouth based on the 5" bit he was using was too wide for his mouth.) She talked me into asking Cinnamon about it, which I did. Cinnamon looked at it and had me lower the cheek strap - telling me that some bits don't curl the edges of his mouth and that is a bad way to check if the bridle fits. He seemed more comfortable once the bit was lowered and I think I need to lower the right side as well. (Tomorrow.) The width seemed correct to me and Cinnamon agreed. She said it was fitting his mouth well, but he obviously needed some time to get comfortable with it.

I rode him without the martingale or the running martingale. All day. He reached down for contact, He started to relax and flex. His poll lowered. And he backed with minimal cue. For the first time he began to relax with the bit. His head never came up. His nose never came out. When we cantered and I touched the reins to slow him, he immediately slowed. I am going to need to really be aware of my pressure, because he is going to be very sensitive to any contact.

He moved the bit with his tongue the entire time we rode, but he also listened to all of my commands.

He was pretty bouncy. Spooky. Wired. Like he had two Venti double expresso Caramel Macchiatos. He went sideways at an eight year old in a bright green jacket who came out of the clubhouse. And then we moved outside where there were some very scarey jumps set up in the arena. Ashke moved like a cat on a hot tin roof. Completely amped up.

Mom takes good pics! Ashke wasn't being mean or uncontrollable. He was just up.

Every day he gets a little bit closer to being completely correct. We are gaining muscle in the butt and the shoulder and his neck. I think he is great mentally. His back is getting stronger every day.

He was outside when we got there and he heard my voice and began bellowing for me. :) He seemed to enjoy our ride a lot.

Niko and I rode out on the mesa for a real ride today. We did the 1.5 mile loop I rode by myself last time. Ashke was pretty amped during the ride. He spooked at every darn rock out there. That's a lot of spooking. We went up the steep part of the hill first and then back across the meadow. There were teaching moments for both horses. Especially, T and R playing in the trees on our way back. Cali just about jumped out of her skin. It was a good ride and I can't wait to do it again tomorrow.

We worked on our bow, afterwards. He's beginning to get it.

I'm going to leave you with some eye candy: (Like pictures of Ashke aren't enough)


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