I had two back to back and very good lessons this week. As you all know by now I absolutely love my trainer, the fabulous R. She has taught me so much and every time I am at her farm I learn so much. She knows about basically everything horse related, its amazing.
Anyway, so on Tuesday I had a lesson on Try. We are pretty used to each other now, so each lesson we get better and better. On Tuesday we did a lot of work with transitions going from trot to canter, canter to trot, trot to jog, jog to trot, to walk, etc. We also worked on trot / canter with his head down, framed up, using his back. He did very well. Then at the end we did some work on roll backs. It went along with our transition work: cantering down stopping, turning on the haunches, canter again, repeat. It was basically a slow version of a rollback as he is still green and working up to it. At the end we did some faster ones with him hand galloping, doing an almost sliding stop, and roll back. He was awesome! I told R I want him to be a reining horse. LOL
Yesterday, I had my bi-weekly lesson on Satin, along with our friend L and her mare Lexie, our lesson partners. Now I have to give the back story to what we worked on in this particular lesson. When running in speed events I have been using the regular tom thumb I use for everything else. I have noticed when looking at show pictures whenever I ask her to turn or slow down she open her mouth in a way that looks like I am really pulling on her which I am definitely not. R figured it had to do with the way the bit breaks, and that it might be pushing into the top of her mouth. This made sense to me, so I did a little further investigation. I talked to some barrel people I know and found none of them use this bit for speed. One of them even told me its one of the worst bit options for a speed horse. I asked around and got several suggestions then went back to R. She dug through her supplies and found two western bits she thought were worth trying. One had a similar mouth piece to the tom thumb but a different shank and the other was not a broken bit it was one piece, but jointed with a roller. Then I mentioned that my friend J who gave me the wonderful Satin used to ride her in a hackamore, which is what I used when I first got her. R's response was "Well then let's try that too". A little more digging produced a hackamore, the perfect size for my little mare. R instructed me to go home and do a little speed work with these at home and let her know what I thought worked best.
Well that was late Saturday and Sunday I went on a beach ride (which I will write about later) so Monday Satin got off, which left me Tuesday for bit trial. So I had R's 2 bits, plus my friend K's barrel bit, and the hackamore to try. I warmed up and did a barrel dash and keyhole run in the hackamore with my friend K observing. Then I went through each of the other three bits doing the same. Keyhole, on the rollback, is where she does it the mouth opening the most, so it was my best tell. Out of all the options the hackamore was the best. No mouth opening at all.
So yesterday I went to the lesson with the hackamore to learn the best way to use it. Satin loves it! She was awesome! She was nice and forward and raring to go. We did a lot of transition work especially canter to halt to canter and jog to halt to jog. R was trying to help us get used to the hackamore and figure out the best way to use it. Afterwards we did some pattern work involving serpentines, a roll back, and backing up. She was so hyper so the beginning was a bit sloppy. BUT, I intended to just to simple changes through the halt and after we did the pattern once she was do flying changes at each spot where I planned to simple and doing them perfectly. She was even doing them on a straight line without being asked just cnatering down the ring to do a rollback. We both have to get a little more used to the hackamore, but it is definitely our new favorite toy. R thinks she will be quite speedy wearing that at the next show. I am looking forward to it!