|Achievement Unlocked: Train horse to double bridle|
As we've been starting work on 3rd level (shhh, no one tell Pig 3rd level is supposed to be hard!), I've been thinking it was a good time to start introducing Guinness to a double. It's not completely necessary, but I figure he's so sensitive to bitting and bridling changes it's a good idea to start as early as I can.
So I've been casually shopping for doubles, gathering bridle parts, and window shopping bradoons and weymouths. At the same time, a friend generously offered to let me borrow her double for the winter. Just to trial the whole thing out. She came out on Sunday to drop off the bridle, and we popped it on.
Apparently her PSG horse and Guinness are exactly the same size because we didn't have to change a single thing on the bridle. It fits just as is. Obviously it isn't a perfect fit for him (Ack! That bradoon hanger buckle! My eyes!), but it'll do for now. The one big thing I've noticed is that I will absolutely need to look for a weymouth with a much lower port. The one in this bridle is an average height, but obviously a little too much for Pig. Interestingly, he did just fine with the loose ring bradoon, despite not going well in a regular loose ring snaffle.
I kept our test ride pretty short and sweet. We ran through pretty much all of our suppling exercises, as well as some simple changes and lateral work. Even though I purposefully kept a loop in the curb rein, I noticed an immediate effect from Pig. Instead of taking 30-40 minutes of careful warm up to start really lifting his withers and collecting, he took 10 minutes. And his shoulders were very quick to move up and out of the way. I was really astounded at how much less I had to use the reins. In fact, I found myself riding even more off my seat. He was working so well through the back, he was definitely a little sore from it last night.
Though notoriously difficult in contact, Guinness never once dropped out of the bridle or fussed in the double. He was not sure about it (stood with his mouth gaping open for a minute after I put it on, obviously confused), but didn't reject it. In fact, the only thing I noticed was that he was about 10% lighter in my hand. He isn't a heavy horse at all, so that is a considerable amount of lightness. He didn't gape his mouth while working, or grind his teeth (his favorite way of expressing annoyance). I was so proud of him!
Right now, I'm planning on sticking him in the double once a week or less. I want it to be something he gets very comfortable with, and understands. I also don't want to pressure him with it. He's been so good in his snaffle, I don't want to undo any of that work by pushing too hard.
Still, that's my crazy thoroughbred ... in a double bridle. Whoa.
Now, anyone have any spare black cob-sized bridle cheeks, curb reins, or a bradoon hanger?