Looks like GA is back in a dry pattern for awhile. Weather looks good for this week; dry and 80's. Friday I tried Tiki in his first big boy bit; a 3 ring elevator with a waterford mouthpiece. I'll be honest; I didn't love it. Tiki has such a gentle mouth; he CAN get a little strong if I get him hyped up, but he ALWAYS comes back. I've decided to continue experimenting with stronger bits now and again because I AM doing some poker rides, hunter paces, and cross country schoolings. Didn't do a single one last year, but I have made a commitment to myself and my friends to take a few Saturdays off and have a good time. In order for us to be SAFE, I do need brakes. And I DID have that with the bit, I'll give it that. But in terms of asking the boy to come into the bridle, he resisted for ALL he was worth. I used 2 reins, and only put the 2nd rein in the middle ring, but still, he was quite resistant. Turning, he felt like a brick. His mouth was so stiff and locked he did NOT want to loosen up:( I don't need more bit on a daily basis; I only need to find one for our "outings". I will not have one or both of us get hurt because he gets too "up" and fast.
I'll use it again tomorrow for our flat ride, because I always try a new bit twice so I can really get a good feel. On Friday, after I circled, and circled, and circled, he did start to feel better. Did some lengthening and shortening at the trot, then did some hand gallop to slow, collected canter and he felt great. Moved the gymnastic stuff around, and left just the 2 big crossrails with 2 strides in between. Planned to canter in, and then alternate turning left/right after so we could do a little lead change schooling as well.
You know, it is SO frustrating not to be able to find a distance. I'm TRYING to really ride him in with a nice, forward canter, but then it works best to move up to the jump, but when we do, his feet get FAST, and he jumps quickly. Honestly, you'd think that for a jumper, that would be good, but the problem is that when he jumps so fast he's more likely to knock a rail down out of carelessness. I can find a better distance out of a slow, collected canter, but we usually get a deep spot and the add. I guess the solution is lots of what I'm doing. Singles and small gymnastics set in the center of the ring, and canter, canter, canter in until I can find the ever elusive sweet spot.
The 2 stride I was doing was the one that was a little long, and the first time through, it WAS long. I focused SO hard on my position. I didn't feel like a rock star, I'll admit it.:( The lead changes were perfect, though. Went through maybe ... 5 times before I FINALLY nailed it. Once the spot was there, I quit on that note.
He was really good. He was a little bit perturbed to be using more bit, but I think they all need to adjust to different things. Will ride him in the 3 ring flatting tomorrow, working on more lengthening/collecting at the trot and canter, then I'll give it back to my friend. More than likely will use it when we do a big trail ride at Foxhall Farm in June, unless I borrow one I like better.:) Plan is to ride every day, only jumping 2. I want to hack 2 days, jump 2 days, then do hills one day. Guess I'll update Friday!