Just a quick note before bed...
Admittedly, my riding schedule with Miles has not been consistent the last few weeks, with his scrapes in strategic places and a couple other factors. We've also had a lot of rain the past couple of weekends. Blah blah blah, all this to say, on our ride yesterday, the first in about a week, he was worse then ever with that damn bit (this is what he's wearing). Now, the weather has been cooling down (YAY!), and we were riding indoors for the first time in months because the outdoor ring was soaked. So, a couple of other factors at work; still, he lunged just fine in his halter, and c'mon, a week off is going to happen every now and again.
He was plenty forward. Actually, it was quite lovely-lots of energy, but he was directing it into our work which was great. I was excited to get on him after lunging. As soon as I picked up the reins, however-my goodness, the fussiness! That long neck of his was alllllll over. He was grinding his teeth and over flexing. He just wasn't happy. It's a damn shame because, as I said, he was moving so well, and even bending fairly well and listening to my leg, as much as I could expect when the neck is totally disconnected:) I kept my hands steady and continued to work him forward, ignoring his antics. I know the worst thing to do is discipline a horse with your hands...
Literally the moment he would either lower his head and stretch (not root, big difference), or simply relax and be still, I would reward him with a walk and praise. He soooo loves being told he's a good boy:) He also loves ambling around the arena on the buckle.
I know there are possible explanations other than him just hating his bit. I guess y'all will have to take my word that my hands are quiet and steady (hey, I'm not perfect, but it is something I've been complimented on before, and certainly I've been conscience of my hands with Miles), and while I'm not allowing him to tool around the arena on a loose rein (after the first few minutes), the contact I'm asking for is hardly severe or something he can't do. Honestly, he's unhappy even with no contact. It's the metal in his mouth he's rebelling against right now.
He's obviously uncomfortable-he wasn't in the least bit anxious being lunged in the halter before I put his bridle on. He was just floated, so we can rule that out. It may be the bit-I don't know. The next piece of metal I'll put in his mouth will probably be a Myler bit (thank goodness they have a good resale value, considering the cost!). Until then, back to the English Hackamore we go. I know it's not a perfect piece of equipment, but for what we're doing, it works well, and he's happy in it.
Poor boy. I wish I had the budget and time to play around with all manner and size of bit, but I don't. I'll try the Myler when we can afford it (or get it for Christmas;) though a lightweight turnout sheet is next on the never ending list of Miles' needs at the moment. I'd also love to try a bitless bridle at some point.
Anyway, there's my quick riding update. The positive spin is that he was moving so, so well, and if this wasn't an issue it would've been one of our best rides yet, I think. While he was definitely a bit "up", he was also exceedingly good and never did anything silly or stupid. To sum up, even with our challenges I left the barn with a big stupid grin on my face.