But when your Paddington blows through strongest snaffle and keeps on trucking at approximately mach one-Haffie, you pull out the only “big gun” you have – a kimberwicke that we used for foxhunting Oberon.
Schnoz pictures are surprisingly difficult when the Haffingon thinks you have treats.
NOTE: Just because Paddy has tiny cute earz does not mean he has a tiny cute nose. Bo’s SIX INCH kimberwick fits him fine. Not even joking.
So yeah. I ride dressage in a kimberwicke. My dressage instructor isn’t too excited about this because it’s not legal, but she understands why I use it. If I use a softer bit, we get into a tug-of-war where he ignores me until I have to use huge aids to get him to listen. The nice thing about the kimberwicke is that I can be very soft with my aids and get a response.
Obviously this is not where I want to be long-term. We need to work on Paddy’s softness and attention to aids so that we can back off to something more reasonable. Of course, for the near term, I need to find a bit that is dressage-legal but still gives me some hope of keeping Mr. Paddykins in the arena. Right now I’m trying a baucher, which seems to get his attention better. My trainer suggested trying a Myler baucher, since it’s a thinner bit and has the tongue relief, so I’ve got that on order. I don’t like using a flash, but that’s another option I’m willing to consider if it will allow me to use softer aids.
I feel of like I’m sticking a band-aid on a known problem – throw in a stronger bit and crank his mouth shut so he can’t avoid aids – but what else do you do with a horse that literally blows through your strongest aids? My goal here is to get some sort of baseline so that he knows when I half-halt, I mean business. Then I can half-halt more and more quietly until I’m barely asking at all. I’m incorporating voice aids too, working on the longe line, so that if I say “easy” under saddle, he slows down a bit. Hopefully between the two we’ll be in a much different place 6 months or a year on down the road.
Have you experimented with bits? What works best for your horse?