Thursday, May 22, 2008

Possibly upgrading Panama's bit

My horse has had a lot of trouble following directions lately, and my trainer is advising switching to a more aggressive bit.

Right now, Panama's bit is nothing more than a flexible rubber bar through his mouth. I bought that bit for him when we were first beginning to ground drive him. I like the idea of using the gentlest possible bit and keeping his mouth sensitive, but Leslie thinks we may need to upgrade to a tougher bit for a few weeks to remind him to listen.

I'm a little reluctant to take my trainer's advice on this matter, though I am still considering it. I feel like a great deal of the problem right now is that the new green grass in the pasture has all the horses acting crazy. I guess new spring grass tends to be really rich, and is apparently as compelling to a horse as crack is to an addict. Last week when Panama was acting up for Leslie, she was riding him through all that lucious green grass — which, as the barn owner says, is probably like making us walk through a field of chocolate chip cookies and not letting us eat them. And yesterday during my horseback riding lesson, I think Panama was distracted by the fact that he could see the rest of the herd grazing.

I am going to stall on getting a more aggressive bit for at least a few days. (That won't be difficult, actually, considering how busy I am this week.) I'll get in a couple of more practice sessions and maybe another lesson, and then we'll see how Panama is doing. Maybe if he remembers that he has a brain we won't have to upgrade the bit after all.

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