Wednesday, March 14, 2012

a bit of a difference

Shyloh's first ride of the week involved trying a new bit. Beth had mentioned she wanted to ride Shy with more contact and the snaffle shank bit she had was too much. That, along with the added pressure on the poll and under the chin with constant contact was too confusing for Shy. So I put the rolly D-ring bit that Terry let me borrow on Shy's bridle.
What a difference! And not in a good way. Shy did not like this bit at all. She was shaking her head and pulling on the bit. She was not relaxed at all! Shy was more on edge, a little spooky (one time, she jumped completely sideways), and just not happy. Beth hopped off and found an egg butt snaffle that she had in Shy's size and we tried that. So much better! Shy was able to relax in this bit and was a much better ride. Her mouth was softer and she was actually dripping saliva!
Beth has been working on getting Shy used to leg pressure, with she was not at all comfortable with when Beth started riding her. Shy also did some 5 and 10 meter circles to help with her bending and responding to the leg pressure. Even though  Shy's canter work has improved in three rides, Beth is putting that on hold, because I am not ready to canter anyway. With the change in bit, Shy was so amazing, we went outside!

Beth rode her on the grass behind the house, then decided to take her further, kind of along the path that we take for our trail walks. Shyloh is a completely different horse outside! She was so relaxed and sure of herself! We walked around, through puddles, through sticky mud, and into the pond pasture. Because I am not ready to gallop through open fields or ride off into the sunset, Beth does not want to teach Shy that it is okay to run outside yet, so we went at a nice walk around the pond. 
When we got back to the barn, I hopped on Shy! I am still amazed that when I get on her, my heart beats so fast. I sat on her a while, talking to Beth, working on my posture and legs, relaxing myself, slowing my heart rate, breathing, and just getting used to feeling Shy beneath me in a saddle. Shy had a hanging head and let me do my thing. I felt her stiffen and twitch and I asked Beth what was going on. Beth said she was falling asleep, her eyes were at half mast! Silly horse! Then we walked a few laps around the arena and all was good. I was amazed that I actually had to give her a little bump to get her going! Not more just thinking about a squeeze and Shy jerking into a walk. Wow! Short, successful rides are my key to gaining confidence with riding.
Shy and Casi
That was yesterday. Today, the vet came out for spring shots. Shy was a little jumpy when she got poked, but she did good. The vet felt her teeth and sure enough, a small hook on her right side. I got a list of horses at the barn who would like to be seen by the equine dentist, so I just have to set the appointment. The vet also said Shy is at a good weight, aside from the cresty neck and another fat pocket near her shoulder, he is able to feel her ribs. But I have to keep an eye on her because she does not need to gain anymore. A grazing muzzle is pretty much a must. Poor Shy. I talked to Beth a little bit about outside options if the grazing muzzle doesn't work for Shy or if she rips it off, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.
Shy, carrying my hoodie
Did I mention that it was awesome weather out today? I sat on the grass outside after the vet talking to Kathy while Shy and Casi grazed. 


  1. I love hearing about you and Shy's progress because it's right along the same rate we're making with Ernie. I do have one thought to share with you, have you thought about an egg butt french link snaffle? They have a flat part linking the two sides together and are the least severe of the snaffles (at least that I can remember). Ernst started out with a regular snaffle then switched to the french link and he responds so well to it. Its so gentle and no leverage to bang around in their mouthes. I also know Ernie salavates much more and doesn't lean on the bit at all.
    Just a thought :) I know all horses are different but I didn't know about the french link til not too long ago.
    Good job getting on her, if even for a short walk! Each step gets the two of you closer together and one step closer to galloping into the sunset :)

  2. Interesting that Shy let you know her opinion of the bits. That's a great ride outside. You both did really well through those sloppy, muddy places. And Shy is a beautiful color!

    1. I wish that was me on Shy, but it is the trainer/barn owner.
      Thanks for the compliment on her color :)

  3. I'd second the suggestion to try a french link. I like how they sit in a horse's mouth and there's less nutcracker action involved which is always a slight concern with snaffles. While they are generally mild, they can jab pretty nastily into a horse's palate due to the way they break at the joint. Double jointed bits help muchly.

    I went through a fair number of bits myself in trying to find the right one for Mitch. Eventually ended up with a Myler which gave me hello-sticker-shock but I love the barrel joint and the low port. Mitch adores it and salivates wonderfully in it.

  4. It's great to follow Shy's progress, and yours too.
    I'm a French link fan too, although mine has a lozenge in the middle, not a flat plate.
    Mind you, if Shy reacted so badly to the roller bit, maybe she's letting you know she doesn't like a lot of movement in her mouth, so a single jointed bit might be better for her.

    1. Thanks! That does make sense. We will see how the next ride goes when we start I in the egg butt snaffle.

  5. Yay for another ride!! You're getting there. Just take it slow. You're doing everything right. :D

    I'm glad you found a bit she likes and that the vet found the problem with her teeth. I wish I could get my dentist to do Chrome. I keep calling him and he won't call me back!!! Argh!! I had this problem when I got him gelded too. Grr.


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