I can’t separate a horse's mind from his body. We do lots of physical therapies with the boys; more on these later. But since Horses Are The Sum of Their Parts™ , and we want to reclaim them as riding/performance horses, we ride them.
I started Bryan's New Life with a different bit. There are two bits I like for this sort of reclamation. The Myler Comfort Snaffle Combination bit is my favorite. The Myler mouthpiece protects the palate and the tongue and the bars. I like that it’s loose ringed and the horse can lift it comfortably with his tongue. I also like the combination hackamore aspect, as a horse that has given up on his mouth, through unskilled and inconsiderate riding, can gain confidence again when ridden well with this bit. The nose pressure can reduce the defensiveness/dullness/pain associated with bad riding and regain the horse’s understanding. It can help teach a horse to give, rather than pull. You can adjust the reins to have some leverage effect, you can use two reins, what have you. There is a lot of versatility, and it is very gentle.
The other bit I like is the Linda Tellington-Jones bit. You may not realize just how much it takes for a George Morris groupie like me to admit to liking anything about Linda TJ, but I’m a Big Girl with Healthy Self Esteem and I can attest that if you can get past talking to the fig trees and wondering if your cat is really your mother reincarnated, her work has real value.
had a mouth like a spoonbill. Low flat palate, skinny flat tongue, and wide but sharp bars. I didn’t think he could handle the LTJ bit, with its big port and roller. So the Myler it was. Bryan
He accepted it with his usual mindlessness. He probably would not have noticed if I had put barbed wire in his mouth, actually, he was so removed from his body. But the Myler fit well and didn’t poke his palate or hit his bars. I put the rein on the bottom ring to have a little leverage. I wanted him to feel the bend in his poll if possible. I also wanted to ride with no, zero, nada, zipperoonie contact. Some day I will vent about how deeply misunderstood are the words ‘contact’ and ‘connection’, but today will suffice to say we rode B with no contact at all.
And so, the work began.