May 17, 2012


Bryan truly lived in his own world. He wasn’t remotely aggressive. He wasn’t even particularly ill-mannered. He just ‘wasn’t there’. I had never seen a horse like that and of course took it as a personal challenge. I wanted to get him to realize that things had cause and effect. This meant doing things in new ways. I felt like Annie Sullivan, spelling meaningless shapes in to Helen's hand. Would any of it connect?

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.