A Bit of a Milestone

In my last lesson with Liz, I did something I’ve never done before.  I’m sure it wouldn’t be considered a major accomplishment in most circles, but I’ve never thought too much about most circles, so that’s okay. I am going to report this.

I – for the first time in my life – got a horse to take the bit.  I’m pretty sure that’s the proper way to say this. If not, then: I put a bit in the horse’s mouth and she didn’t spit it out.  Since this is the first time I’ve ever tried this, I now have a perfect record in this category of equestrian skills.

It was Goldie. Liz slipped the bridle on her and then demonstrated how to put the bit in. Goldie took it without a fuss. Then Liz, in the Now You Try thing she does, had me return the demonstration. I put the bridle over Goldie’s head easily enough and then stood there with the bit in my hand.

“Is there a trick to this, Liz?”  Whenever I approach a horse’s mouth with anything, I want to be sure about the tricks.

“No, not really. You just sort of…” and she made a slight forward motion with her hand.

I’m not even sure if Liz watched as I made my attempt. I was completely focused on the bit, the horse’s mouth and my hand – the three principal elements of bit installment.  Liz may have figured it wasn’t going to be a problem.

It wasn’t the physics of it that made me hesitate. It was just the idea that Goldie or any other horse would allow this.  Where in nature do horses put metal objects in their mouths? How do we convince them that this is a good idea? They must know it’s not going to taste good.

Why do horses put up with all of our nonsense?

As unnatural as the whole project seemed, I went ahead and tried anyway.  I was careful not to allow any fingers to accompany the bit into Goldie’s mouth, lest the horse mistake them as my way of making these things taste better.  I know they like salt.

A little push and Goldie took the bit without a problem. I felt this weird mixture of guilt and pride. But she seemed fine and it was time to get on with our lesson.

So, another milestone in my equestrian career.  Maybe a “milepebble”.  I get the sense that my road to equestrian excellence will be paved with such pebbles.

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8 thoughts on “A Bit of a Milestone

  1. Now try with a 17hh+, with his mouth naturally sitting at around 5 feet and the top of his head around 6.5 feet off the ground. Of course he doesn’t want the bit and raises his head to around 7.5 feet …. Doing anything properly with Gimme A Dream requires a mounting block, staging, a handy roof top or even a bucket, if he is in a good mood. Occasionally he does lower his head but then expect a rare treat, lol.

  2. :) You could try going bitless Bob, my riding school did & so did I, one of the best things we’ve done for our horses. Go with a kind version though – Dr Cooks, Lightrider, etc.

    • That’s an interesting idea, Clancy. I’m going to mention it to Karin and see what she says. I should probably do a little research first, though. Take her by suprise with some actual knowledge.

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