Friday, February 24, 2012

The Lesson Here?

I talk about bitting a lot, I think.  But my somewhat-frequent bitting changes are rather validated, I think.  I work to find the bit that works best for each horse in a given situation, thereby keeping both the horse and rider happy.  And then when I find what works, I leave it.

I took Star on a trail ride last night (well, evening).  It was a rather impulsive thing - I was about to go to the arena when my already-mounted barnmate asked if I wanted to go on a short trail ride with her.  I thought for a moment and decided Star might like that.  I then thought for a moment more about changing her bridle from her snaffle (the same snaffle I've flatted her in since August, I might add!) into her ready-to-go bridle with the Kimberwicke.  And then I thought, "Nah, it will be fine."  So I mounted up and off we went.

The first half of the trail ride was rather uneventful; my barnmate was in front and Star was in back (Star is *not* brave).  And then we turned around.  And Star was in front.  And we were going home.  And Star had been that way before.  And I had *no* brakes and a suddenly brave horse.

Our fast(!) walk turned into a jog, which turned into a trot, which turned into a faster trot, which turned into a canter, which turned into me thinking, "Just don't hit any branches!"  That damn mare merrily cantered along the trail... and I was just along for the ride.  Until we got to the creek, that is.  I don't know that I've ever seen something induce such fast breaking in that mare.  If she were a car, her tires would have screeched as she slid to a halt.  And I, thankfully, halted with her, rather than continuing over her head.

I made my barnmate get back in front of us, and the rest of our ride home was uneventful.  And you know what?  I couldn't even be mad at the damn horse - lol!  Horses are just that - horses.  At the end of the day, no one was hurt, and nothing happened.  And I was the idiot who didn't heed my own warning and change the bridle.

The lesson here?  Listen to your gut.

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