Friday, March 1, 2013

1st March, 2013 Bridle Ways

Yesterday when I got Jessica ready to be ridden she threw her head about while I was trying to put the bridle on. This is something she has done from the outset, whether due to instinctive behaviour or because she has had things put in her mouth that she didn't like previously. Certainly it wasn't improving by itself and I felt I could no longer ignore it. Today we had a specific session aimed at asking her to accept the bit more calmly. Once it is in, she appears to be absolutely fine with it and is fairly still in her mouth and accepting of gentle pressure from the reins.

I started off with a head collar underneath so that I could ask her to stay if she decided to walk off but used clicker training to ask her to accept different stages of the bridle going on. I use a different technique to the traditional way of putting a bridle on because it is more gentle especially to the ears. Once Jessica had got this all in place, I then took the head collar off so that she had complete freedom to walk off if she wanted to - not only did she choose to stay, but she followed me around the field, onto the see-saw and then the trailer to ask me to put the bridle on again.

Here's a step by step guide to the various stages:

Step 1: Accepting the hand going between the ears.

Step 2: Crown piece held by right hand between the ears. Accepting the bit in the vicinity of her mouth.

Step 3: Bit accepted into the mouth and held in place

Step 4: Left ear pressed flat by a flat hand and posted under the crown piece

Step 5: Go to the other side and then press right ear flat under the crown piece

Step 6: Do up throat lash and check fitting of the bit - this could do with going up a hole or two.