Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Double Double Toil and Trouble

We have been doing some constructive things with our time. The main one is working on getting a double bridle adjusted for me. And here's what I think of THAT...

It's not that I'm totally unfamiliar with a double bridle. I did a stint back when I was four years old when we were trying to decide my career path. Also, now and then we use a pelham, but we spend most of our time in a plain snaffle.

Since I'm a Saddlebred, Brita figures it would be best if I learn the finer points of a double in case anyone ever expects me to wear one. And since she has dreams of showing side saddle someday, a double bridle is really the most appropriate. Plus, at my age and stage she says a horse ought to know these things.

Fortunately, Brita, with her Saddlebred background, knows enough to lead the way on this one, even if she is a little out of practice. The first and most important part is getting bits that fit. This is a bit of a shopping challenge, because I have a wiiiiiiide head. Not a big head. A wiiiiiiide one. I now wear a 5 1/2" bit. All the bits in our double bridle bit collection are 5". In fact, I've outgrown all the bits we own except for my favorite racing Dee and a full cheek Waterford. So it was time to go shopping. You can't even buy a 5 1/2" bit in a Saddlebred store. But the dressage people make some.

So here I am in my new 5 1/2" weymouth bit. Brita says if we ever want to play Cowboy and buy a western bit (or cinch for that matter), we have to shop at the Big and Tall (draft horse tack) store. I am wiiiiide in more than one place.

The next challenge is getting them hung in the right place. Your bradoon (snaffle) must hang above the curb mouthpiece and wrinkle the sides of your mouth. The weymouth (curb) must hang below so as not to interfere or pinch against the other bit. But not so low as to clank against your teeth. It's easiest to adjust one bit at a time. That's why we have the bridle stripped down.

We started with the curb. The problem with the curb is that it tickles my whiskers. I'll need to shave. Sometimes it gives me sneezing fits and I have to stop and rub my face on something. Shaving helps this.

While we're making these adjustments, I spend most of my time trotting about with my curb rein buckled through the "oh shit" strap at the pommel of my bareback pad. I don't even get the snaffle rein yet because Brita does not want me to be able to pull against it to help pick that snaffle up into my teeth because I like to chomp on it.

I am spending a lot of time with the bits just hanging there so I can get accustomed to this mouthful. The next step will involve replacing the bareback pad with a surcingle and running long lines off of the snaffle so I can get used tot he feel of two bits working independently in my mouth.


Tricia said...

Thank you for the lesson, WPG! It was very informative. You are a very mature and wise horse, in addition to all your handsome charm! My horse friend, Sherman, requires a frequent shave to keep him from being tickled as well, but he's not nearly as wise as you! Good luck with your double bridle work; it sounds very exciting!

Bif said...

Wow, glad I never had to carry all of that. AND I get to keep my whiskers!

You're very handsome with your new double, WP. Take good care of your Brita.