Saturday, 27 April 2013

New bridle

So after hearing about the Micklem bridle from someone on the forum, I did a bit of research and decided it could be good for my lot. The Indian bosal things we usually use work fine on a totally loose rein but if you need to use any pressure they tighten round the nose and the horses shake their heads so it must be uncomfortable for them. The Micklem is designed to fit the shape of the horse's skull and avoid pressure on the delicate facial nerves, which is why it looks a bit weird.

But when you look at it with the skull in mind, it makes sense

And regular brides don't. For a start, if you use a noseband, it means there's a thinner bit of leather under the headpiece just where it can dig into the poll. A regular noseband lies over the area where the nerves run along the nose. And flash/crank nosebands, especially overtightened as you often see them, mean that the horse's skin is pressed against its molar teeth.

So I put the new purchase on the boy this morning. The leather looks great quality but it's really stiff, going to need a bit of soaping I think. I did the straps at the back up loosely and he seemed OK with it all (although not thrilled at having a bit back in). So we went for a little amble and it's so far so good.
He can certainly manage to eat with it on!
I'm not a fan of any kind of "strap the mouth shut" noseband, so I was not sure about the strap under the bit, but it just seems to support the bit really, I had it on the loosest hole
You also get some plastic bit clips that can be used to attach the bit to the D rings of the chin strap and apparently lift the bit in the mouth to relieve tongue pressure.
But one of the main reasons for buying it is that you can use it as a bitless bridle. I tried it in the mildest version of the 3 available options, the sidepull and that seemed to be fine, so I'll probably use it like that most of the time.
You also get extra straps so you can use it like the bosal, crossing under the chin, or like a Dr Cook type bridle, crossing under the whole head. And the D ring at the front means you can use it as a lungeing cavesson or headcollar too. Pretty well thought out piece of kit, I'd say.

I bought the largest size though and the strap under the cheek is a bit snug, so it wouldn't be big enough for a draft horse or cob with a big roman nose. I have read that people have had problems with them being too small and I can see why!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

More jumping.....

Lovely day out today, lots of and fun with the ponies from the riding club at a local showjumping competition. St Antoine sur l'Isle this time, just up the road from St Seurin, but no movie connections and no famous Olympic medal winning horses buried there.........

Ali rode Nikos first, the Fjord cross, but got eliminated as he took exception to the scary red jump (just as he'd done with the first girl to ride him) and he absolutely refused to entertain the idea of going over it.....

But the 80cm class with Nahiade went really well, yes she had a couple down, but the main thing is she was calm and listening and there wasn't any tanking off like last time (even though she was in a Dutch gag, apparently the bitless might not be enough to control her in a public situation, they are more enlightened than most at our club - but bitless competing is still a step too far ). And they came second :-)

 Spent a bit of time grazing Nahiade in hand at lunchtime and discovered that she likes Gingernuts, curry flavoured crisps and beer
   The best round I saw all day was by Carole, Ali's instructor, on one of the livery horses Girlache, who had had a bad experience out jumping previously and was seriously scared at first, rearing and backing off, and she just sat there calmly and gave him the confidence to go and do the round, which he did, getting better and better as he went on

 Nice venue but it was painfully obvious that the "home team" was rather too familiar with the courses and had been so well drilled so they pretty much swept the board.... 

And why do they feel the need to stick tiny kids (wearing spurs) on huge horses (wearing gag bits) all the time over here?

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Spring has sprung

Finally looks like spring has arrived with some decent weather. Haven't been doing an awful lot with the horses recently, been busy with the 5x50 Challenge. I got a nice fundraiser's t-shirt from World Horse Welfare in the post today so I had to get out there with it on for a picture.....

Gandalf is still off ridden work so gets taken along for a drag most days. If he's really lucky he gets the SNO on the end of his lead rope, as he knows he can easily drag her across to the nearest patch of grass. She doesn't half tell him off for it though :-)

He can't be feeling as bad as he was though since this morning, when we put Sky and Kinna in the neighbour's field for a bit of grass before we went out, he ran off up the field bucking in protest at being left behind........the girls were very happy to see some green stuff.

 Not sure if I should let G have too much of it though, so he's restricted to a couple of hours a day to start with.

Also got a new fleece today with the forum logo on it, it's navy blue so those white horse hairs show up a treat!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Getting some exercise

So in an effort to keep my fat old carcass going as long as possible I have signed up for the 5x50 Challenge again this year. This time I am raising money for World Horse Welfare. Day 12 today and I'll be getting out on my bike shortly......

At the same time, Gandalf has had his yearly MOT from the osteopath and his sciatica is flaring up again so he has to go out for exercise in hand and not be ridden. All this takes time, so yesterday I decided to see if I could cheat......and it turns out the old boy is fine about it.

But he needs to trot to keep up, which he's not supposed to do too much of, so Ali and I take it in turns to lead him.

So no riding for me for a while, just cycling and walking. The osteo is coming back next week to give the girls a going over so we'll all be on foot for a while!