Bitting the Nose

April 28, 2013

When I got Simon a little over two years ago, he still needed quite a bit of work on his turning and his stopping, although I quickly discovered he did not like tongue pressure.  So bitting him was quite a challenge.

When I say he needed work on turning, lets just say at his first competition we “bounced” off the fence to make some of our turns.  Yeah, a games pony needs to have good turns.

I assumed he would eventually move into a hackamore, since he was very responsive to nose pressure, but his turning was not up to par at that point.  I tried about a dozen bits, all with a mixed array of poor results.  He would stick his tongue out of his mouth, he would grab the bit and run, he stomped his feet and shook his head.  Typical unhappy behavior.

Eventually a friend suggested I try her Myler combination bit.  Those bits run in the $150 range, so it was not one I was just going to give a try, but since she had one I could pop in his mouth for a quick spin, I did.  And it was like magic.  He was instantly a new pony.  So I spent the cash and got one.

Since then Simon has come a long way.  He turns great, and he stops expertly.  So I decided to try the hackamore direction again.  I borrowed a basic round stiff leather side pull and an English jumping hackamore from a friend.  First I tried the side pull.  Simon loved it.  He stopped great, and was very happy to move out and pull up sharp again.  His turns were still good, but not as crisp as I have become accustomed to.  The next day I tried the English jumping hack.  It was even better.  Simon stopped so short I almost pitched over his head.  And his turns were spot on.

My thinking is that Simon likes nose pressure, but not tongue pressure.  I have been training him in the Myler, which works on both the nose and the tongue.  But there is a stopper on the bit to prevent it from giving a large amount of pressure.  So with the hackamore, I am able to give him a lot more pressure on his nose, which he likes, and none on his tongue, which he also likes.

I would also like to try the little S hack, which I think will work well on him as well.  The jumping hack is good, but tends to be a bit bulky, and “flaps”.  It also flips on occasion, when extreme use is used.  Also, with a pony like Simon, that likes to grab his reins in his mouth, he was a bit distracted trying to grab the metal sides of the hack.  This would not happen with the little S.

I may try him this weekend at our competition in the jumping hack.  Riding at home is one thing, but a competition will put it to the real test.  Ill see how wild I am feeling!

simon hack 01

simon hack 02

simon side pull

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