One of my goals for the first half of the year is to figure out Peeb's bit. When I went to try him they had him a broken snaffle pelham with a bit converter and one rein. He was heavy in my hand, especially in downward transitions, but didn't protest my nervous picking at him. I told my trainer that it seemed like he didn't need that strong of a bit and I wanted to try him in some others.
When we brought him home I put him in a full cheek slow twist. Peebs can pop both shoulders and make circles much more egg shaped than round and the full cheek helped with our turning. The first few rides he seemed a bit pissed if I got too handsy when jumping and proved he is a master of the angry head toss. So I dropped him into a d-ring french link where he promptly ignored me. He wasn't bad or mean about it; he would just stick his little nose in the air and go "La la la la la, I can't hear you". So back to the slow twist we went.
Tuesday I set a few cross rails up with the plan to string together a little course. We started warming up by trotting one and the second time through Peebs flipped me the
bird and ran at the fence. I stopped him hard on the landing and came back to try again. This time he was even more upset and had an epic head flinging extravaganza while I tried not to be completely freaked out. Where the F had my easy lesson horse gone?! I pulled a lesson kid move by picking up a tiny little trot, two pointing while grabbing mane, and just pointed him at the jump. Again, a few strides out he flung his head and tried to canter it. We did manage a somewhat decent attempt at the jump after that, but both he and I were frazzled.
Obviously a lot has changed from his old home to now, and we all know trying to figure out what sets a horse off can be impossible sometimes, but to me Peebs' crankiness seemed mouth/bit related. He needs his teeth done ASAP, and will get them done once I get back from my vacation next week.
But he was so easy in the pelham when I tried him I thought what the hell and put him back in it, only with two reins instead of the bit converter. Voila, instant happy pony. He was still heavy in my hand but there was no head flinging. We tried jumping the same cross rails again yesterday and it was a night and day difference. Little lesson pony trot up to and away from it, then cantered it. The first time at the canter I saw the long spot and just supported him and he didn't care, second time I deliberately held for the short spot and again he didn't care. If switching bits caused that big of a change from one day to the next, then we'll be riding in the pelham from here on out! I'd rather work with a heavy on the forehand horse than one running at jumps with his head in the air. Happy Peebs means a happy Molly!