Monday, June 17, 2019

Bit of Evolution

Our last couple of lessons have been less than stellar.  At first I attributed it to not jumping a whole lot and Peebs being excited to jump. He was wiggly and forward, but would take much offense if I used too much hand.  And by too much hand, I mean pretty much any hand. When we jumped if I had more than just the barest amount of contact he'd flip his head and scoot sideways. It got to the point where it felt like I couldn't touch his mouth and had to keep my hands super low.

Peebs puts up a lot of my amateur mistakes, but there's some things he had to have his way.  One of those is bits.  After trying countless bits when I first got him, it was decided that Peebs goes in a pelham.  It was a smooth, single jointed short shanked pelham and he has been super happy in that bit. It was the bit his previous owners used on him and they said he went well in it.  They weren't wrong.

angry Peebers

But it's been almost 3.5 years since I got him.  His mouth physically is much better. Three years of dentals every six months will see to that.  He's a lot more educated in the contact now, and while I'd like to think I'm a better rider in general, I know I'm better at riding him. And what I was feeling when jumping was not a happy Peebers. 

and yes, I got keepers for it
So I put him in a plain full cheek snaffle. Same mouth piece as the pelham and I hoped the full cheek would help with some of our turning issues.  I had tried him in a plain eggbutt snaffle when I first got him, but had zero braking ability when jumping.  I'm glad to say that now we have brakes! The first ride in the full cheek was great.  I tried a rollback that we had really struggled with in my lesson two days before and it was night and day difference.

I had a lesson Sunday morning, and was hoping to get my trainer's approval of the full cheek. She did note that he was heavier in my hand during our flat warm up and said I need to be cognizant of not letting him hang on my hand.  But part of that is still me learning how much leg and hand I need with the snaffle vs the pelham. Over fences she was sold.  I could actually take a feel of his mouth and ride him toward the fences, as opposed to being super soft and trying to not piss him off.  I could hold in the short three stride and he didn't flip his head and get pissy.  I could sit and push him around the turns without him trying to fly sideways. It was such an awesome feeling to finally be able to really ride my horse again! There's definitely some kinks to work out as far how much feel I need, and how much is too much, but I'm glad to finally ditch the double reins of the pelham!


  1. Awwww, yay!!! I love being able to downgrade in severity. Congrats on reaching that point with Peebs!

  2. I've been switching bits ALOT so far this summer, and it's always interesting to see what a big difference it really can make!

  3. Bits really are just an evolutionary thing, especially with horses that have personal growth to get through.