it’s the little things

that can just derail your ENTIRE RIDE.  These little things.  These tiny, irritatingly significant little things.

I’ve mentioned that Murray and I are seeking a new bit for dressage.  The D-rings might be poking him, he doesn’t really seek out the contact, he occasionally violently inverts himself… these things happen.  I’m okay with looking for a new bit.  It beats looking for a new saddle.
Me after five minutes saddle shopping

A lot of horses at our barn love the Stubben EZ Control, in both D- and loose-ring versions.  They love them!  They go insanely well in them!  They are made for princesses!!!!!  So I borrowed one and tried it.  And at first, I kinda hated it. I was deeply suspicious.  I did not like.

So there was that.  But I know I’m supposed to give a bit a few rides to get used to it, so I rode in it again.  And it was okay, so I thought, sure! Let’s give it the full two weeks.  Today, when I went to bridle Mr. Princess I got full on teeth-squeezed-shut-lips-pinched-closed-run-away-from-the-bridle antics.  We had to discuss.  I got the suspicion that Murray really wasn’t a fan of this bit either.

(You should know that this is not intended, in any way to disparage Stubben or their bits.  I know several horses who genuinely love that bit.  Mine just turns out not to be one of them. I also love their leatherwork and saddles. This is not a story about Stubben, it’s a story about princess creatures.)

My hesitation with this bit was that riding in it just didn’t feel quite right.  It was super hard for me to pin down.  Nothing I asked for was challenging, but nothing was right either.  I did some counter canter loops and Murray did flying changes instead.  I asked him for a half halt and to sit down at the canter and got no response.  I asked him to come through at the canter and he was like, “meh, don’t gotta.”

I was seriously losing my absolute mind over it before I realised it.  I did not understand how I could have gone from “Everything is great! I had a fantastic dressage lesson tackling new, challenging concepts with my trainer!” to “My horse has lost all ability to dressage hahahaha *sobs*”  And then I realised.  Murray was not listening to a single goddamn thing I was trying to communicate to him through my hands.

He is a soft horse.  I try my hardest to be an equally soft rider.  I don’t think of the bit as some kind of punishment or torture device or evil thing that I put in his mouth — it’s there for communication.  But we were not communicating.  At least, not communicating the way I had become accustomed to (and, I would like to say, Murray if you are reading this, the way you have trained me to communicate with you.)

Something about the action of the bit did one of the following:
a) completely translated my half halts to another language that Murray does not speak
b) suggested to Murray that dressage schooling now means “do whatever you want time!”
c) allowed Murray to hear my half halts but run through them because he’s bigger than a tiny piece of metal
d) all of the above

So we’re out of the EZ control.  I took it off right after our ride.  I have some more ideas, got some advice from a Tack Ho, and also offers from the ever-lovely Peony for loans.

But isn’t it funny how this one, tiny piece of metal can completely unhinge my ride?  Like one tiny thing can make everything so not right?  Yeah, Murray ain’t the only princess in this equation.

All credit for gif finding goes to my boyfriend, who filters the filtered internet to find perfect things just for me.

12 thoughts on “it’s the little things”

  1. Bits are hard. My persnickety tbs over the years have done well with the hs kk ultra bits. The price tag is painful, but loose rings come up used pretty frequently.


  2. Ughhh bitting is no fun! Is there a loose ring version of your dee ring that you could try? Poor princess Murray. But yah at least you’re not looking for a new saddle!


  3. Bits are tricky. Nibbles didn’t like the D-ring or eggbutt but seems to really love a fulmer! It’s dressage legal. Don’t give up hope! Btw, excellent gif usage. We are not worthy.


  4. Seriously there needs to be an affordable rent-a-bit type service where you can try out all sorts of bits without the headache of buying, returning, shipping.


  5. Good luck with the bit! Gina goes exactly the same in pretty much every bit I’ve stuck in her mouth. Moe’s pretty much the same, although he prefers a fixed cheek like a D-ring or eggbutt to a loose ring.

    So much of bitting seems to be dependent on the shape of the horse’s mouth- is his tongue fat? His palate low? etc

    We sell the shit out of Neue Schule bits at work, which are expensive, but extremely well liked by the dressage crowd. If you need the hookup, you know where to find me. 😛


  6. The Moody Mare recently told me about the magic that is bit rental services. Yes, apparently this exists. Equestrian Collections ($15 rental fee for ANY Myler) or Mary’s Tack & Feed ($10 fee for certain Myler, Herm Sprenger, Mikmar, and Stubben bits). My mule hates all bits so I cannot offer any useful advice. I will say I’ve had better luck with copper/brass bits than chrome. I always thought it was marketing bs, but we have had less abject hatred with the colored metals.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve actually never had a big saddle shopping excursion so to me bits are the WORST. Sometimes I wonder if there are just too many options – I think that’s part of what makes it so frustrating.


  8. Pretty Pretty Princess Pig went well in the double jointed with a lozenge eggbutt snaffle.

    Maybe find the version of your D in an eggbutt? Just take a way the points, you know?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s