Saturday, July 18, 2009

Red Is Back to Normal . . .

. . . as in being his opinionated, nosy, expressive self.

Red Horse has no problem telling me exactly what he wants. Here he is saying, "but I don't WANT to go back to the general pasture yet!" He just really enjoys being futzed with - groomed, sprayed, massaged, fed crunchies, itchies scratched - what a life! He used to be so aloof, seeming to not understand why I must touch him so much. Now he enjoys the physical contact, and I think he really likes to be "listened" to. Of course, Red doesn't get to call the shots in our little herd, he would quickly become a very pushy guy. But there are times when he clearly asks for something, and there are times I want to show him I "hear" him.

He doesn't so much like our new Richard Shrake full cheek snaffle. Because Red is a good boy (mostly), he does open his mouth and accept the bit, but only after he holds his teeth closed for long enough to state he does not approve. This might seem strange, but I'm using it as a "time out". We have been starting each day bitless. If Red refuses a request, I ask and ask again, if I get a try we move on. If I get total refusal, we go back to the barn and switch to the snaffle. We have been able to stay bitless for three days.

The bit does make a huge difference in Red's responsiveness when I ask him to flex at his poll. In our Dr. Cooks bitless, he stiffens his neck and refuses to give. When I gently vibrate the reins, he just pulls with his nose. I am careful to give him a release when I gives a tiny bit. I find I am having to exert a lot of pressure to get his release. I've had a little success in hand, less when mounted. He does flex easily laterally. We are also using Dr. Lauren DeRock's protocal to build up Red's back muscles. I think we are making a bit of progress with the "upside down" syndrome.

What does Red think about his new snaffle bit?

Clear enough?

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