Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Educating Yalla! Bridle time- almost! and more

The weather has been so nice this week that last night I decided to go for a ride after I came home from work. After a quick dinner, I grabbed the snaffle side-pull bridle and a curry comb and went out to see my herd. Of course, the two "people hogs", Annie and Yalla!, came right up to me and demanded to be brushed, while Scout and Nadia were kept away from me. Since I was brushing them with the bridle slung over my shoulder, I decided to see what Yalla! would do with a bit in her mouth.

I brought the bridle up to her face and put the reins over her head. No problem. Then, holding the bit in my fingers like I always do, I tried to pry her mouth open while inserting the bit.
She would not open her mouth!
No way!!
Her teeth were locked down. Tight.
I took the bridle away and pulled her lips open to look at her teeth. Oh my!!
She is missing a bottom tooth and she has two top teeth growing in above her baby front teeth. No wonder she didn't like the bit banging on her teeth! I wouldn't either!
Do you know how hard it is to open a horse's lips with one hand while taking a photo with the other? You really should try it sometime!
Check out her poor mouth!

But, I still wanted to see what she'd look like in a bridle. So, I put the reins back over her head and pulled the headstall back over her ears, only I let the snaffle bit hang underneath her chin, like a curb chain, with the noseband on top of her nose. The bridle is adjusted to fit both Scout and Annie perfectly but, oh my!, Yalla! has such a tiny head that it hung way down on her nose. Awwww, she still looks so cute! Don't ya think so?
Almost like a full grown horsie!!

Well, since she was bridled, sort of, I decided to lead her around the arena for a lesson, using reins. It's only a few more months before I will be "backing" her for the first time. Of course, at this same time, my son drove the car over to the barn and began unloading some bags of feed for me. And, it was feeding time! But that didn't seem to bother her. However, he also let Skyy and Sandy run around. And boy, did they! They ran all over the arena and the neighboring fields and even behind Yalla!, who wheeled and kicked at them. She hasn't been led around for a while and she was certainly acting fresh. I worried as she fidgeted that she'd hurt me but I realized that I would need to get her under complete control and calm in any circumstance if I was going to be riding her. I could see that she was calming down in spite of all the canine commotion. Every time she fussed or jumped, I'd circle her back. I noticed how she was spooking off to the side and wondered if that is what she'd do under saddle. We worked on whoa, back, and walk. I stood on both sides of her and worked her in both directions. I could tell she was "getting it" because I'd say whoa and then pull on the reins until soon I wasn't even pulling to stop her. Same thing with backing up. I was glad to see that she was relearning the voice commands. This will be a big help when I first ride her because then she will move out from the walk command and stop on the whoa command.

Once, Annie suddenly came running up to us and then dashed back to the barn as if to taunt Yalla!, or plead with me to let Yalla! go and feed them all their dinner. Naughty Annie!!! Thankfully, Yalla! didn't bolt. She was really calming down by now even though the dogs were still scurrying around us. We walked around a few more minutes and then we walked over to the other horses. I turned her loose. She stayed right with me and I put the bridle back on, sans bit, and took it back off. I still can't believe she's going to be three in a few months! She's smaller than I expected at her age but Scout didn't mature until his fourth year so I keep hoping for a growth spurt.

I tried to pull her front teeth but they are still in pretty tight. I'm going to keep checking on them and maybe I'll have some more horse teeth to add to my collection. I got the molars from one of my youngsters when, during a vet check, they were loose and the doctor pulled them out.  I guess that's why she was grabbing the handle of the curry and biting down on it while I was brushing her.

I never did make my ride last night but I did tonight! After currying out all the loose hair and picking his feet, I rode Scout with the same bridle I used on Yalla! last night. The sidepull is my favorite bit to use on both Scout and Annie because it's a ringed snaffle with a rawhide noseband. I cover the noseband with fleece so it's not so harsh and I find that they respond to the lightest touch on the reins because of the noseband reinforcement. I'm sure both of them would be ideal candidates for bitless bridles. I often ride Annie in a halter because she tends to get worked up when she carries a bit.

I put on a helmet and rode bareback. He was his usual awesome self and we walked, trotted and loped around the arena. He never even spooked as we rode past bushes and flushed out little birds with every step. I took him into a faster trot and sat him easily. The only time he got worked up was when I asked him to trot tight circles around three tires placed only a couple of yards apart. He is hard to turn to the right just as he refuses to strike up the right lead unless he's running in a field or taking a jump. He leans out rather than bending. I really, really need to work him on this because it does get old. Here's my view from the top of Scout's back in all his shagginess and a not-so-focused side view.

Hopefully, tomorrow night will be Annie's turn for a ride. I put the bridle on her a couple of times tonight just so she wouldn't feel left out. My daughter has been riding shaggy, old Nadia in the afternoons. Poor thing, I brushed her again tonight and took off lots and lots more hair. She always looks her worst in the spring. And the ground looks like we've had a snowstorm. 

But, now it's time for me to use nasal spray and antihistamines. I'm actually allergic to horses...Goodnight!


fernvalley01 said...

Baby's teething can m be an issue, but it is nice that you still got to work with her a bit

Reddunappy said...

Awe babies!
Its been 10 years! since I started my last and easiest!!
I cant believe Emma is 12!

She will most likely be my last one too.

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Good for you. I have to admit I would love to have a young horse to start, but I'm too old to have that young a horse.


Paint Girl said...

That is so great that Yalla! accepted the bit so well. I will soon be doing the same with Chance, as soon as we get some decent weather around here!

achieve1dream said...

Yep, Chrome's teeth look like that too. Well he's a little further along than she is. Unfortunately on of his caps won't come off. I didn't even think of trying to pull it . . . hmm. Since the stupid equine dentist won't call me back I might just have to try it.

Yalla! did so awesome with the bridle. She's such a smart girl. :D