If you know BG then you know that he frets, he worries, he tucks his head and becomes overbent (like a piece of spaghetti) and toys with the bit, especially if he thinks he has done wrong or is nervous about what you are doing. This comes from his previous training and in the past I’ve had success in training out most of the behavior – however, he has regressed so I am looking for new ideas on how to deal with it.
Buying the sidepull I want is out of the question right now – money is so tight that even blood isn’t coming from the stone at this point. So I have been improvising and it has been interesting.
I leave the halter on and attach an extra pair of reins to the side rings (this pair is brown). I put on his dressage bridle, with the noseband removed, and with it’s reins (this pair is black). This allows me to pull on the halter rein as hard as I want and it has no effect on his mouth.
It can be hard to keep BG on track, and though I would LOVE for him to be sensitive to my every whim and desire, he is rather… well… not so much. With the halter set up I can ask with a larger gesture – and what has been interesting is that he is learning that since it doesn’t effect his mouth – he doesn’t have to get nervous about the bit.
The bit remains because, quite frankly, this is not a horse, even crippled, that I would ride without some real brakes. He IS a thoroughbred and bred to race after all.
A real interesting result was that today, after riding with only the halter reins, I picked up the bit reins, and using them artificially high and a small tug, he gave me the Ramener for the very first time! He shifted his weight back without taking a backward step, and raised his neck from the mane, bringing his head in perfectly!
I practically fell out of the saddle I was so surprised!