Today is a beautiful day to start something new: giving to the bit. I don't believe Cookie was ever trained to take a bit, as she chews it and pushes against it. So I took my bareback pad out and tacked her up. I have the type of pad that uses a western cinch so this was relatively easy. I bitted her up with a D-ring snaffle and some soft reins. They have a little give in them when pulled on. I took the left rein and tied it to the top of the cinch on the left side pulling it just slightly so that Cookie flexed at the poll, but not so tight that she couldn't get any relief. I then did the same thing for the right side. I put her halter on over the bridle so I could lunge her without "pulling" on the bridle or reins.
When starting this exercise, it's best not to go over 15 minutes. You want them to get the idea to flex at the poll and give to the bit, but you also don't want neck cramps either.
I worked her both ways at the walk and trot. Going back and forth between transitions so she would have to use that flex and feel the bit between both. We worked for about 10 minutes with the reins at the cinch. Then during our break I took the reins and tied them to the handle of the bareback pad at about the same distance they were before. This difference in angle will help her to flex also, however the difference comes when she "pushes" against it. She has the tendency to push her nose to the ground instead of give to the bit at this angle which would be where my hands are when riding.
We then worked both directions at this new angle for 5 minutes going through both the walk and trot several times. Almost as if on cue she did try to push her nose to the ground several times and she would bring her head back up to release the pressure.
I kept the whole session short this morning due to the heat and opted to give her a bath. I mixed some Absorbine in with her shampoo to rejuvenate and relax her while getting her clean. She now smells like burnt rubber. lol In which it hasn't kept the flies away at all. She enjoyed her bath for the most part falling asleep towards the end of it.
We'll stay on this training path until she easily gives to the bit rather than fight it. This will also help her to collect herself, bringing her hind end under her, which will aid her in finding her balance without leaning on the lunge lead.
*Note* I hosed out her feet and treated the thrush. We're expecting more rain over the weekend. It's possibly one of the hardest things to treat during rainy weather, but I am determined to get rid of this thrush and heal her foot up. She doesn't like her fly mask, but is tolerating it. She has managed to rub her face on each side of her cheek so there's no more hair there and she's shedding again over her rump and sides. I've put her back on the alfalfa, DE and vitamins. I'm thinking about trying some feed through fly control also, but I am currently doing more research about it first.
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