Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mud Chop and Hack Out.

I was tired of muddy feet so yesterday I did what I refer to as a "mud chop." It's a rough clip job just to get rid of the long mud-collecting hair around the pasterns and ankles. I didn't take a picture to protect Junior from embarrassment. When I say rough I mean ROUGH. No real regard for evenness, no attention to blending, nothing. It's nothing I won't be able to fix when we get ready for the first show, but it's not pretty right now. Function does not always equal fashion in my book, especially when I'm working with a POS clipper. I didn't spend the cash to buy the Oster A5 I wanted and part of me wishes I did. KAT only charges $5 to clip for a show so it's fine that I don't have a super clipper, but the one I have is not great. I think it would be best for quick touch-ups at shows, but it heats up quickly, clogs quickly, and only works as a cordless for about 10 minutes, if that. In hindsight I should have kept the cord on it at all times and saved the battery longevity, but instead I roached him with it a few times. The combination of a weak motor, a dullish blade, and a short cord make long clip jobs difficult. But the mud chop is done and KAT will clean up my mess at the end of April, which I'm sure she will appreciate.

I took advantage of the sunny warm weekend (high 60's!) by turning the horses out and riding around outside both days. I didn't ride in the outdoor because we still don't have shoes on and the footing out there is a bit rough. We rode around the whole perimeter of the farm today. Not the most exciting trail ride, but it's better than rail work. It did get a bit exciting today though.

As we were coming along the back part of the property (shortly after I took the picture) we came upon the big manure pile area and it was all torn up with piles of dirt and tire marks and a huge puddle and for some reason all of that looked like scary horse-eating things. So we did some dancing around and snorting and I hung on and hoped he didn't dump me in the puddle. Silly boy. I would have taken a picture of the scary stuff for you, but holding my iPhone out over a puddle with a jumpy horse underneath me didn't seem worth it. Sorry. We got past it just fine and I was proud of him for (mostly) keeping his head and proud of myself for keeping my head AND my seat. It wasn't so long ago that him getting uppity would have freaked me out something fierce. I still didn't ENJOY the spook, but when it was over it was over and we moved on with our ride.

You might have noticed the English bridle in the picture. We've put our English saddle back on for a while. The transition is going much better than it did last spring when I felt like I was perched on top of the horse like a jockey. We're also trying a new bit. It's this one, a Myler dee snaffle with a curb chain. He seems to be going well in it. He's reaching down for it and is responsive when I ask him to raise a shoulder. I'm still confused about which is "worse" (if there is such a thing) between tongue pressure and bar pressure. It seems the lower level/training bits have more tongue pressure, and the level 2-3/finished horse bits have more bar pressure. He does do better when he has a curb chain than he does in a regular snaffle. A plain snaffle sends his nose up in the air and his back hallowed out. I'll continue to play around and see if we find something that he seems most comfortable in. It's a little tough when I don't have unlimited funds to buy a whole bunch of bits, though. This one is Max's, but he's never used it. I don't want to use a more severe bit than necessary, but he is not very sensitive in the mouth. We'll find it eventually.


  1. Yep, I'm the same way on bits. Everyone seems to say the snaffles are so much gentler but my older gelding hated snaffles and we just switched my mare over to a kimberwicke and she seems much happier with that as well. I think as long as you aren't slamming them in the mouth as my mare was a couple homes ago with a curb bit that the bar pressure is more acceptable for many horses.

  2. That's why I like the french link snaffle because it relieves pressure on the bars. I tried a whole bunch of bits out on Lilly and when I switched her to the french link, the acceptance was amazing. Lilly's bit is also curved rather than straight across, so it gives her tongue more room and doesn't pinch. It's quite mild also...

    Each horse is so different and it takes a while to find something that really works, but there's my sales pitch for the french link snaffle. :)

    Looks like you had a nice ride!

  3. I was giggling about your clip job... For some reason Tiny gets these SUPER long hairs on her legs (seriously, I could braid them!) and I often do the "chop" when I am sick of dealing with them. Too funny!

  4. Yep, that's the same bit we use. No curb chain, though, as it's not really effective on a snaffle. Any bit can be harsh, some more than others. But it's all about the release, not the severity of the bit.

    Ever read this:

    It's a good read. Nothing about bits, but about vertical flexion, which you should be able to do regardless of what bit you use.