Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Be Wary of Changes in Tack

After installing two new stiff leather latigos and a newfangled cinch onto my old saddle, I asked my gelding Bombay if he would help me break it in. I was very careful and gentle when tightening the cinch and mounting, because of the possibility that the new cinch and hard leather straps might pinch or bind my horse.

Bombay didn't seem to be bothered by the different saddle and new parts, but he was throwing his head around a lot. When we moved up to the trot, he jigged and threw his head in circles. I pulsed each rein to get him to settle his head, but that just made it worse.

Bombay kept turning to the center of the round pen, stopping, and then poking my foot with his nose to tell me to get off. He is normally a well behaved horse, so I knew something must be wrong with the tack. I dismounted, removed his bridle and found this...


See the area near his lip where the fur rubbed off? I realized that the problem wasn't any new tack that I added, but old tack that I took away. I have always ridden Bombay with a cavesson noseband because my trainer felt he needed it to keep his mouth quiet and prevent him from pulling on the reins. However, he's been such a good boy that I have been riding him with less and less tack to give him a little more freedom. What I didn't realize was that the cavesson was keeping the cheek ring of his snaffle bit from rubbing the sides of his face. The bit that I use is top of the line, so its quality should not be an issue. I suspect that I need to re-examine the fit and the locations within the sub-divided rings where the bridle and reins are hooked up. I also plan to keep the cavesson on him for protection and support in the future. Bitless bridles are another option, as well.

6 comments:

Donna L. said...

How will the horse take the bit in his teeth and run away with the heroine in romance novels?

Also, isn't the bitless bridle just another hackamore?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

donna -- Good one. I haven't used either a bitless bridle or a hackamore myself. I'm sure there are some differences among the similarities.

Flying Lily said...

I had this same kind of pinch/rub on my Johnnie and discovered it was the joint in the eggbutt snaffle that could catch on his skin. When not in use, the joint looked smooth and harmless, but somehow it caught him in motion. I went to a loose-ring snaffle bit and the problem never came back.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lily - Thanks for that info. I'll take a look at where the joint lies and see if it matches up with his boo boo.

coymackerel said...

Good idea to check the fit of the tack - I read today that the inside of a horse's mouth flattens out as they age so even a bit that fits well at one stage of life may become uncomfortable.

I have a Freedom Bridle from Moss Rock Endurance that you can borrow to try if you like. You can see pics and read about it at http://www.horsegroomingsupplies.com/horse-forums/my-new-moss-rock-endurance-bitless-freedom-194554.html

I'm not using it at the moment as my horse is where yours used to be and needs a bit/cavesson for now.

Enjoy reading your blog!

Pony Girl said...

Good detective work! Sometimes it is the simplest of things that upset or cause discomfort to our horses. Usually it is something we did or can fix, lol! And no, I have not seen and I'm not that familiar with Roy Yates. The $150 to ride in a clinic sounds fair, but the $50 just to watch sounds kind of steep? My Parelli ticket was only $25, which I thought was reasonable.