We were supposed to check out another horse on Sunday but one of my little guys got sick very late Saturday night. Poor fella woke up around midnight and was feeling very feverish, congested in his sinuses and his asthma was just starting to kick in. Took his temp. and it was 102.2, yikes! We set him up with children's Motrin and his nebulizer. He started to feel better around 1:00am and we all went back to sleep. Even though he was better in the morning and his fever was under control, I wasn't taking the poor guy anywhere so I had to cancel. The lady who owns this horse is just great! She has raised a few kids and was totally understanding. I'm actually looking forward to meeting her. every time we talk on the phone, I feel like we knew each other way back when!
After lunch, I went to care for the big D. We worked the same as we did on Saturday. This time while working him on the lunge, there was a jumping lesson going on in the polo arena. Would I have preferred a more quiet situation to work with this horse? Um, yes, but that is not happening, so off we go to the least muddy, farthest away spot and I cast him out and ask for a walk. He did okay. every time he heard the horse coming down the jump line he was seriously checking it out and once or twice he scooted and bucked but that was to be expected. All I kept asking for was the trot, he'd try to canter, I'd whoa to trot. And he did okay.
Once the lesson ended and I'd lunged a little on the other side, I mounted up. I tried something different. I kept thinking about Saturday's ride - how he would fall on the forehand and start to rush at the trot, then when I tried to take a feel of the bit and steady him, he would hold the bit and rush more. I had a feeling he was holding the bit because maybe his teeth haven't been checked in some time. I was using Monty's Sprenger D with the center lozenge link. It's not a harsh bit and he should have liked it but he seemed uncomfortable and was really biting the metal.
So I switched to this old Happy Mouth D with a roller peanut link in the center. It was a bit I bought used, and the plastic was tooth marked and chewed. Monty chewed it more and now there were some rough spots. Instead of throwing the bit out, I bought a roll of the Sealtex latex tape, like they use at the track to wrap bits with. I covered all the rough spots and added a little extra padding. Now the bit mouthpiece has a soft, chewy surface. Monty used to like it just for hacking about.
I wanted to ride and until I can discuss teeth with his owner I thought maybe he'd be happier with this. I may have been right. He was much happier under saddle. He was more soft in the bridle and actually didn't try to rush through the trot at all! He liked chewing on the soft rubber covering and the roller amused him too. We worked on shoulder ins and outs at the walk, and figure 8's at the trot. It was a short ride, because the 16 year old boy who keeps his horse in the annex barn came whizzing into the arena on his horse after I'd been riding about 20 minutes by myself. I figured better to end now, because it wasn't going to get better with this going on.
But it left me in a positive place. And that was what I have been wanting.