April, and we’re still here!

Rains continued in California in March – wonderful green areas everywhere for longer than usual!

I’m happy to be at higher grounds and able to train at this barn, so we’ll stick around for a while.

upscale barn

Continuing on with barefoot on all four – very careful with any “off-road” outings.  Just a bit here and there.  Very happy with the bare feet!  Getting there has been easy so far.  Twist my arm a bit and a write-up on the transition is all yours!

riding out in the grass

That ride in a borrowed bridle.

About the earlier shout-out on the Verbindend:  She’s had it for several weeks now, and yep, absolutely it’s on the list of approved bits to show dressage in!

So, finally, there’s enough tack!

Said no one ever.

dressage bridles on tack wall
These are not all mine. Promise.

Verbindend Bit Tip!

A  shout out to this golden wonder.

My mare really likes the Salox material in this bit.  She needs a very slim bit for her tiny, tiny jaw space.  At 12mm and in this design, she seemed happier than in any other snaffle we’ve tried.  Of course it comes in thicker versions too.

salox material in bits

Soft, very lightweight double jointed loose ring snaffle with less tongue pressure than most.

Dressage On A Dime Tip:  Get it on Ebay! 🙂   Ordered from the UK, arrived impeccable, and a day early!  At a steal.

12 mm, 5 1/4′, Bridoon sized rings.

A little Verbindend love.

neue sheule bit love

Maybe She REALLY Hated That Bit

Bear with me in this long ramble.

I started Valiosa in a  super mild” Happy Mouth Shaped Mullen Mouth.  It was very thick – as she came along in the training it didn’t feel very responsive.

Happy Mouth Shaped Mullen Mouth Loose Ring BitLater, she went happily in two different Full Cheek bits.  The first one was sort of thick, the second one thinner, and with copper, once I figured out she prefers a thinner fit.  That’s her in a Full Cheek below.

keeping young horse happy in workOnce I thought it was a good time to leave that bit, I switched to a Baucher .  First it was a Single Jointed Happy Mouth Baucher.  “Icky-Thick”, she thought.

boucher bit fitted too highIn the Happy Mouth Baucher.

Then a Copper Baucher, below, but it still felt too thick somehow.  It’s hard to know, right, since they can’t tell you?  But I thought she looked like she wanted something slimmer in there 🙂  If that’s a look they can have.  Chewing is good, but there was a lot of it.

(Snore, this is WAY too much rambling about bits.  Booooring.  And passé.  OK to fall asleep…)

reasons to use the premium planIn the Copper Baucher.

Next up, the bit she’s had for some time now, a Korsteel French Link Baucher.  That type of middle link just because it was the only very thin bit available.  Yes, dressage legal.  And, even though it’s not copper she foams nicely in it.

dressage training level test 3She wears it very low, – if one hole higher it looks sort of “jammed” in there. 

Why am I telling you all this awful, regular every-day stuff?

Because right before putting my left leg in a walking cast for weeks, I thought a Loose Ring might be great to try with her now, with whichever benefits the Loose Ring offers vs. the more stable Baucher cheek piece.

(Because we’re insane dressage fanatics and everything has to always improve and become more comfortable, simultaneously.)

So, several weeks ago, she got switched from the very thin, Korsteel French Link Baucher to a regular Loose Ring Double Jointed snaffle in copper.

Nose band with flash and snaffle bridleA regular classic fit, looks just like this Aurigan Sprenger on La Prima above, although that one was too big for Valiosa. 

Valiosa’s bit – she has also worked in this bit before just fine, a little more than a year ago.  Here it is:

Double Jointed Loose Ring Bit ReviewThe double jointed loose ring copper snaffle with lozenge.

Also slim, mild, with a nice rounded lozenge.  (Dressage legal bits are never going to be anything else.)

Thought she’d be good with going back to that Loose Ring, and maybe prefer the middle piece to the French Link on the Baucher.   Really isn’t a big deal to switch around.  Besides, many horses like working in different bits.

We had two lovely rides with it.  Then, two rides where she had a complete melt down!

Spinning, stopping, balking in every way, reining back, bucking in place, and yes, threatening to maybe, just maybe, rear if pushed just a little more.

Came out of the blue.  All from the bit?  That’s a tough sell.

I adjusted the saddle, added half pad shims, talked with my saddle fitter, looked over her feed, removed shims, considered whether it could be because she’d had her hind shoes removed, added a flash.  Loosened the girth, removed the flash, smelled her breath, lowered my expectations.  Stared and listened to the way she chewed both grass and treats, raised my expectations.  Asked for energetic movement from the start, made sure to post light and high, and kept an extremely light contact.

Um, yeah no, still an angry little gray mare, and now it looks like she’s just learned a new evasion and it’s going to  be her go-to move…

Some light lunging to make sure she was forward and on the same page as me with the Te-rr-ott command, we tried it again on a new day.

Super wiggly…  These were the least awful screen shots…  Seriously.

horse popping out outside shoulderPopping out the outside shoulder.  Worse the other direction.

horse curling back and evading the bitAngry curling back.

horse falling out in cornersFolding up and running through the shoulder.

getting left behind when ridingSuddenly bursting forward, and still somehow managing to completely evade contact.  I’m left by myself on a different planet here.

I’m still not convinced this was all just because she went in a different snaffle…

Once we had a few decent minutes together, I ended it for the day.

riding straight without hind end falling in

In the short video she was opening her mouth a lot more than usual.   Which she can since the noseband is loose.

So, back to the Baucher!  Better now?  Took several days, but I think so…

It’s tricky sometimes – she can be a sensitive tulip, and sometimes completely dull, and lazy, all at the same time.  Once she comes up with a new evasion it sticks for a while.  Now we’re in this period of stopping and balking type of evasion.  For X amount of time.

But I think she just really HATED the very kind snaffle.  Why?!  Vet and dental check in 3 days!!

Feels so much better after venting about all this.  Thanks for hanging in there to the end 🙂

Hey, we’re on a roll with the blurry mobile video shots!  That kind of pictures will be all I’ve got to offer until the end of the moth 🙂  More next time.

Regular Programming Interrupted Again

Favorite time of the year.

The heat is gone.  Northern California Foothills seem new, all over again!   No Holidays to worry about just yet.  Love fall!

Temporary shut-down of activities – came down with a serious bug suddenly on Friday night.  Fever will knock anyone out…  Hopefully it’s short-lived for just a few days (?) and I’ll be back out to see the leaves start falling soon!

We're geeky and we know it!
We’re geeky and we know it!

The past few weeks I’ve experimented with changing Valiosa’s bit and bridle fit.  I’m sure you’ve been there too.

A quiet, responsive, and comfortable mouth fit with a dressage legal bit is the goal.  (No shortcuts.)  The KK Ultra, so popular with many dressage horses, is of course not the right fit for every horse…  And I refuse to do any silly Cranking-Down-On-The-Noseband on a young horse.

The Happy Mouth Loose Ring Shaped Mullen Snaffle (Now that’s a mouthful.) is too, hmmmm, straight.  Only use it occasionally for lunging her now.

The Loose Ring Double Jointed Cooper Snaffle with Shaped Link is too “busy” for her at this age it seems.

The Sprenger Double Jointed is sadly too large for her.  The Full Cheek Eggbutt Copper Double Jointed has worked the best so far, but the one I own has a fairly large lozenge in the middle.  Just experimenting if we can do even better.

Right now, testing out my Happy Mouth Boucher snaffle.  It’s single jointed, which is not my favorite, she chomps it to death at the end of the ride on a loose rein.  The plastic won’t last long like that.


Bit fit – personal for each horse, so it’s not always helpful to look at what other’s are using.  In less than 5 weeks Loomis Basin Equine will be out for a dental clinic.  This year I’ll make sure to ask  what the vet thinks of her palate height and tongue.

Feel free to chime in with your bit of success!

Now, just waiting for the fever to break.




Herman Sprenger KK bit on a budget

Horse & More Loose Ring Bit

How about a well made bit, very similar to Herm Sprenger Ultra KK bits, but at a reasonable price?

The Herm Sprenger series make wonderful bits and are designed very precisely. Which makes them come with a price tag most of us can’t shell out when trying out different bits for a young horse.

The Herm Sprenger KK Ultra Loose Ring Snaffle Bit goes for around $129 now.

This here, the Horse & More Loose Ring Bit, can be had for around $44.

Double Jointed Cooper Loose Ring bit

It’s produced by Horse & More, with the approval of Herm Sprenger.  Like the KK Ultra, it offers an anatomically shaped mouthpiece with a rotated center link which will lie smoothly across the tongue.

It’s just as well made, although the material is copper and not Aurigan, or the newer Sensogan.

Pictured here in an 16mm, it also comes as an 18 mm thickness.

 Dressage On A Dime says “Yes!”

Dressage On A Dime