Has Bingo Turned the Corner?

Bingo has been very good, a statement that I despaired of making when I started riding him.

Bingo was used for two birthday parties, two days in a row. He was ridden by girls, I got the impression that not all the girls were Debbie's students, and did walk and trot. He behaved, he did not scare the children, and Debbie is very pleased with him.

Not only that, but Bingo has also decided that even if he was ridden by someone else, that my aids actually mean something. I no longer seem to have to retrain him almost from start every time someone else rides him. He remembers what I've taught him. He is finally becoming a respectable member of Debbie's team. Yes, someone else will have to school him at the canter before the next riding camp, I just do not have the physical energy necessary to do that work. But now Bingo is showing promise as a usable lesson horse even though right now it is just at the walk and trot.

Of course, after being ridden by me once or twice a week, being made to WORK (even though it is mainly at the walk), and having to carry my adult weight around, Bingo may have decided that carrying light weight kids around that do not expect him to walk faster is easy. He can poke around the ring for an hour, no big deal.

I still have work to do for halting. When I give the rein aid Bingo waits to react until he is SURE that I want him to stop. This probably comes from the occasional meaningless bumps on the bit that beginning riders are prone to. My big hope, when Debbie uses him for other riders, is that he will decide that the double bridle is a reliable indication that MY rules are in operation instead of the beginning rider rules that are in effect with just a snaffle in his mouth. I do have the security of knowing that no one else will use a double bridle on him, the stable does not own a double bridle or the specific bits necessary for a double bridle. As far as I know no one else riding at Debbie's stable owns a double bridle.

Debbie is encouraged that Bingo is starting to become useful because Debbie just got an Arabian gelding, Noah, in her barn under the part lease/use as a lesson horse arrangement. Well, he may be a pure Arabian except that his ears are very long for an Arabian. But everything else about his head shouts pure Arab, a pyramid shaped skull from the side view, small delicate muzzle, an actual mitbah (throat-latch) that is slender and mobile, deep jowl bones, and an interest in what is around him. He isn't very wide between his eyes but is within the modern Arab norm, and his eyes are big and very kind. I've only seen him so I do not know how wide he is between his jowl bones, the other sure sign of high Arab blood. Debbie is talking about me riding him for my lessons, and I can go on using Bingo as my “homework” horse. Just from looking at Noah I do not know if his lips are long enough to use double bridle bits comfortably, but I do not mind too much since I just love Arabians. Right now they are using a snaffle bit on him when he is being used for lessons.

I've been saying Hi to Noah when I pass his stall. Yesterday I stopped and started crooning sweet words to him and his eyes softened and we “connected” for a brief moment, he SAW me and took interest in my crooning voice. A promising start.

Have a great ride!

Jackie Cochran

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