I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!
My husband gave me some Christmas money, so I went to the tack store yesterday. I’ve had my eye on a “Korsteel JP copper ball link full cheek” 3-piece snaffle with a small copper ball that rolls around the center link, as well as a “gelcomb” and a small brush so I could groom Mia’s head properly. I lucked out, the bit was still there and I finally found the head brushes I was looking for. One of the ladies who worked there showed me their latest grooming tool, a body brush with the center of lamb’s wool. Alas I don’t really need another finishing brush no matter how good it feels to my skin, so I passed on it. I debated putting my new bit on the bridle for Mia today but I decided not too as I am still evaluating how the Back on Track saddle blanket plus Corrector are working on her. I did not want a new bit making her hesitant to keep contact!
Mia loved, Loved, LOVED my new grooming tools for her head. She angled her head so I could reach all those pesky itchy spots, and when I undid the halter’s throatlatch and thoroughly groomed her between the branches of her lower jaw she was in absolute HEAVEN. She also loved that the small brush could get into her ears properly and I could get the whole ear brushed inside and out, she adored rubbing her head on the gelcomb, and she was one happy little old lady as I groomed every inch of her head, ears and poll. Then the people mucking out started to hose down a nearby stall, flipping the hose around making Mia scared since it was like a SNAKE!!!!!, and then the breaking down the Christmas decorations and folding up a table was another occasion for a minor panic. After the commotion ended my son and I finished rasping her hooves, grooming, tacking up and putting on her exercise sheets, two today because it was barely above freezing.
Mia’s cough started early today. I think, especially when it is cold, that Mia does not move around much because her joints get very stiff and it hurts to move. So when she has to move around for me stuff gets moving in her lungs and she starts coughing it out. Today it started while we were grooming her, and I told my son to take her to the water trough before we went into the ring. Well, you know the old saying about horses and drinking, Mia decided she was not thirsty after my son considerately broke the ice and took out some large pieces with his hand. We shrugged our shoulders. We gave her a few minutes to think about it and she still decided not to drink any water. At least we gave her a chance to drink.
As Mia and I walked around the ring, with her stopping every so often to cough three or four times, I started getting the feeling that she was disappointed with something. Nothing big, Mia accepted contact with good grace and kept contact until I relaxed my hands when I got tired. Then she started playing with the JP Dr. Bristol center plate, something she has never done before, and we went around the ring with little clinks coming from her mouth. I’ve NEVER heard her clink any bit before. She kept this up for several minutes, and then I realized that she was looking for the copper ball of my new bit. I DO NOT know how Mia knew that I had gotten a new bit with a little copper ball, I never told Mia I was looking at that bit, the first time I had seen it I got sort of a negative feeling when I thought about using it on Mia, and I had not decided to buy it until Christmas day when my husband gave me the money. I do have another three-piece-snaffle with a copper roller but it is thicker than she likes her bits so I never tried it on her mainly because I never felt that she wanted me to. Still, there was Mia tonguing the bit like horses do when they are rolling the copper roller. She was mildly irritated because the Dr. Bristol center plate just would not roll and her irritation increased the more she tried to get it to roll. So I mostly backed off from using my hands except for little hints, wandered around the jump standards using mostly my thighs and lower legs, and I even got a hint (I think) of a shoulder-in, all on mostly loose reins.
I had been thinking about keeping Mick in the JP Dr. Bristol, but with Mia getting so “eloquent” about not having that little copper ball to play with I am now worried that Mick will be expecting it too. So I guess I will find my bit keepers and change my bridle. It really is about time, it is so boring for the poor horses just to go around the ring when I ride them. I try to give them some variety during the year, trying out new tack, trying out new movements, and giving them a new experience with their mouths by periodically trying new bits. This winter I had been counting on the exercise sheets and the Back on Track saddle pad to give them the variety they need, but obviously Mia wants a little copper ball on her bit that she can play with too.
At least she waited to tell me until after I bought the bit.
Have a great ride!