Here we are about 4 months in. Still doing ground work. We have eliminated any sign of bucking at the trot. She is walking fantastically. There’s no more kicking the handlers heels and personal space is established.
By the 4 month marker we had bridled her with a broken snaffle. She had used a bit before but not much. So to re-introduce the bit to her we did her routine and after un-tacking her and brushing her out, my daughter put the headstall on with the bit. At this point Calypso had developed a rapport with my daughter. She trusted her to put things on her and she knew she would be okay. This trust is so very important. It comes with consistency on the trainers part. Calypso knows exactly what is expected and nothing is ever a surprise. She trusts us. Trust makes training possible.
So, with the headstall on and bit in her mouth, Calypso was allowed to roam around the arena. We kept her in the arena just in case something happened like the bit getting caught on something, or Calypso flipping out and needing help. But nothing of the kind happened. We let her jaw and slobber with it for about an hour that day and the next. She was fine with it so on went the reins.
We used the training type of reins that are elastic with adjustable tension D rings. Since she was fine with the bit we started lounging her in full regalia. Saddle and bridled she was put through her routine just fine. Below is the training reins I picked up for working with Calypso. I like the versatility they provide with the multiple D rings and the flexible elastic for training. A young horse can get panicked and lose focus if his/her head is in a fixed position with a standard tie-down. With this one the horse can lift their head to a certain degree but the elastic encourages them to return it to the original position you set.
Calypso was done with bucking, for the day, when asked to trot and my daughter was anxious to ride her. With all the work she had diligently put in re-training her it was understandable. So up she went!
All the months of ground work paid off in ten-fold see the video below.
Calypso moved into a trot with no sign of a buck in her! But there was something else bothering me. Did you notice? Calypso is paying way to much attention to the bit in her mouth than the rider on her back! I’m not a fan of bits myself. I’ll use one if a horse was raised with one, but I prefer a natural mouth. There are tons of reasons why bits are not acceptable, but that’s another blog! For now, “Off with the bit!” We’ll use a drop nose band side pull instead. This side pull from Amazon is nice. And it’s priced great too!
I’m interested to see how much focus Calypso will have with a side pull instead of the distracting bit.
See you next time on Breaking The Buck Out Of Calypso!