The first is about Charlie's continued progress and development on the flat - told in the main narrative text below. The other is about shopping and attire and matchy matchy outfits. For this, we have photos and captions. So like, I guess choose your own adventure with whatever of those two you want to actually read lol.
|Operation: Berry Dressage Outfit is nearly complete! obviously upon deciding to go this route, I had to put in a call to Amelia at Dark Jewel Designs. At $15 for a new fully custom bead strand for my browbands, it was a no-brainer!|
That ride in the Myler was on Wednesday, and it was quite interesting in how it differed from his first time wearing the bit. This go round, there was little to no noticeable difference in his stress or tension levels. He was aware of the bit and uncertain about it - but at no point did I feel like he was actually upset or brewing an explosion.
Charlie still put very little weight into the bridle - he wasn't necessarily filling up the contact and actually stayed slightly ducked behind the bridle with his neck broken at the wrong vertebrae. So it was very much a false head set. The value to this, at least imo, was in showing him that, "Hey bro, your neck can actually bend. And like, you can put your head down. Crazy, I know, right?"
It was also interesting to see that there wasn't as much of a difference in the quality of Charlie's work in the Myler this time around. Last time he wore it, we felt like we had some breakthroughs in his canter transitions and some other small details. This time? No real difference shown, and I think that actually speaks more to the consistent quality of Charlie's regular work. He's just plain old getting better, so the bit didn't create much difference there.
Methinks this is simply a strength issue (compounded by force of habit). But it had maybe always been masked by the fact that Charlie often braces against the bit for everything else too lol. So by putting him in a bit that he was very resistant to taking true contact with, I was able to identify this moment where he really can't help himself yet. So we'll work on it.
|We might just end up looking like a sugary slice o' raspberry pie haha. And ya know what? I might be ok with that lol.|
The good stuff was what happened next ride, after switching back to our tried-n-true Sprenger KK snaffle. Guys. Charlie learned two big things in this next ride:
1 - He honest to god learned how to go on the bit. And like, more than just fleeting moments of balance - actual strides at a time. (tho of course, still with bobbles bc he ain't that strong yet).
2 - He figured out that's where I want him to be, and that it's a soft, safe, and maybe even comfortable place.
It only took 7 months lol.... but my event-horse-in-training is actually putting the pieces together for real contact in the bridle. So exciting!!!!
He experimented a little bit with going too low, or with tilting his head. So obviously we have a lot of work in refining and helping him get better and more secure in the connection. But there were some very real moments of bending him with the inside leg and "catching" (sorta) with the outside rein.
The bend is actually maybe kinda the most critical piece right now bc it's like when he connects to the bridle he sorta suddenly gets somewhat rigidly straight and loses power steering a little bit - but it just feels like green stuff, like strength stuff.
Still tho, even just getting that feeling from his is a start (even if I'm already pretty skeptical at being able to replicate it consistently - let alone in the show ring yet!). It's really exciting to me, especially since Isabel was the first horse I truly rode dressage on, and learning to develop that contact and connection has always felt very elusive. It's happening tho!
Ahh dressage, such a cruel mistress tho, right? Like isn't that how it always works? Somehow the stars align such that we get a brief fleeting sensation of "This Must Be It!" - just enough to get us hooked in to wanting more lol. Always more. And better.