Thoughts about the bit

Sometimes, when you're slightly bored, you just get into this weird flow with dosens of creative ideas for posts, drawings and other things like that. As I got into this flow about fifteen minutes ago, my brain gave me two topics to write about: bit and/or rider's seat while jumping. I'll start with talking about the bit because I still need to get more information and experience about the 'perfect jumpseat' before I can write a good post about it.

The reason my brain found this subject important enough to talk about is mostly my penchant for what I like to call "the invisible riding", riding with as imperceptible and light aids as possible. I've been taught by both literature and several trainers, that riding can only be easy for both rider and the horse if it looks easy. This wisdom is often used especially in the wonderful world of dressage, but in my opinion it is true no matter what kind of riding we're talking about.

If the point is to ride as soft as possible, it should be a foregone conclusion that the bit should also be as 'friendly' as possible. I've understood that the reason we have what we call 'the strong bits' are poorly trained horses and most of all riders who haven't got enough experience / interest / time to fix the problems in horse's earlier training.

I think the best advice for bit-dilemmas is that the simplest solution is usually the best. I used to ride Grace with a double bridle every day because of the issues we had with the corners of her mouth - and it worked quite fine with her - but I was happy that I was able to change back to a snaffle bit after we moved to Sweden. Back in Finland the double bridle was however the only solution we got, although I never thought it was too nice for the horse.

I took this up mainly because I have recently changed Rubin's bit to a straight rubberbit. His 'normal' snaffle was too short for his wiiiiide mouth and he started to get a tiny wound in the corner of his mouth because of that. The bit we're using now is 13,5 cm wide and it seems to fit better than the earlier one. I also think he likes this one more than the other one, but we'll see about that! Maybe he'll change his mind or something..

My goal with this post was to give something to think about when choosing a bit for your horse. To be honest, I don't have too much experience about strong bits (if the curb in the double bridle doesn't count), because I've never had a real need for one. This is why i strongly believe that there is very few (if any) horses that actually need a stronger bit for the best possible outcome, but I'd love to hear your opinions about this!

Don't hesitate to comment about your opinions if you feel like it! It tends to be so that people speak for the method they're currently using theirselves, so it would be wonderful if someone would bring some other points of view 'on the stage'. I do like to read (and answer) your comments guys, so don't feel shy about writing them down here :). Just remember that a stupid comment will lead into a sarcastic answer, so please do not write anything in the name of offending someone.

Throwback to the sunny days when there was no snow on sight...


Christmas break á la Finski

For most of the people (judging by the content of my Facebook-feed) Christmas break means nice and cozy time with relatives, a shitload of gingerbread and sitting/singing next to a beautiful Christmas tree. For some people hearing a word "break" means less time on a schoolbench and more time in the stables instead. As a confirmed maniac I belong to that second group of people. How surprising.

In other words you could say that I spend all of my awake-time at the stables. At the moment it's pretty much because of my work, but also because I have no life and I like to take care of other people's horses while they're home with their families.

As an example of my day on any kind of break (summer, Christmas, waffleday...) I shall now reveal my Christmas eve's schedule!

5:30 - Wakey wakey! I always try to eat some breakfast but it's hard when it's so early in the morning..
6:00 - I get on my bike to drag my sleepy self to the stables
6:30 - I feed all the private horses, and then clean 3-4 boxes while waiting they've eaten up everything
7:00 - I turn out all the horses I'm taking care of, usually something like 3-5
7:30 - We start working in the other stable (this is the one I get paid for :D)
~10:00 - We have a short break (15-30min). I usually clean the boxes I didn't have time for in the morning
10:30 - We finish the "boring part" in the other stable (mostly cleaning and packing hay in plastic bags)
~11:30 - We feed school's horses
12:00 - Lunchtime! We feed our own horses and pack the haybags ready for them. And eat something.
13:00 - Working continues, we usually ride some schoolhorses and do some extra cleaning
16:00 - Working is finally over!
16:30-20:00 - I ride 2-3 private horses, usually one of my own ponies and later 1-2 other's
20:00-21:00 - I clean every bridle and girth I've used before closing the stable
21:30 - I come home, eat a terrifying amount of food and shower before going to sleep
22-23:30 - I actually begin to give an effort to get some sleep

This might look like a horror story for someone, but for me it's just fine. Of course I feel absolutely exhausted every now and then with these routines, but it's pretty much my own "fault". I love riding more than anything and that's why I barely ever say no if someone offers me a horse to ride. That's the main reason why I often have a shitload of "saddletime" in my plans, even when I probably should be getting some rest. Luckily my body is hyperactive and it's mostly the food I need to take care of to keep myself going.

I guess it's better to say something about the ponies too, and at the moment everything seems pretty normal. Grace had one of those killer heats (again..) and she was basically just a pissing meatball on four legs. This is why she was taking a mini break from working because seriously, it is literally near to impossible to work with a horse that pees herself when she's asked to slightly extend her trot. Mares..

We've been doing a lot of groundwork with Rubin and I think he's getting a bit better now. The problem seems to be all of the "scary" jumps, like planks and so on. We've been working with these things and hopefully he will in some point understand that he is quite a bit larger than those tiny obstacles he's so frightened of. Why is it always the biggest horses that are afraid of the tiniest things?

I was also working with two other horses during the break, mainly with my favourite grey mare Cindy. Riding that little beastie is basically like driving a Lamborghini; most of the time you can just sit there and smile! Of course there is some slight flaws in both me and her but luckily they don't count ;).

Cindy got the swag.
Winterfashion 2016, we had to borrow a neckpiece from my friend
because it's pretty cold outside and Rubin doesn't have any blanket
with a full-neck. 
This is how happy I looked like before the snow fell down..