THE QUESTION OF THE MONTH IS BACK! (Send yours to us for an answer) The Newest:
How do I know if I’m using the right bit?
BILL– As I related in DRESSAGE Unscrambled, many years ago Major Lindgren was giving a lecture on bits at the National Instructors Seminar. He had a graphic up on the board of all sorts of curb bits, and he asked the group how they would choose one over another. I was on the staff with him, and after the group remained painfully silent, I raised my hand and in my best Gunther Toody fashion interrupted, “Ooh ooh, I know!”
Somewhat bemused and exasperated he said to me, “OK. Why?”
“It depends on the weather,” I said.
He cocked his head, waiting for the rest of it…
“Because,” I finished, “In a storm, any port will do! “
Other than that I can offer some actual advice. Start out with something simple. If a horse comes to me without a bridle, I’m going to put him in a double jointed egg butt snaffle of average thickness. Most likely, I will add a flash not fastened too tightly (but that may just be a reflex and not really necessary).
If it works, I don’t mess around. I just use it.
I do see inappropriate bits at times in clinics. If you have a big, heavy horse that’s dragging you around, why do you have him in a fat hollow mouth? If you have a nervous thoroughbred off the track who curls his neck and won’t come out to the hand, why is he in a thin snaffle?
If you have a scrambled-up rescue project with a ton of baggage, don’t think spending $300 on an exotic bit is going to fix things. Before you do anything else, make sure his teeth don’t need to be floated.
I would also mention I am generally not a fan of rubber mouthpieces except in extreme cases. While you might think they are friendly to the horse, often they induce a lack of respect which must be overcome with more hand than you would like. Personally for that sort of horse I am fond of thick but heavy snaffles. They often play with the hollow ones, but if it’s fat and heavy, it’s still inviting while able to carry a stronger message when necessary.
As for all the variations on the market, it’s fine to experiment, but “borrow, don’t buy” if you possibly can. Lose your fortune on more lessons, not on a trunk full of metal.
ALL THE PAST QUESTIONS OF THE MONTH–NOW 100 OF THEM– AND BILL’S ANSWERS AWAIT IF YOU CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE QOTM ARCHIVES.
BILL’s On-Line Store — STORECRAZY — is here to provide you with items that Dover and John Nunn can’t offer. Here’s a quick sample.
CLICK HERE to find many more items you won’t want to live without!
NEW EVENTING TESTS!
If you want the US Eventing Tests which go into effect December 1, 2017, they are here: http://useventing.com/resource/dressage-tests-0 . If you want the US Dressage tests which go into effect December 1, 2018. You are going to have to wait until they are finalized … in 2018.
[A Note from Bill]
Let me introduce our Associate Editor, Hayden Finch. “Sidd” worked with us back in the ’80s when Susan and I edited A Tip of the Hat, the New England Dressage Association’s newsletter. Prior to beginning his career in journalism, Sidd scratched his competitive itch with a brief foray into professional baseball. In his first stint with us, Sidd penned this alternative biographical sketch of me for the Dallas Dressage Club newsletter publicizing a clinic I did for that group:
Bill’s bio courtesy of Sidd Finch
Bill Woods (not his real name) comes to the Dallas area several times a year. He and his wife, Onyx, are members of the Federal Dressage Witness Protection Program; thus, their true place of residence is unknown. Both train and compete most of the year in central Florida, often in disguise. Bill has been teaching in Texas since the mid ‘80s, having been brought here by Lisa Brown.They had met in New Hampshire some years before, drawn together by a mutual love of hybrid roses which they tended on summer afternoons at the institution.
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MORE HYPE ABOUT THE TROVE OF PAST BLOGS WHICH AWAIT YOU
If any of the following snippets pique your curiosity, you can find the story archived on this site. It’s DRESSAGE Unscrambled, with a twist—it’s free! More than two dozen dozen (more than 330) posts accessed by this click.
Remember Reiner Klimke and Ahlerich in the victory lap after their gold medal win at the ’84 LA Olympics? All those 76 one tempis in a row? Well, for old time’s sake, click here for the instant replay!
The Horse Protection Association of Florida needs your help!
HPAF receives no state or federal funding and exists only through donations. The amount of neglected horses and horses whose owners can no longer afford to feed them has exploded recently and your donations make it possible for HPAF to continue the work of protecting and saving horses.
“LINT IS A SHELL’S BEST FRIEND” CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHY
Quote of the Month
“We are all time travelers — just the really dull kind — ones plodding through the 4th dimension one pathetic second at a time.” (Robert Smith on NPR’s Talk of the Nation)
Quote of All Time
“The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang onto, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.” Chögyam Trungpa
Click to view an important cultural icon: “Bambi Meets Godzilla”
LIFE GETTING YOU DOWN? THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS CLICK HERE FOR RELIEF OK, GO!
An audio treat for your dining and dancing pleasure? CLICK HERE
FEAST YOUR EYES ON THIS — A FANCIFUL VIDEO MONTAGE TO LEONARD COHEN’S “DANCE ME TO THE END OF LOVE.” The tango sequence is from the 1992 film Scent of a Woman.
For the One Minute Version of everything you need to know about woodsdressage.com – CLICK HERE
Below: To imprint in your mind. Harmony in the person of Col. Kurt Albrecht von Ziegner. His mount unknown.
Carl Sagan speaks of The Pale Blue Dot. Please click below and watch this!
It’s another Monday!
If this August’s total eclipse of the sun worked for you (or if you were indoors at the movies), there’s a second showing. The date will be April 8, 2024. Visible in the US on a swath from Texas through parts of the Midwest to Buffalo. I am not going to miss it! TUNY, the French Bulldog, has agreed to assume BRUCE’S role as the official Safety Coordinator of this website. If, as you’re reading, she issues the “Duck and Cover” instruction, please climb under your desk and assume the position until she issues her All Clear announcement.