Sunday, August 7, 2011


Good has so many practical definitions in the horse world.

When you ride, you learn to see the good in everything... for example: "Well, I fell off in the ditch on XC, but that means I got to school XC the next day, so that was good!"

And then there's "Well, I stayed on, and we (eventually) jumped everything, so it was a good school..."

Or "He was good... he nearly ripped my left arm off the whole way around and we jumped the first three sideways, but it was a good run."

And then you get into "Well, he was good." (As in nothing stellar, but nothing bad happened either.)

Or when you come out of the show ring and look to your trainer and the only thing she says is "Good." Which is generally followed by "But...."

But on the other hand, you might get a "Good!" which means just what it sounds like!

But when you have a really, really, really good day, sometimes all you can think to say is "REALLY, REALLY GOOD."

I had a REALLY GOOD school on my one-eyed boy on Saturday. He hasn't been willing to jump down into the water since I had his eye removed without one helluva fight. On Saturday he jumped in the first time I asked him from the trot, a little sideways, but in none-the-less. We went around the next time with a strong canter and he popped right down again. Then we changed the entrance location (so he could jump in straight instead of at an angle since we were avoiding a jump on the "out" side of the water) and he went right in again... crooked, but IN!

He's still out of shape, so we didn't do a lot, but he jumped everything, schooled the banks and ditches and put a couple things together. You always hear the big names talk about time slowing down on course and it never really makes sense until you experience it. When you're not fighting for every step, you find that you have time to make some adjustments and ride the horse underneath you. I've had that with Brandy a few times now, and felt it on Saturday with Ari. I'm hoping this is the new ride I have with him- it felt good and I walked off course saying "I really DO think we can go training together... maybe just once, but there is no reason to think he can't do it." He was very rideable and I can't think of a time he flipped his head.

The other "good" thing going on is the discovery of my horse's love for the Micklem bridle. Ari took it IMMEDIATELY. I mean, really. It was a no brainer to keep him in it. His whole manner and way of going has changed. I have never felt him really stretch into a connection over his topline before but he does it in this bridle. I don't know why but I'm not going to question it. With the strap configuration I think it is very "snug" but comfortable around his mouth which encourages him to be soft instead of bracing. We'll see!

Brandy in her new bridle!
I had to order a different one for Brandy, because apparently the Princess is a "large horse" (FINALLY, she says, someone who acknowledges that I am a Very Big Pony). It arrived on Friday and I rode her in it today. While it wasn't as instantly brilliant as it was on Ari, it was an improvement and I noticed a couple of things that make me think it's "good" for her. First, a few times as she was trotting around in a steady connection, I saw her big, adorable ears start to "flop"- just for a second, but no denying it. Floppy ears mean relaxed horse, so that is a very good thing. Second, while we were doing some trot work, I heard her tummy rumble. This could very well be coincidence, but again, rumbling tumblys usually mean happy horse and it's not something I typically hear while doing dressage so? Maybe it was the bridle. The last thing was when I walked her out, she dropped her head, poked her nose out and walked happily without jigging or snatching the bit.

I would encourage ANYONE who has a fussy horse to give this bridle a try. I'm slowly trying it on any of my fussy horses in the barn. At this point my two seem to like it. Snickers doesn't normally go in a flash- I think eventually she would come around to like it, but she wasn't an "instant win" like Ari and B. I will try it on Gracie soon, who also doesn't go in a flash and see how she responds as well! More to come on that. :)


  1. I've been meaning to try a Micklem on Bonnie for oh, a year now, and see how she likes it. Maybe I'll finally get around to it since your two seem to like it!

  2. How does the sizing seem to run? I'm getting one for the Pony but really can't guess which to order!

  3. Yeah. You try it on Gracie and I will video first. I remember what happened when you tried the flash. Hey circus horse hey! Wouldn't it be wonderful if she responded like Ari though?!