Back in January 2013 I was preparing for Blu to start in a Curb Bit. Oh, how things have changed....
Are you wondering what a "Curb Bit" is?
As you may know if you were reading this back when I started, I do not claim to be an "expert" - I'm learning Western riding right along with Blu so as I try to explain, please remember that I only know a little bit about bits (ha! Couldn't resist...) and that you would probably be better off learning lots of details by Google-ing "what is the difference between a Snaffle bit and a Curb bit" rather than trying to understand what I'm writing (and hoping that I'm getting right).
Do you remember that in our first year of showing Western Pleasure I was showing Blu in a Snaffle Bit?
This Snaffle has a single "bar" in his mouth and the reins
are connected directly to the bit
And in our second year I was showing Blu in a Bosal which didn't have a mouthpiece at all.
Notice there is nothing in Blu's mouth and the reins
are connected to the bottom of the nose piece
Both of those are legal in the Western Pleasure show arena because Blu was less than six years old.
On January 1, 2013 (the official birthday of all horses) Blu turned six (his actual birthday is in April) and that meant we could no longer use a Bosal or a Snaffle when showing Western. So we switched to a Curb Bit. (We can still use a Snaffle Bit if we ride Hunter - more on that later.)
Here's Blu's first introduction to a Curb Bit in the Fall of 2012 -
the reins are not attached directly to the bit, but instead, they're attached to the end of the shank
(doesn't he look like he's trying to figure out what the heck is in his mouth?)
Sunday (January 27, 2013) was my first opportunity to ride Blu in the Curb Bit.
I learned a lot, had a lot of fun, was challenged, will continue to be challenged, and can't wait to do it again. I felt like a drunken sailor at times but overall I could see the promise of what was to come (with a lot more practice).
After one afternoon lesson I came away with the following 1) keep my hand centered 2) lift straight UP with my hand when I want to turn 3) and at the same time use my legs to steer 4) no neck reining 5) trust Blu to understand what I'm asking - I can be a lot more subtle than I think I am being.
If you want to see my first lesson using the Curb Bit you can watch the video. No teasing allowed regarding my "20 foot circle" that ended up being 1/2 the arena! It is literally my first ride ever on Blu with a Curb Bit.
(Feb 2014 - turns out I never put the video together -
I just looked through my clips and published this one)
And I have to say a big Thank You! to my videographer! It was so nice to come home and watch what I'd done, and now I have a permanent record of that "first ride in a Curb Bit" that I'll look back on someday and see how far I've come (that's me being optimistic!)
And that's all I wrote back in January 2013......
Looking back at my calendar I realize why I didn't publish this. Two days later Blu got injured. He mysteriously cut his foreleg. The good news is that he healed up perfectly.
The horizontal incision at the top is the cut, the rest are drains.
this is 6 weeks later - Mid March 2013
We had a fun 2013, though not what we'd envisioned when the year started.