Today I went full Western, with curb and romal. Mocha was in the grumpy stage of her heat cycle, where she’s really on the muscle and just wants to go, not fiddle with piddly stuff. We’ve not worked in the curb and romal for about 7-8 months now, though we’ve worked with a Western Pelham (which has the same mouthpiece–basically a long shanked and short shanked version). I’ve had interesting results when we’ve come back into the curb and romal from snaffle/Pelham work but I don’t think I’ve ever had her out of the curb and romal for this long since she first started going in it.
She was very much the workmanlike horse. A bit pushy (goes with time of year and time of cycle). The best thing to do with a pushy Mocha is to bump her up to canter schooling and get precise about locations of lead changes, circles, and rate changes (canter-gallop-canter) Having the full arena again (round pen used to take up half the arena; it’s now gone) makes a huge difference in schooling. I wouldn’t be doing as much with her if we were only working half an arena. With the full arena, it’s easier to do serpentines and figure 8s without falling into tight circles and putting pressure on those hocks of hers. She’s not rushing through the changes and turns, and she’s more relaxed. Win, big time. Plus, because she’s in a mode where she wants to run and work, she’s cooperative and focused.
It didn’t take much for her to get back up to speed on neck reining but that’s to be expected because I use a lot of indirect rein. She rates a lot better at the canter-gallop-canter sequence with the curb and romal. At the end of today’s work, I asked her for a rundown and whoa, followed by back. She was *quite* enthusiastic about that (even without skid boots). Then we did some of the best dang rollbacks she’s ever done. That was enough. We went for a stroll past the Paint of Death; she watched him and flicked her ears at him but kept her head low. A strange dog (goofy golden) ran at her by the Scary Barn and she raised her head, then lowered and started to approach the dog (dog was with people). She was alert but not particularly worried. Interesting how changing out the bit just brings out that side of her personality even more than ever. Girl does seem to like her work.