I continue to be astonished at the differences between Mocha in the snaffle using the English strap goods/saddle and the Western strap goods/saddle. Once again today, I had a really good session that was nothing at all like the sessions we’ve had in the Collegiate, and I don’t think it’s all the saddle.
To wit: while today she was stiff (in heat, not wanting to bend well on the right rein), all the same she was soft, maintaining a steady contact that is nothing at all like the contact we had in English, and elevated. Now some of the time I thought she was trying to emulate those Saddlebreds again, but really….
But I don’t think it’s all the saddle. To some extent, I think it’s the lack of the second noseband (the one on the English headstall never fit her that well). The Western dropped noseband is lower, goes over the bit and headstall, and allows her to move her jaw a little bit better. I also think it is those 1″ seven foot latigo leather reins. There’s a little bit more weight to them, because of the way they connect to the bit they hang more like her romal rein on the curb, and I find that it’s actually a much more secure grip than the web reins.
Whatever it is, so far she takes up the contact differently from the English strap goods. There’s more relaxation–and, as a result, better movement.
Today, G coached us while giving a lesson. He commented several times on how nice her lope was (well, it was…much better than her trot today). It is more relaxed, more elevated, and I’m able to bend her and flex her better. I’m also finding my best position ever, and half halts? Oh baby, let me tell you about half halts, I can still feel them in my abs.
I also feel bad because it’s clear the curb has been pinching her for a few weeks. Not long–I’d like to think I’d have noticed that wiggling in the port–but long enough. It’s going to take a little while to get a replacement, and I may talk to G about borrowing his mullen mouth curb to see how she goes in it. We shall see.
All in all, a nice riding day. Probably the best part of my spring break.
Sigh. Enough horse post, must get back to household chores and education article. Sigh.