Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Look, Ma, no bit!

Today was trimming day, and I tried something new. Dixie has been such a horrible beast about trims at the house, when she was actually pretty good when we boarded at M's. M only lives 5 blocks away, and she was getting her horses trimmed today too, so I decided to ride Dixie over and see how she does there.

It was 8 when I got up - that's 8 degrees, not 8 am. By the time we were ready to ride, it had skyrocketed all the way to 15. I know that no one east of me has any sympathy at all, but the point isn't that it was cold and cold sucks, the point is that I decided it was too cold to put a bit in her mouth. She's not crazy about being ridden in the rope halter sidepull, but anything is better than a piece of 15 degree metal. Plus we were going in a direction we both agreed on - no need to fight about where to turn. She loves to go to M's and visit M's horses.

Dixie was initially pretty annoyed about the halter, but she got over it remarkably well. I gave her good clear leg cues before I'd pull on the reins and meddle with her head, and she probably appreciated that. Plus we only had to make a couple of turns to get down to M's. I did chicken out and hop off when we got to M's intersection - the garbage truck was coming down one street, there were dogs on both sides of the other street barking at Cersei, and there was an excitable young horse galloping a fenceline beside us. Discretion seemed the better part of valor.

Dixie stood just fine for the trimmer. Her bars were pretty long, and he smoothed out her squared-off toes in front. Her next trim is March 14, the Monday before Rides of March, so that works out well.

Getting back home wasn't bad. She wanted to rush more, but she'd slow down when I asked. That is probably my biggest fear about riding without a bit - it's so much harder to one-rein stop a horse with a rope halter. But we've done a lot of work re: rushing, and I guess it's paid off. Traffic was light on both trips, and I worried more about my little yellow idiot dog running in front of a vehicle than Dixie freaking out about it. One jerk roared past us way too fast, but most people in my neighborhood are polite to riders.

I am taking a break from the floor today. My trimmer is awesome but visiting with him is really time-consuming. And I need to hit the grocery today. I should be able to finish the floor tomorrow, yippie!


  1. What a good girl! That's really neat.

  2. She was very good. I've found that stopping in a bitless isn't really much of an issue, provided the horse knows how to give to pressure. Glad she was good for the farrier - and that's plenty cold enough.

  3. Everywhere it seems to be cold. We no longer corner the market here! I would have got off for the obstacles you mentioned, too!

    I fell off my mare riding in a halter & bareback. She we had a communication problem & she turned left when I was ready to turn right. Hurt my tailbone BAD! I still will ride her up from the pasture occasionally, but have the same concerns you do when riding bitless.

    Brave one for riding in the cold! Brrrr!

  4. Just because I can't help myself, we had upper 60's today, but tomorrow we're plunging back into the 40's.

    Sometimes I ride AJ in a halter and special rope reins my dad made for me decades ago, but that's because he listens just as poorly with a bit. :)

    Sounds like you had a fun day!!

  5. thanks, yall :) Kate - she gives to pressure when she feels like it. She just feels like it more often than not these days! The last time I tried the rope halter - third loop of Moonshine, after 25 miles of riding - she pitched a huge fit about it touching her nose. Headslinging and rubbing her nose on her legs and glaring at me.

    i2p - that's my kind of goal. Dixie should listen equally poorly no matter what gear I use on her head! LOL

  6. I know that this is pertaining to yesterday's post and sounds pitchy, but I really like the Ellie Krieger cook books. She has some really really awesome recipes for just about anything you can think of. I know that you are going on an anti-potato campaign, but I implore you not to exclude the sweet potato. They are easy to cook, and really healthy if you mash them with a little butter (not margarine, that stuff is horrid for you! Butter flavored chemicals in a tub...), soy milk, cinnamon, and nut meg with just a dash of maple syrup (the real stuff again, not the maple flavored corn crap). Honestly, if you are aiming to loose some serious pounds, reducing the amount of meat you eat, or cutting it out of your diet all together, it the way to go. You eliminate a lot of the fats associated with it, and it is completely healthy. People had been living in largely vegetable diets for thousands of years before the invention of the factory farm. I went completely vegetarian about a year ago. I dropped 10 pounds in a month and a half just from that change, and I wasn't large to begin with!

  7. I prefer to use a sidepull to anything else, but Fiddle prefers the precision of a french-link bit. My little perfectionist. Sometimes I get lazy and do it my way, still.

    High of 45 degrees F here today, and clouds rolling in to make it warmer...and wetter. In winter, you pretty much have to choose your poison in the Swamp.

  8. YE - thanks, I will check out that cookbook. Sadly, I detest sweet potatoes. And winter squash, actually. It's icky and sweet and the texture is gross IMO. I can eat summer squash way past the point everybody else is sick of it, though!

    For me, a limited-carb, no grain, high-fat diet works well. At this point there's quite a bit of science indicating that eating grains isn't really healthy (most grains naturally contain chemicals in them that trigger leptin and insulin resistance, helping you gain weight). Same with the fat from grain-fed animals - you're totally right about factory farming. I just have no moral or physical problems with eating ethically-raised meat :)

    Aarene - haha, glad to hear someone else has a horse that prefers a bit! I yell at Dixie about it a lot and tell her she's supposed to want to cast aside the evil metal tool of my oppression, but she likes her single-jointed D ring. I can't even convince her to like a French link, no matter how expensive. Champ loved his 6" shank curb, of all things, and wouldn't even consider a nice snaffle.

  9. As for your last post (which I just saw), I really dig beets roasted and then served with blue cheese and walnuts, or on top of a salad.

    As for the bit, Peanut never had a choice! He's a rubbing fiend with his Dr. Cook on, but I don't know what specifically is bothering him. He's left scrape marks on the nose band, but tries to rub the side of his head on me when I dismount. All of it ends as soon as I release the chin buckle, though. Weirdo.

  10. We ride a lot in rope halters, but I made the mistake the other day of going out on Spooks with a nylon halter. He spooked badly when my dog came over the little hill beside us and I barely got him stopped and I'm pretty sure is was just my voice that managed that. Note to not leave the yard if I have a nylon halter on my horse...there is NO whoa!

    But it sounds like you have accomplished a lot with Lilly to be able to at least feel comfortable riding her out in only a rope halter. My barrel horse does not particularly like anything on his nose and even though he minds well with a rope halter, his first instinct is always to root his nose out and down when I ask him to do anything.


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