Today my beautiful boy Dandy got to school a little in a shank bit. It’s a milder, not very long shank, Myler mouthpiece, that I used on my Portugese cross before. Dandy had had *one*, ten minute, session in an Argentine bit before. The Argentine *looks* shorter and less intimidating than the Myler, but putting them side by side I realized the length and position of the canon in relation to the shanks was absolutely identical, so because I like the Myler mouthpiece, I went with the latter.
He experimented a lot with it, curling himself up as you can see here (but in motion), trying various ways to pack it, and hold himself with it. Of course, I kept my hands even slowler and steadier than I would normally do, tried to put zero unintentional pressure on it, and give immediate release when he did soften to contact. We worked at all three gaits with it, and I can say he must have looked mighty nice, because there was a lot of self carriage, a good deal of the time. We worked at lateral flexion, AND neckreining, so basically we explored two opposite ways to respond to that bit, giving laterally, or yielding to the neck rein, in the opposite direction. I have to say the bit had him very engaged and focused and willing to cooperate. The stop was sharp as tack and the back-up speedy, once he understood the concept.
I think it’s always nice to see them with their “grown-up” look, without a browband, just the clean outlining of the one-ear headstall. I think is expression is still a little puzzled, but not worried. He’s just learning something new.
The arena was extremely cluttered with jumping poles as their was a friendly jumping challenge going on in our stables today, so we had to navigate around a lot of stuff and couldn’t school properly or at much length, but the response I got was very decent and encouraging. We ended up with spins, or slow pivots as they are now, it was all but pretty, but Dandy being as smart as he is, I reckon if we always work on the spins right before calling it quits, he might start loving them pretty soon 😉