So this winter means that Ike and I are beginning our introduction to the double bridle. Yep, I have never used one before. It was debated and discussed for a number of months before we decided that it could be helpful. I struggle due to lack of experience with dressage beyond First Level, and I lack the physical strength to half halt effectively in certain situations. There are also Carpal tunnel in both wrists and my fibromyalgia that can make riding a struggle some days. My drive to learn and to escape the lower levels keeps me going, and the double bridle can hopefully give me just a little bit of extra oomph to teach Ike the skills to progress beyond First Level. I will still ride in my normal bridle most days, but will use the double bridle during some of my lessons. [read – under the eagle eye of Ms. C so I don’t do anything
I found a very nice double bridle (it can convert to a snaffle bridle if necessary) and inexpensive bradoon and Weymouth bits through Schneider Saddlery (http://www.sstack.com/English_Bridles/Dress-Conv-Bridle-W-pat-Bead/$%7B(%20%20)#32871%20FS%20BK}) for a very reasonable price. Of course, assembling the pieces was not quite as easy as clicking “purchase” on the website. So, without further ado, I present to you “How to assemble a double bridle.”
- Stupidly smile at box when it arrives because it makes you feel like a big kid rather than a beginner.
- Open box. Remove the packaging and sniff the new leather.
- Lay out the various pieces on the counter to make sure all parts are present and accounted for.
- Look in box for some Ikea-style pictogram assembly instructions. Grimace and then mutter expletives when you realize there are none.
- Pour a large glass of wine.
- Retrieve laptop so that you can find a photo of the assembled bridle on the website.
- Attach the bradoon and Weymouth bits and admire your handywork.
- Remove the bits when you realize you forgot to attach the browband.
- Curse your ineptitude and take a big swig of the wine.
- Slide browband into place.
- Reattach both bits.
- Realize that the headstall is backwards because the throatlatch is in the front.
- Mutter more expletives as you remove both bits for the second time and then the browband.
- Have another large sip of wine.
- Curse the inventor of the double bridle.
- Pour more wine.
- Yet again study the photo of the assembled bridle and reattach the browband first and then the bits.
- Attach the noseband.
- Breathe sigh of relief when you realize you finally attached everything correctly.
- Attach the reins to the bits.
- Call your trainer to confirm each set of reins are attached to the correct bit.
- Admire fully assembled bridle.
- Find a keeper on the floor. Pick up before it is consumed by a curious canine.
- Scratch your head when you realize you cannot figure out where it goes.
- Shrug and put it in your wallet just in case you have an epiphany.
- Admire your accomplishment again as you envision riding down centerline with your horse wearing the bridle…one day….
- Finish the bottle of wine.
I am happy to report that Ms. C gave my efforts a passing grade. Ike was a sport as we adjusted the fit. And I have to say (please pardon my proud horse mom moment), that I think my boy looked pretty smart wearing this new bridle. Wish us luck!