How to (Kind Of) Assemble a Double Bridle

DSC03239

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 stupid inappropriate.]

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.”

  1. Stupidly smile at box when it arrives because it makes you feel like a big kid rather than a beginner.
  2. Open box. Remove the packaging and sniff the new leather.
  3. Lay out the various pieces on the counter to make sure all parts are present and accounted for.bridle on counter
  4. Look in box for some Ikea-style pictogram assembly instructions. Grimace and then mutter expletives when you realize there are none.  my look of horror
  5. Pour a large glass of wine.
  6. Retrieve laptop so that you can find a photo of the assembled bridle on the website.
  7. Attach the bradoon and Weymouth bits and admire your handywork.
  8. Remove the bits when you realize you forgot to attach the browband.
  9. Curse your ineptitude and take a big swig of the wine.
  10. Slide browband into place.
  11. Reattach both bits.
  12. Realize that the headstall is backwards because the throatlatch is in the front.
  13. Mutter more expletives as you remove both bits for the second time and then the browband.
  14. Have another large sip of wine.
  15. Curse the inventor of the double bridle.
  16. Pour more wine.
  17. Yet again study the photo of the assembled bridle and reattach the browband first and then the bits.
  18. Attach the noseband.
  19. Breathe sigh of relief when you realize you finally attached everything correctly.
  20. Attach the reins to the bits.
  21. Call your trainer to confirm each set of reins are attached to the correct bit.
  22. Admire fully assembled bridle.
  23. Find a keeper on the floor. Pick up before it is consumed by a curious canine.
  24. Scratch your head when you realize you cannot figure out where it goes.
  25. Shrug and put it in your wallet just in case you have an epiphany.
  26. Admire your accomplishment again as you envision riding down centerline with your horse wearing the bridle…one day….
  27. 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!

alison

 

Advertisements

From The Horse’s Mouth

Ike November 2014

Happy Fall Everyone!  I’m again taking over to fill you in on my life in my words.  I’m pretty sure that I should have my own blog by now, but Mom says that I’m not ready for such responsibility.  Sheesh!  What a mean Mom.  Seriously, how am I supposed to rely on her to give the full story?

I’m pretty sure that I did a very good job at the regional competition.  Mom had that silly grin on her face and tears in her eyes when she realized we got one of those big ribbons with the long streamers.  I gave one of the streamers a taste and I have to say that it was disappointing.  I will stick with apples and horse treats.  It was cool to have people cheer for me when Mom and I went into the big indoor.  People called it a “koliseeim.”  I say it was a really big indoor with lots of chairs and few windows.  How do I get one of those at the farm?  Maybe Santa will bring me one for Christmas…

Being at the show was a lot of fun, but by the end of the weekend I was really tired of being inside all the time.   We horses need to start a union and get some better benefits – stalls with attached paddocks will be on my list of demands.  An internet connection at the barn, a private apple orchard, and a climate-controlled barn will also be discussed.  And none of that pay-for-performance stuff.  I get my pay and benefits regardless of the color of the ribbon.  But I digress…My friend Winslow was there as were Roo and Flori.  Dad came along as well as my canine brother Tim.  Ms. C was there to cheer for me on Saturday.  It was big fun to have Miss Melana visit me at night.  We had fun sending photos to Mom.

Once I got home from the show, I had a whole week of doing nothing but hanging out in my paddock.  Mom came to visit, but there was no riding.  She said that I had earned my vacation.  I’m trying to figure out how to have vacation every day like my brother.  He won’t tell me the secret to full-time vacation.  I think he is afraid Mom might put him back to work.

But now that I am back to work, I have to say that things have become much HARDER!  What?!  I did really well all year, so how can the work get harder?  Mom and Ms. C have introduced me to this medieval torture device they call a double bridle.  They stick not one, but two bits in my mouth.  Two!!  What was wrong with one?  It has something to do with the work getting harder.  I keep hearing the word “kollekshun” used more frequently.  It basically means that I have to use my hind legs more and more.  There is also talk around the barn about some sort of Second Level.  The only other level in the barn is where they keep the extra hay.  I’m waiting to see if we will have horses moving in up there.  Mom and Dad have a second level at their house, so maybe my brother and I are moving.  None of the other horses are telling me much, but they all like to smugly stand along the rail while I have to work with all that metal in my mouth.  Luckily, I don’t have to use it every day.

You might be interested to know that my mane is finally growing back.  I really didn’t mean to scratch out as much as I did this summer, but the tick bite was really itchy.  My mane is at the length now that it looks like a Mohawk.  Cool, huh?  Maybe we can introduce that as a talking point at the union discussions this winter.

If you know anyone who wants to help me with my union formation, please send them my way.  It is awfully hard to type on Mom’s laptop.

Ike