I had the great pleasure to ride with my friend Teresa at her house today. It was the first time I'd ridden Liberty since last week's clinic and I had him in his bit, which I'm not sure he likes too much. It was going to be a slow paced ride, so it was a good chance for me to practice a lot of what I learned in the Dr. Deb clinic, but I wasn't counting on how the wind and a couple of beginner riders would throw off my birdie and Liberty's too. We did do some nice flexing and I got to practice winding him down when he skittered off at a too fast trot. I was not at all happy with my stopping skills over logs. I have gotten used to having a pretty good handle on him on the trail and riding him in a bit, out in the open, felt like I had nothing on his head at all...and I didn't like the feeling. I think I will continue to school in the bit, both on the trail in slow, controllable situations, but I will be using my s hack on the trail in competition. I'm also thinking of looking into getting a Jim Warner hackamore, which comes highly recommended and supposedly has more "bit like" qualities...though I'm sure it's really just another curb based hackamore. I did ride in the sidepull for a little while too. It was more the feel I'm used to, but I discovered if I accidentally put both reins on together, he would toss his head...something he had not done in a long time.
I do understand that I have to retrain him to work for me in one of these bridles, and that it's evidently not going to be very easy. I just don't really like that to ride classically and to do the right thing I'm having to give up on the one "bit"--the s hack--that I felt worked the best of all my tools I have used to far. It would be so much easier to just continue and not try to change. However, having seen the results of last weekend, I don't want that to be my answer.