“Thanks so much Stacy for your honesty about what really happens! I really enjoy reading your blogs:) Could you have used a bosal instead of a bit for some of his training?
Happily following you from Williams Lake, BC, Canada-Jen”

Jen- If you watch the video you will see that I did ride Jac a few times in a bosal. I mentioned in the video that I still thought it irritated him but I will go into more detail here.

There are two issues here; physical and mental.

Physically, at least early on, there was still evidence that Jac’s mouth was irritated, even without a bit. When ridden his saliva was occasionally tinged with blood. I don’t know for sure if the riding irritated his mouth; breaking at the poll requires the lower jaw to slide forward. Maybe his mouth was irritated in the stall or in the run too…I don’t know for sure. I stopped poking around all the time because it bothered him I wanted to let it heal.

Mentally, because I didn’t know if riding was irritating him, it became a mental problem for me.

Sigmund Freud once stated, “A man with a toothache cannot be in love.”

Oddly enough, maybe the best way to say it is, I felt guilty riding him. Guilty because I could be causing him discomfort. The idea that I might be unfair in still riding him changed the way I felt about riding him. The problem with feeling guilty is that you ride like you are guilty.

When I ride I know that there is a mental connection. I am always training the mental as well as the physical horse. If I make Jac push through the pain will he respect me for it? If I disrespect the horses feelings here, can I expect him to give me his ‘extra’ when it really matters?

How do you earn love and respect from a horse?