Training in earnest started this week on Mitch, my Quarter Horse gelding , who turned 3 yrs old yesterday. All horses have their birthday on Jan. 1st, so although Mitch's real birthday isn't until April, he will be competing this year in the NRHA Futurities held throughout the Southeast.
Up until Monday he had been ridden in a snaffle for is basic training as a 2 year old but it is now time to advance to a shanked snaffle to prepare him for a curb bit later this year. In two days he went from being the calmest most accepting colt I have ever had the joy to work with into a stubborn head shaking demon that scared the heck out of me! Although Allie, his jockey, felt we could work through the problem, I was envisioning having to sell him! He would bend easily to the right but would throw a major tantrum if asked to bend left in a turn around and start pitching his head and almost rearing. When we got back to the barn Friday evening I was hugging him and looked down and saw a welt and blood on his lip just where the bit rests!
I checked the bit and realised that where the mouth piece of the snaffle met the shanks was very narrow and not completely smooth. It was obviousely pinching him on the left side. Poor baby! Yesterday we went back into the snaffle and had no problems at all. He was happy to bend both ways, ears forward and very relaxed. And boy can he spin!
So LESSON OF THE DAY! If a horse suddenly starts acting out of character check for pain first! Check your tack and his body for the problem before you blame his behaviour! I know THIS, yet I didn't check!!
and NEVER try to save money by buying the cheapest!