As I was helping a student tack up this morning, and I was holding the bit (a Full Cheek bit) in my bare hands, to take the chill off of it–I was dreaming of warmer weather. Have I ever mentioned that I want to move to Florida and become a wealthy heiress? So as my mind is drifting back to warmer summer days. I remembered two incidents with Full Cheek bits that makes me HATE them.
The job interview
When I was interviewing for my first job as an apprentice in a Hunter/Jumper barn I was asked to tack up a horse for the head instructor. How hard could that be? I was young, but still pretty dang good at tacking up. I was nervous though, and wanted to make a really good impression. Things were going well. UNTIL the bridle. I accidentally catch the “spikey” part of the bit in the poor horses nostril on the right hand side !!!
Now I can’t see that, but the horse is now fussing and not at all happy. I’m struggling to get the crown piece up over the horses ears. Which isn’t happening and the horse is getting more and more upset ! Finally I go to the other side, and see what I’ve done, and quickly fix it. The head instructor is scowling at me. I’m thinking ‘great–not getting this gig’. That was the start of my HATING Full Cheek bits. On a side note–I DID GET THE APPRENTICESHIP !!
My 2nd “adventure” with the Full Cheek, came at a Rated Hunter Show. I was coaching a young rider on one of my lesson ponies. Yes, the pony had a Full Cheek Snaffle on. I was standing very near the pony, going over some last minute course pointers with the rider. It was a HOT summer day and I had a sleeveless blouse on. The PONY leans over to rub on me. The “spikey” thing of the Full Cheek snaffle, catches in the armhole of my shirt.
Of course feeling her face caught the pony immediately starts to pull back. And there were a few moments that I’m thinking ‘my shirt is going to b ripped right off of me, here in the middle of this VERY BUSY show !! Fortunately I was able to make some quick and agile moves to free myself from the clutches of this DANGEROUS bit! So yes, I Hate Full Cheek Snaffles. As I’m writing this I’m wondering ‘ Why do I still have any in my barn???’
Do you love ’em or hate ’em?