haha yes. And old habits die hard - I learned with the previous two horses to PUSH PUSH PUSH forward when I'm nervous about a fence because they were both very lazy and would stop if they knew I wasn't 100% committed, whereas Monty will jump it no matter what and it's a totally different set of skills that I need with him. I do still sometimes need the leg on/more go if he takes exception to a particular filler but I find it's more a case of correct half-halts and not unintentionally pushing him forward through force of habit.
The bit makes a big difference because I know I can stop him if I really have to, no matter what, without ripping his face off. If I'm not nervous I don't push him forward. It's a vicious cycle because the forward is what makes me nervous in the first place.
My coach was dead against it when I mentioned it to him but it's made such a difference to ME and it's really no harsher on Monty's mouth. In fact if anything it's a more simple action than that of the French link snaffle, spread over more parts of his head, so thinking about it, it could well be softer. But we have more controlled canter and much easier transitions in it so whatever the action, the results are there.
I would like to have him back in the French link for jumping but first off I have to fix my issues. I don't trust him in a snaffle because I've had a nasty fall off him, so I end up pulling on him, which just gives him something to pull against and it makes him worse. With the kimblewick I'm able to release my half-halts without freaking out and that makes all the difference.
I don't know about you but I'd rather be more comfortable in a perceived harsher bit than scared witless in a soft one.
The REAL test will come tomorrow. Well... later today. It's 10 to 1 in the morning so I really should go to bed! Anyway. I'll be riding him along the verge of a busy highway, and that verge just so happens to closely resemble a cross country course. He LOVES cross country, even more than he loves jumping. Should be interesting to see how we go.
A CLEAN SLATE FOR THE FUTURE