To Double Bridle or Not to Double Bridle?
So I've been weighing the option to put my pony in a double bridle. Not because I'm about to just jump a few levels and start showing 3rd level but because I feel it would be a good training tool in helping to settle some of her confusion she gets about how far under herself I really want her, and help guide her into the correct type of collection.
Now I wouldn't usually suggest this but my horse is a little long-backed and struggles sometimes to get her hind end underneath her but can ride like a bull sometimes now that she knows how to push into the bridle (she gives me the push I feel when riding upper-level full-sized horses). So I feel like it would help her progression and education without teaching her she can run through her rubber-covered baucher.
Part of the reason I'm coming to this conclusion is that I use a 3-ring elevator for jumping and when I work her in that she seems to understand everything I ask her and is capable of giving me things like an FEI-quality medium trot. She seems to understand how much she needs to come up underneath herself and how up she needs to be in front but I don't want to overuse that bit because I need it for jumping and x-c.
Now, before someone jumps down my throat about taking the "easy route". I do dressage 4-5 days a week with my pony, she's perfectly capable of getting in a frame and accepting the bit. She does a lot of lateral work including: walking & trotting shoulder-in, walking & trotting half pass (has shown some aptitude for the canter half pass), half and full walking pirouettes, she has had some trouble with the travers (haunches-in) but can do them at the walk and is starting to be able to do them at the trot (this I somewhat attribute to her not exactly knowing where her hind end should be because she will do them in the elevator), she can leg yield at the walk and trot, and I can even do fun things like halfpass to X and then leg yield to the rail so she's pretty adjustable through the body. I've put in lots of dressage hours on this horse. :wink:
I just feel like she needs the extra support to improve her balance and adjustability at the canter because she's got so much push into the bridle it's hard to collect it all if she get's confused and starts to rush and brace.
I have ridden in a double bridle before, I know how careful you have to be. I've spent a lot of time sitting around stumped about this decision because I don't want to overbit her and have her go back to being extremely backed off but I think this might really be helpful if used in moderation as a way of assisting her normal snaffle bridle training.
I prefer a double bridle over using a pelham bit. You're biggest decision is how much curb.
I school in a snaffle all the time. The only reason I own a double bridle is because its required at shows. There is a reason that the double bridle is not allowed to be used in competition before third level, and even then I have gotten positive comments riding my horse in third and fourth in a snaffle. I would suggest taking some lessons to help resolve the issue without bitting up.
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I have taken lessons, and she still does it then. The issue isn't being resolved or I wouldn't be considering a double bridle for occasional use. She's had a lot of issues at the canter since before I bought her. So schooling her once or twice a week in a double bridle until she develops the muscle and muscle memory might actually improve her dressage as a whole.
Also anebel you do realize that a double bridle isn't "required" anymore right? Check out the USEF rules "For FEI tests ridden at national competitions, a plain snaffle bridle or simple double bridle may be used, as described above in DR121.2-.3." Pulled right out of their 2012 rules under DR121.
Check the FEI rules. It is still required for FEI sanctioned events ;)
You might be inclined to try something different before the double if the methods you are using right now are not working. Try a clinic or riding with a different coach maybe. Good luck!
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If you're preparing for 3rd level, I think it is a good idea to try out the double bridle just to see how it goes, mostly so you can decide if you want to show in it or not. Nothing wrong with a little experimentation. I have been riding a mare that I'm planning to show at 3rd Level this year. I like schooling the flying changes in the double because she likes to go faster instead of changing, and I can correct her much more subtly in the double than I can in the snaffle. (Bringing the hands up to engage the curb briefly versus hauling on the snaffle.) I only ride with the double when I'm in a lesson so that I don't rely on it and learn to use my seat and legs better. I know this can differ from horse to horse. I have a limited experience with using a double bridle so far, so this is just my opinion.
A double bridle is required at CDI shows/international events.
"For FEI tests ridden at national competitions, a plain snaffle bridle or simple double bridle may be used, as described above in DR121.2-.3." as stated by the USDF. FEI is only PSG and above though. So it's not "required" for 3rd or 4th level.
She's actually working on 1st level, but we spend a lot of time working on upper level movements because she knows how to do them and is talented enough to do them. Really her canter is the only thing holding her back, and it shouldn't be, because she's got an excellent canter. She get's 8s on her departs but then winds up hollowing out and rushing. It's not a strength thing, but there's no way to "muscle" my horse into staying round when she's strong enough to panic and blow through her bit.
I used to ride her in a Nathe bit and rode her with a lot less impulsion (and she'd still occasionally panic and run through the bit) but I'd rather be riding her correctly (forward with impulsion) and work on bringing her round through leg and having the control I need to ask her to half-halt (before it becomes a full on run/hollow out) rather than letting her keep doing it over and over and risk back injury.
You're right, you can't muscle a horse into doing anything. But if you learn to have better timing and are faster than her, then you can teach her to stay round in the canter without bitting up, or muscling her around. There is also a reason the tests progress the way they do. As riders we need to correctly develop the horse's collection before doing the "tricks".
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Well for most horses it works that way, but I've found that my pony functions a bit differently. To get her moving off my leg without resistance we spend a lot of time doing lateral work, which helps her and her slightly long back get her hind legs up under her a bit easier.
Now I'm not asking this question because I want a quick cheat. I'm asking because she seems to be that "special case" where, in this particular instance, it might be beneficial, whereas most of the time it wouldn't be. She seems to work better if I achieve things from the top down rather than the bottom up (like a normal horse).
What does your trainer think of you trying a double? I think it's difficult for us to give you a quick or anything type of fix through the interwebs since we don't know your horse. ;) I don't think there's any harm in trying.
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