Would you do this if a client requested it...?
I have someone at the barn who I have been riding their horse for them. The horse is green. I have had nothing but a smooth snaffle on him for months, as I do with every horse unless I am specifically trying to work on something that requires them to be up in the bridle or unless I am prepping them to be in the bridle.
Well today, I was riding the colt, he was great, he really is a little joy. A typical ridiculously goofy and lanky baby but willing and sincere in the way he acts when ridden. The owner came and watched me. I explained everything I was doing, how I was teaching him to engage his hind end and move off my leg and finally how he was starting to learn to neck rein. He can haunch turn, forehand turn, sidepass, do simple lead changes, expanded forehand turns, speed transitions, things like that.
She took that and ran with it! She claimed that if he is learning how to neck rein, there is no reason why I can't start putting him in a curb bridle. I tried explaining to her that even though he is doing very well with the neck rein he is still not ready for the curb and also that he can neck rein just as well in a snaffle as he would in the curb. She didn't seem to care. She is basically demanding that I move him up into the bridle. I really do not think that is a good move.
The head trainer at the barn is not aware of this, I did not have time to call her today and she was not around. I will be telling her first thing in the morning because after the long conversation with the lady she seems to think she knows better than me. I may be much younger than her but I know what is best for that colt...And he is the type that will get intimidated by a stronger bit. I really don't think in this stage he should come out of the snaffle.
What do you guys think? Would you let the lady have her way and put him in a curb? Or should I put my foot down and keep him in a snaffle? The conversation was left open ended but I never agreed to put him in the shank bit, nor do I really intend on it unless someone can change my mind...
If and when I did move him up I would play it nice. Either my Jr. Cowhorse that has a roller on it, or my short shank bit with a Billy Allen mouthpiece. Neither are harsh bits at all, but I still don't think it's time for him to meet them yet...
It is her horse and it doesn't seem like she's hired you as a trainer so it's really either her or the trainer's call. She willingly lets you ride the horse so you've got to respect her wishes if you want to keep riding him.
If she has hired you as the trainer then you need to explain to her that you are doing what's best for him and when you feel he needs to switch to a different bit you'll do it then and not a moment before he's ready.
There's a couple of ways this could play out: You do as requested and put the youngster in a curb or you stand your ground and make the move when you're ready. If move to the curb early you risk skipping over vital foundation work and if you refuse you risk losing the horse (as in a trainee). I suspect however you already have your decision and it's based on what any good trainer, who has the best interests of his/her horse in mind, would do. Best of luck with it and let us know the outcome.
How old is he? What are her plans for him? I guess it's really her call. But you could try to explain how soft he is in the snaffle, how much work you've been able to do with him, and how you feel like there's still more to do in the snaffle before he "graduates." Kinda make it her idea. Let her know that he should neck rein in a snaffle before adding the curb. Shoot, if he rides fine in the snaffle, why switch to a curb unless she's gonna show him (which is why I asked her plans.)
Thats part of life. Stand your ground and loose the job, or keep the job and compromise your principles.
Only you can answer that. I will say one thing. A trainers word of mouth reputation is everything. What happens if you switch bits? will the horse develop bad problems that will suddenly be your fault ? If so I would hand her the reins and walk away.
I have to wonder that if this lady knows so much, why she isn't riding/training the horse herself? I think I would definetly stick to what you think is best, unless you get a good explanation from the head trainer as to why it may be better to bump him up.
Thanks guys. She has not showed up at the barn yet today (I'm on break, :lol:) but I did tell our head trainer and she confirmed my belief that I need to keep him in a snaffle and if she continues to argue I should direct the lady back to her to deal with. Certainly glad to hear that she is on my side.
As for the plans for the colt, he will be a reining horse. He is already a wonderful horse. He is only three which means there is no reason for him to be in a curb, especially at the level she wishes to show him at. He has two years to be in the snaffle still until he will HAVE to show in a curb, which he will be more than ready for long before he actually has to.
This is a definite 'pass the buck' situation. Send her to the head trainer to explain why these horses are kept in snaffle and/or bosal for 5 years. Especially since the head trainer is on your side, it's going to be fairly easy and if she decides to try to find a new trainer, it won't be your fault. That's one of the ways it's nice when you're not the boss!
^^ Yeah, for sure...
I'm lucky in the sense that a lot of the people who get their horses ridden here are pretty understanding and accepting, but every now and then you get some people who I swear are just there to make life a little more difficult....:lol:
LOL! Yep! I had a friend who, though she owned horses, was not a horsewoman by any stretch of the imagination. She was a 'fad follower'. She read the horse advice columns all the time and if Parelli said it, or Lyons said it, it must be applied to every horse in every situation because, of course, THEY were the best. She'd watch me working a horse and start, "Well, I read that Parelli says..........", I'd just shut my ears. Not that they don't have merit, but I read too and I apply what I think will work without being a slave to it. She didn't do anything with her horses, but by God, she was gonna tell me how to work mine.......Yeah......not so much! :twisted:
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