Finally got out with Mia and the split reins. The bit we used today:
My thoughts from this afternoon:
1 - She necks reins much better with split reins. As in maybe 3-4 times more responsive for a given movement of my hands. My theory is that when I move my hand the the left, the left reins that goes over and hangs down her right side is pulled up along her shoulder, so even a small movement of my hand sends a big
signal to her.
2 - Since she was more responsive to neck reining, it made it easier for me to ride with one hand. However, I used two several times and she seemed relaxed either way.
3 - I tried using the free end as a whip to hit MY leg, not her - figured popping her would get more of a reaction than I wanted. The result? Instead of a canter, I got a gallop...but only for about a 1/4 lap. Then she slowed into a canter. That means she is much calmer than she used to be, but that I really don't need to think about smacking her on the rump! If I had tried that, we might have jumped our first fence...and gone exploring in Mexico.
4 - Overall, she acted quite content with herself at the end of the ride. Of course, Mia is usually
quite content with herself at the end of the ride. She may figure I
screwed up, but never her.
I was thinking of removing the metal snaps and attaching the bit directly to the leather, but when I took the bridle off, I think the extra weight surprised her. She jerked her head and smacked her teeth against the bit. It didn't seem prudent to stop there, so I used the rope halter to hold her head and PRIED her mouth open and put the bit back in. We did a few in & outs to make sure she understood that it wasn't a monster in her mouth, and called it a night:
Overall, I liked riding like that and need to try her on a trail. I'll leave the metal snaps for now and detach them before removing the bridle. One of the LAST things I need is for her to get nervous about dropping the bit!
Also - I was trying out an extra-thin rope halter. I liked it. It is very thin under her bridle, but helps out if she decides to jerk her head and pop her teeth on bit removal. It was nice to just turn her head back to me and say, "Let's try that again...". It would also work for when I need to pull cactus spines out of her leg on a trail ride.