Well I decided to jump the gun and just see how things went. And they turned out better than expected! I posted the other day about the prerequisites to bridling, but when I got into the round pen I felt inspired to give it a try without the extra steps. Surprise! So I just put the halter around her neck so I had something to hold onto, then put my arm over her head (which she generously lowered) holding the bridle. Then I used my left hand to hold the bit and open her lips. She opened her mouth in addition to her lips and I smoothly brought the bit into her mouth. A few quick adjustments and I let her wander around. The bit is too wide, so I will be looking for a narrower one soon.
She chewed on the bit and tried to make it fall out. Then she tried coughing it out (leftover snacks came out instead). She tried rubbing it off on my leg. She tried rubbing her nose in the mud. Then stuck her mouth in the mini-lake in the round pen. About 10 minutes later she got bored with chewing, and decided to try and eat some weeds. She was very awkward trying to chew, and I guess she either figured it out or gave up.
I was really impressed with her intelligence!! Although she did want to visit the other horses and continue teasing the geldings.
Well other trainers might have suggested this be the end, but Jellybean was so chill I decided to push the envelope. I borrowed the vaulting surcingle and some reins from the tackroom, and set up a long lining exercise. The full check snaffle is especially useful for this exercise, because the bit cannot be pulled through her mouth and it spreads the pressure out better than a D-ring or O-ring.
I pulled left or right, and while she was confused at first, she remembered this exercise with the halter and figured it out!
And finally, just because I think Jellybean is awesome, I wanted to see if she was normally as sweet as when she was drugged. I brought Jellybean over to the gate and eventually (after she stood still enough) sat on her bareback. I didn’t use the reins for direction, I just clucked at her to make her go forward. This almost worked, until she walked to the middle of the water puddle and wanted to sniff other horses… I saw the writing on the wall and pulled one rein to make her turn and move. After a few more minutes and some pawing in the water (!!!) I hoped off safely away from the mud. And thus ended our excellent training session!
On another note, I came across this blog about a mare who needed some lovin’ and thought I would pass it along! I think Jellybean will be like this when she gets older.