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  • Clare Long

(Full-Length) Bridling Introduction and Overview

(The Power of Treats):

"But mostly what I want to show you guys is the power of treats. I love the Mrs. Pastures Horse Cookies. I feel like they're the best cookies on the market. Yes, they're a little more expensive, but I think they're the best tasting cookies on the market and the horses love them. They're very easy to work with. They don't go bad like apples and carrots. When I first start bridling these guys, I give them the two Mrs. Pastures Cookies, and then I put the bridle on. What happens after a couple weeks or a short period of time is that the horse or pony equates the bit with cookies and they can't wait, they can't wait to put that bit in their mouth. They love the bit because they equate it with cookies. Now, eventually you can stop giving them the cookies if you want, because the training's already been done and they can't wait to open their mouth for the bit. But I like to sweeten the deal. So my guys do get two Mrs. Pastures Horse Cookies when I put their bridles on. So here we go for the beginning of our little bridle section. For bridling, just pop the halter off and give him two cookies. Just let him chew for a moment. I'm going to show you different ways of putting the bridle on, but I want you to see the power of the cookies. Because of the cookies, you can just dangle the bit in front of their mouth and they just take it. It's marvelous because you have a horse or a pony that looks forward to the bit, and all of you, I'm positive, have run up against horses and ponies that won't take a bit. In a minute, I'm going to show you what I call the baby horse style of putting a bridle on and that will help you so much with the horses that don't want to take a bit. But if you give them the two cookies and they have that idea in their head, you can just hover the bit in front of their mouth and they just gobble up the bit and it becomes a really, really good experience. I'm going to do it with the rest of my four sale horses for you guys today, just so that you can see it's not just Twirl. All of my guys take the bit like that. Even my horses that come to me and won't take a bit, after I work with them for a couple weeks, they can't wait to take the bit."

(Putting the Bridle on): "Okay, this is Sebastian. You guys all remember Sebastian, you've seen him like this with me, hugging on me. We're continuing with the bridling so you guys can see that with my technique all of them can't wait to take the bit. Not just Twirl, but all of them can't wait to take the bit. So as we go to Sebastian, when I put the bridle on, two Mrs. Pastures Horse Cookies go in, you can throw the reins over if you want. It's totally fine. Totally fine to throw the reins over, no problems at all. Then your horse can't leave if they want to. He hasn't been groomed yet. Once the cookies are in, just show them the bit. I mean, how great is that, really? They can't wait to take the bit. Now, if you're hard and fast against cookies, this becomes a little tricky. Maybe just use cookies for the bit or if your horse already likes the bit, fabulous, wonderful, done deal. But if you're fighting with the horse about the bit, I highly recommend that at least for a period of time, you give them a few treats. When you put the bit in, they can't wait to take the bit. We already went through the parts of the bridle. This is a flash. Remember this is a dressage bridle. This is a flash noseband, we're just not using the bottom part of the flash. When I close the cavesson/noseband, I just want it to be snug enough that it doesn't bounce on him, but not so snug that it feels restrictive. Then the throat latch and then you just close the throat latch. There you go." (Next horse): "So Dom is sporting his new winter coat, which is a gorgeous liver. Look at how dark he is. Again, they haven't been groomed yet. I just wandered in to put bridles on, but he's turning this amazing, super dark liver chestnut and the reason he is digging around is I put the treats in my pocket because it's part of my technique. So go in, you can throw the reins over there. Cookies shouldn't be in the pocket, give them the cookies. Two Mrs. Pastures. Wait a moment for them to chew it up and then show them the bit, and it just slips right in. You see, it's not just one horse, all of my horses take the bits like that. I'm proving that all of my horses take the bit like that. Then the same thing, we don't have to do it again, but make sure the browband is straight not pinching his ears. Make sure the noseband is straight." (Taking the bridle off):

"When you take the bridle off, undo the noseband, cavesson, undo the throat latch. Now this is really, really important: do not yank the bit out of their mouths, horse comfort 101. When you take the bridle off, don't yank it out of their mouths, let the horse spit it out. Take it from the crown piece and just let him spit it out. Just lower it very gradually so it doesn't clunk his teeth. One more time, taking the bridle off, let them spit it out. Don't leave the straps closed. Undo the throat latch, undo the cavesson/noseband, grab the crown, pop it over his cute little ears and then lower it letting him spit it out. If you hear a clank, you're not doing it right. Don't clank their teeth when the bridle comes off, you want the horse to want to wear the bridle. We want the horse to be comfortable, right? So don't make them uncomfortable by yanking the bit out and clanking their teeth. It's going to discourage them from wanting to wear the bit tomorrow. Let them spit it out. Done."


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