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What exercises on the ground for collection?
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ivyschex
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 Posted: Tue Feb 16th, 2010 10:16 pm
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Dr. Deb,

I am brand new to this forum.  I have been lurking around and reading different threads and am so happy that I found it.  I also read your article “True Collection.”  I am very interested in natural dressage and classical dressage. 

I have a few questions:

1)      What exercises can be done on the ground (at liberty?) to coil his loins, lift his back, and lift the base of his neck?  I ask this question, because I do have a “trick” horse and I do a lot of work at liberty.

2)      Is this what you call lifting the base of the neck (see following picture)?  I am unsure, but I thought that is what it is supposed to look like, from reading your article and looking at the pictures. 



Sorry about the quality; it is from a video.
3)      When riding, the times I think he is lifting the base of his neck, with his head lowered, the ride gets much bouncier.  Is this right?  Does this mean that he isn’t strong enough to carry a rider while lifting his back?  Or does it just mean that I don’t have a good enough seat?  Or, that he isn’t lifting his back at all?

Thank you so much!

Ivy

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Feb 17th, 2010 03:09 am
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Hi, Ivy, and welcome. Glad to see you're out there having fun in the snow. I grew up in Illinois and then lived for years in Kansas, so how well I remember it....well, it definitely does not have to put a damper on riding, at least up to the point where your toes freeze.

As to your questions: first off, good, you did your homework by reading 'True Collection' (and presumably 'Lessons from Woody', which is Part One of the whole concept) before formulating a question.

Yes, the picture shows the horse raising the base of his neck. This is the 'elementary form', very appropriate for horses in the earlier stages of their training, and for any horse at any time -- it's the basic form to return to when no greater effort is being demanded.

The ride gets much 'bouncier' depending on what gait you are in, dear. I assume you mean it is 'bouncy' at a trot, although it is also true that if the horse moves 'round', his back will seem to oscillate more also at a walk and at a canter.

If you are having difficulty in sitting the trot, then you need to go visit with a certified Sally Swift/Centered Riding instructor and get that part straightened out. This program was of very material help to me at one point and I recommend no other for this purpose.

If you can sit the trot quite comfortably on another horse, but not on this horse, the indication then is that he is not a big mover but rather a bad mover. People often complain of WB's that they are difficult to sit because they are 'such big movers', when in fact they are really such bad movers. To begin changing a bad mover into a good mover, you need to do the following:

a. Quit leaning over to the inside on turns, which the photo catches you doing. When you do this, you are inviting your horse to fall onto his inside pair of legs and thus to go crooked (review 'Lessons from Woody'). Sit so that you never lose track of the 'kissing' of your outside seatbone with the saddle and ergo with the horse's outside hind leg. To help yourself do this, use his outside ear as a gun-sight: look up and out over the outside ear, and tell yourself to do this every single time you turn.

b. Learn to twirl the head and untrack the horse (twirl the loins) as the primary means of inducing the release of any brace that might be present in the animal's neck, torso, or haunches.

c. Stay off the rail. Go only short distances along the rail before turning.

d. Make frequent turns to both hands.

e. Cut across the arena in every pattern you can think of.

f. Stop and start often.

g. Get the horse to take the first step after a stop 'consciously', so that it feels to you like he is stepping off uphill rather than level. Stop him immediately that you feel him lean forward and/or take ahold of the rein with a brace in his jaw or neck. Then ask him to start again. Read Mike Schaffer's book "Right from the Start".

h. Learn to back one step at a time, with no backward traction in the reins.

i. Alternate turns on the forehand with turns over the haunches at a walk. Make them all quarter-turns, never go more than a half-turn (never for the first five years, anyway).

....and this should wind up answering your first question as well.

One observation: I would like to be sure that the hackamore you have on there is a real hackamore and not one with a cable core. If it has a cable core, go burn it and get yourself something the horse can live with a little better. Also, I warn you that riding in the Mexican equipment, which has the fiador under the chin, and thus the point of pull under the chin, is far from the easiest way to teach the horse the meaning of the reins. Better instead would be for you to ride him in either a well-fitting snaffle bit or a good sidepull. The best sidepull I've ever seen (I ride in it regularly myself) is made by our student Josh Nichol (http://www.joshnichol.com).

Lastly, remember please that there is -- and can be -- NO SUCH THING as 'natural' dressage. The word 'dressage' means 'straightening'. The natural horse (which means the non-domesticated Przewalski horse or non-domesticated former domesticates, such as mustangs) require no straightening. But when man or woman bestrides a horse, we have in that instant left anything natural behind. There is nothing whatsoever natural about riding, and the very act of getting on the horse induces him to make all kinds of wierd compensations, crookedness being primary among them. Training on the physical level very largely consists of overcoming those very same compensations. The way to do this is definitely not to delude yourself by repeating the mantra of 'natural natural natural' -- that's bullshit. What you do instead is you ride consciously. Everything you do, you commit to doing consciously. When you are conscious, and only then, can you take full responsibility for all outcomes with your horse.

So go read 'Woody' if you haven't and you might as well follow that up with 'Ring of Muscles'. Then use the Google advanced search function to look for the many previous threads in this forum where I have spoken in detail about doing many of the exercises or maneuvers which I mention above -- and that should keep you busy until the snow melts and the mud comes.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Allen Pogue
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 Posted: Wed Feb 17th, 2010 04:31 pm
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Hello Ivy, Dr Deb et.al.

 I will share a picture of my Lusitano colt Senior Unico wearing a well-fitting hackamore.

Note that there is very little space between the top wrap of the mecare and the bars under his chin. There is enough of a gap there to create "the release" when you lower your hand, but not so much that "the action" is sloppy. The reins are thus close to his chin. This bosal also hugs the shape of his nose because the pliable core can easily be molded in your hands

If the bosal is too long and has too many wraps then the balance a feel are quite different and when you pull on one rein it causes the bosal to rotate on the horse's nose (something you do not want). This rotational effect also changes up the feel of your signal. If the bosal is too wide or too stiff to be molded so that it fits on the horse's nose like a hat fits on your head then it will be too loose to give you the best feel.

This 1/2" diameter, 16plait bosal (shown below) measures10.5" long ( from inside the nose piece to the top of the heel knot when the branches are 4.5" wide .

 The nose buttons are 8" apart.

Most generic bosals have nose buttons set 10.5 inches wide (or more) .. the 'modern' thinking is that it keeps the hanger from getting close to the horse's eye. But this wide placement has a detrimental effect to the swinging action (the all important release) of the rig.

Many bosals are made way too long and if 'store bought' there is often no choice in lengths.

Really good bosals are hard to find unless you know where to look and are willing to spend the money for custom-made gear.

 My gal has one made in 1940's by Luis Ortega. it cost $40 then and is worth 50 times that now as a collector's piece. It is as usable today as it was 60 years ago. So the investment in excellent equipment was well worth the money, then and now.

Allen

Attachment: hackamore fit.JPG (Downloaded 1511 times)

Seglawy Jedran
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 Posted: Thu Feb 18th, 2010 04:25 am
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So speaking of twirling the head, and changing the feel down the rein to the bosal, and keeping in mind the recent thread about chiropractic toggling and twirling joints...Is that then what we're doing when we correctly do flexions- fooling the muscles in the poll into releasing, so as to prevent stiffness from the neck traveling down into the back- and up from the loin? Kind of a long question. At a couple of your clinics Dr. Deb I recall you demonstrating head twirling with one hand beside the bridge of the horses nose, and the other pressing the jaw to the inside. Also in one of Buck Brannamans tapes he loops a lead lightly over a fillys nose to get her to flex. Also in the conquerors  on page 60 you have a picture of German Baca asking a horse for flexion, and closeup of  the two reins attached high on the bosal. It seems like the two reins high on the bosal would be the easier to use.
Thanks
 Bruce Peek

Dorothy
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 Posted: Thu Feb 18th, 2010 07:28 am
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Hi Bruce,

There is one big difference that immediately occurs to me regarding toggling and head twirling.

Toggling and head (joint) twirling are very different things. A 'toggle' is a fast, small, very precise impulse - rather like the action of a spring loaded centre punch (though this is a rather crude analogy, but will give you the idea). It is something that the Chiropractor does to the horse, and this then affects the musculature around the targeted joint to promote normalisation of movement.

Head twirling, is a slow movement, which you ask the horse to do, using a very light touch, and the release of the muscles happens when the horse responds to the ask.

Dr Deb, I would also be interested in understanding the 'knock on' effect of the head twirl - it is something I use on many horses, and notice big changes in the them.

Dorothy

 

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Feb 18th, 2010 07:42 am
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Yes, Bruce, that is exactly what I am telling Ivy -- that the Mexican equipment, even when it is of the correctly-made and correctly-fitted type as shown by Allen, is difficult to use because the point of "pull" (even though we aren't really pulling, more like "directing") is under the horse's chin rather than on top of his nose.

If the rider whose horse is tacked up in a Mexican outfit does actually pull on one rein of the mecate, it will obviously tend to turn the horse's head to the opposite direction; in other words, if you pull on the right mecate rein it will turn the horse's forehead to the left. Therefore, this is not the proper way to use Mexican equipment. Mexican equipment cannot be used in any manner by direct pull. To use it, the horse must already have advanced so far as to be entirely guideable first by the Birdie and second by the seat-and-leg. He needs to be very responsive and attentive also.

But this is not where Ivy is at, I think -- rather, if I mistake not, Ivy is like most people who think that you use the Mexican bosal at an early stage in the horse's training or even to start him out. Not so....that's what the snaffle is for, or if you care to, you can substitute a riding cavesson for the snaffle (the Peruvian version of a riding cavesson is what German Baca is using in that photo in Conquerors). In a riding cavesson, the reins are attached at one point over the bridge of the nose, or else at two points to either side of the bridge of the nose. This device is called a 'riding cavesson' in the classical period in northern Europe, but called either a 'cabezon', 'cavezon', or 'bosal' in Spain, Portugal, and all the New World islands and countries where Iberian horses and horsemanship continue to be valued.

What happened in colonial Mexico was that the equipment got turned upside-down on the horse's head, which created new possibilities but also imposed limitations as above outlined.

Most riders who are just beginning to learn how to train horses, or who are trying to bring a horse along, need to stick with either a well-fitted snaffle bit or else a sidepull (which is a riding cavesson) like the one made by Josh Nichol. These make getting the feel of how to twirl the head easy, and they also make it easy for the horse to tell what is wanted of him.

Then later on, if a person wants to raise a horse from a foal and start them themselves and dedicate that horse 100% to riding in the old Buckaroo way, which is one good form of the old Iberian way a la jineta or estradiota, then they can purchase fine 16-plat equipment and a mane-hair mecate and a saddle to match and the whole beautiful outfit of clothing and the silver spurs and gunmetal and silver bit. And if that's what they want to do, then they should certainly go to Buck Brannaman for the specific instruction in how to bring a horse along in the four reins and finish him in the two reins "straight up in the bridle", which would be some form of Chileno or Spade bit. But let's not do some kind of ersatz of this, pretending that it's real, by going down to the local tack shop and buying an 8-plat cable-core and riding the horse in that, because that is just a crummy "costume" that no real horseman would have any respect or use for. 

Besides Mexican equipment, any equipment with shanks will make the task of teaching the horse to twirl its head difficult or impossible. As Allen points out, the crummy cable-core "bosals" sold to the horse-show market always have the lower branches of the nosepiece WAY too long, so they hang down like a big "bit shank". So just as Allen says, the mecate is tied too low, the thing swings around and rubs the nose, and it also acts exactly like a long bitshank. The lower below the mouth the point of attachment of the rein, the more "opposite" the pull is going to be. It is almost impossible to get a horse that does not ALREADY know how to twirl its head to figure out what you want if you are riding in any bit with shanks or with a "shanked" crummy-type Mexican bosal.

And yes, you can certainly teach yourself and your horse how to twirl the head by doing it on the ground using nothing but your hands. I attach photos to remind you how that's to be done....I don't think a photo is as good as being right there with the teacher, but Linda Bertani took these and they're pretty good, so maybe they'll be of some help.

And Dorothy, I just noticed your post -- great point about the chiro doing things TO the horse vs. the horseman doing things WITH the horse. Again and again I repeat: THE ONE AND ONLY REASON TO TWIRL THE HEAD IS TO INDUCE THE HORSE TO RELEASE ANY BRACE.

But I have no idea what you mean by 'knock on'. -- Dr. Deb


Attachment: Head Twirl Demo Dr Deb adj2 copy cprsd.jpg (Downloaded 1478 times)

Last edited on Thu Feb 18th, 2010 07:54 am by DrDeb

Dorothy
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 Posted: Thu Feb 18th, 2010 11:36 am
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Hi Dr Deb,

I am wondering what wider, indirect consequences there are of head twirling. I appreciate that the head twirl itself eliminates bracyness in the muscles surrounding the OA joint, but what other muscles and areas might it influence?  So, does head twirling lead to decreasing bracyness in the dorsal neck muscles or even the dorsal back muscles for example?

thankyou,

Dorothy

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Feb 18th, 2010 06:25 pm
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Yes, over time. The effect tends to become more global the more times it is done correctly. Eventually it will percolate not only all the way down the neck and back, but right down to the posterior end of the topline, which is the sole of the hind foot.

With emphasis on "correctly":

-- no pulling, pushing, shoving, cranking, hurry, impatience, anger, ambition, or desire to show anybody else how far around your horse can move his head.

-- note the VERY SMALL amount of pressure or grip being applied by my left hand in the photos -- so little that my fingers are softly curled all the time.

-- learn to wait for the horse. Apply your hands in the correct places, exert 5 ozs. pressure -- enough for him to know that you do want something -- and WAIT. Note how it took the horse I am working on in the photo probably 15 sec. to (a) realize what I wanted (first photo) (b) get to an emotional spot where he could acquiesce to it (this is what he is working on in the middle photo) (c) get himself released (third photo).

This last part is the most important. -- Dr. Deb

Dorothy
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 Posted: Thu Feb 18th, 2010 06:38 pm
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Thank you!

Its really helpful to see the sequence of photos together with your descriptions.

Dorothy

Allen Pogue
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 Posted: Sun Feb 21st, 2010 03:23 pm
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The Californio/Vaquero 'Look'

 Hi Folks,

 I am going to share with you a picture of one of our Lusitano geldings wearing equipment that gives him the look of a horse being trained in the Californio style.

 A slick fork Wade tree saddle, a one-of-a-kind reproduction of an antique Navaho wool saddle blanket,  a two-rein bridle outfit with the horse packin' an inlaid silver Garcia spoon spade and a small bosalito and light horsehair mecate.

 The fun part of this is not having the gear just for a photo opportunity, but using and enjoying it out of respect for the both the horse and the tradition.

Allen

 FYI .. That being said, comin' from Texas I can't quite wrap my head around the flat hats, wild rag and chinks that would complete the look.

Attachment: Uno Feb 2010.JPG (Downloaded 1360 times)

ivyschex
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 Posted: Sun Feb 28th, 2010 06:51 pm
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Dr. Deb and all,

Thanks for the feedback!  I have another quick question.  I read through your other two articles: "Lessons from Woody" and "The Ring of Muscles Revisited".  My question is about the ring of muscles.  You say that we don't want any of the muscles lying above the vertebral chain contracted.  Rather we want those muscles "passive."  If this is the case, wouldn't endotapping be helpful to keeping those muscles relaxed.  By endotapping, I refer to the method which used a whip with a soft foam ball on the end to tap rhythmically on the horse's different muscle groups to relax them.

I know that Allen Pogue uses this method.

Thanks,

Ivy

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Feb 28th, 2010 09:09 pm
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Endotapping is a variant of a technique sometimes used by chiropractors and/or muscle therapists. You can do that if you like but I think your time is much better spent simply learning how to ride well. When the well-ridden horse moves through the repertory of exercises, that is all that is necessary to relax/release the muscles that ought to be passive, and all that is necessary to develop muscles that require development for the animal to carry a rider in comfort, beautifully, over the long span of years and miles. I don't do, and I don't need to do, any therapeutic technique other than 'riding the horse sound'.

This is what my concept of 'perjustice' is all about, Ivy. I came up with that idea many years ago -- in the early 1990's -- to express the whole art and science of using the act of riding to improve, rather than to degrade, a horse's soundness. I was surprised and amused when I met Allen and we were sitting in his living room talking, to hear him say he had thought of the same thing. I don't know what Allen calls it, if indeed he ever chose a name, but it is inevitable I believe that thoughtful and skillful horsemen should all eventually arrive at this.

I coined the name 'perjustice' with some care. For one thing, in horseback riding we have already plenty of terminology, so that adding terms should not be done without careful consideration. Once I had decided that a new term was needed, I coined the word thusly:

'per' -- a prefix meaning 'thoroughgoing' -- 'penetrating' or 'soaking through'

'justi--' -- a root meaning 'to straighten or to be straight' -- hence 'justice' the common word, which means to deal 'straight' or fairly; 'to justify' as a ream of paper, meaning to square it up and straighten it out.

Hence the meaning of the whole term 'perjustice' is: 'to make straight in a thoroughgoing manner', and I do intend the secondary meaning also, 'to make straight from the heart'.

One of the main reasons I coined this term was as a replacement for the word 'dressage' used as a noun. The original French word 'dresser' as used in the classical literature is a VERB -- a description of a PROCESS -- and it meant 'to straighten', 'to prepare' -- certainly NOT 'to train' -- to make it mean that, you have to stretch it past where any dictionary would permit you to go.

So that, when William Cavendish/The Duke of Newcastle wrote his horsemanship treatise at the time of the English Civil War, the title was 'Une Nouvelle Methode de Dresser Une Cheval': "A new method for straightening horses" or "A new method for preparing horses". I prefer the former, since the 'nouvelle methode' was actually Newcastle's invention of the draw rein which, as he explicitly and repeatedly instructs, is NEVER to be used with both hands but always on one side at a time only. You will understand then if you have read 'Woody' why this would be important to straightening -- although we today do not need draw reins for this purpose.

'Dressage' used as a noun does not begin until James Fillis comes along in the 1890's. Mashing the old process-word into noun form made of it 'a thing', which greatly helped people to forget that it meant 'to straighten'; they then began to be confused enough to think that 'dressage' meant 'a style of riding'. Using the term in noun form also helped people forget that getting the horse straight is the first step in creating him as a good riding horse, and that no horse can be a good riding horse unless it is first made straight. Indeed it dulled people entirely to the idea that every good riding horse is a work of art that is brought along, like a sculpture, one tap of the hammer at a time -- this is the nature of process. Today they many people are even silly and thoughtless enough to speak of some poor nag as being 'a dressage horse', 'a reining horse', 'a hunter-jumper'. Ask the horse himself about that! He is just a horse, that's all, even if the USDF 'certifies' him at some 'level' that has no existence anywhere other than in their made-up rulebook!

So Ivy, not only am I going to repeat to you the most important thing that I said previously -- which was -- there is no such thing as 'natural' in horsemanship; I am also going to add to that by telling you that there certainly cannot be any such thing as 'natural dressage', for the very reason that 'dressage' is not a thing, 'dressage' in noun form is a mere chimaera.

I have not insisted that my students refer to what they are doing as 'perjustice' or 'perjustifying', and I haven't heavily pushed the term into the industry vocabulary, although you will find it used in certain documents in the Institute main website. I would be just as happy to see you use the term 'buckaroo horsemanship' if that's the outfit you want to ride in, or else if you ride in English tack then 'high school' or 'high schooling'. If you ride in a Portuguese bullfighter's coat or any 18th-century costume and have a Lippy, an Andy, a Portuguese breed, or any horse that looks like one, then you'll probably want to tell people you're doing 'haute ecole'. All these terms mean the same thing: 'perjustice', 'buckaroo horsemanship', 'old Californio horsemanship', 'high school', 'classical high school', and 'haute ecole'. They begin to differ only in detail and only after the installation of an identical set of basics.

They are totally at odds with, and irreconcileable with, 'dressage' or 'competitive dressage', the sport that uses the word 'dressage' as a noun. By saying 'irreconcileable' I mean you can't practice both dressage and perjustice; they are completely incompatible.

So there is no 'natural', Ivy, and I certainly hope there is no 'dressage' in your life, either.

You didn't tell us, after all the information and discussion that you thought so good, whether your bosal has a cable core or not, or whether, if it does, you have plans to replace it either with good equipment or with equipment in some other style. It really is great, I think, when students who write in here actually do take the time to read, study, and try what has been suggested. -- Dr. Deb

Indy
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 Posted: Sun Feb 28th, 2010 10:10 pm
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Does anyone have a good picture of the side pull that Josh Nichol sells? I looked at his website and couldn't find a full picture of what it actually looks like where the reins attach or the underneath part. It looks like it is made from high quality materials and people speak highly of them.
Clara

ivyschex
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 Posted: Sun Feb 28th, 2010 10:18 pm
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Dr. Deb,

>>You didn't tell us, after all the information and discussion that you thought so good, whether your bosal has a cable core or not, or whether, if it does, you have plans to replace it either with good equipment or with equipment in some other style. It really is great, I think, when students who write in here actually do take the time to read, study, and try what has been suggested.

The one I am currently using is a cable core.  I would love nice soft rawhide core or a nice sidepull, however, I do not have the funds right now to get those.  I do take donations though! 

I am reluctant to ride Jackson in a bit now in the winter.  I will probably use one when the weather is much warmer.  When I get the money, I plan on purchasing a sidepull to ride in. 

Thanks,

Ivy

kindredspirit
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 Posted: Sun Feb 28th, 2010 10:37 pm
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ivyschex wrote: , I do not have the funds right now to get those.  I do take donations though! 

I am reluctant to ride Jackson in a bit now in the winter.  I will probably use one when the weather is much warmer.  When I get the money, I plan on purchasing a sidepull to ride in. 

Thanks,

Ivy


Ivy thanks for the guffaw, about the funds. I am with you there cowgirl!  To help with the cold weather issues, I take hot water out and put my bit in it, by the time I am done grooming etc the bit is nicely warmed for the horse's mouth.  I have a friend that keeps a blow dryer out in his barn for this purpose.

Best,

Kathy


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