Today I worked with Mercury in a Hackamore for the first time. I did this because the dentist came last week and told me that although he would be fine, he was had a lot of teething going on (being 3 1/2 this made sense). He said for about the next 2 months or so, he would have a lot of changes in his mouth.
Mercury is well started in his training, Walk, Trot, Canter, Poles, lateral work etc. He had been doing great until about 2 weeks ago. I noticed increased tension (see previous blog about his girth issue) around saddling, bucking and (this is a new one) excessive yawning and I mean excessive (repeatedly like 10 times throughout the ride). I found out that the yawning is a way horses will release tension sometimes. He also started flipping his nose when he felt contact with the bit.
Anyway, I dealt with the girth thing and he was better but still yawning, flipping his head, and not quite relaxed. The dentist came and talked to me about his teeth. I thought hmmm...teething, that must be uncomfortable. I went out and got a hackamore this morning and tried it out. What did I learn?
I had the best ride on him I've ever had! He was relaxed (once he got used to it) and he was softer in his body then I had ever been able to get him. He didn't buck at all,there was no head flipping and he did not yawn once! So we'll see about transitioning back to a bit in a few months. In the mean time, He gets a hackamore and we get to enjoy our time together again.
FDT and Mercury
FYI: I have just found a dentist who does not used drugs, power tools, or a speculum. He called himself a natural soft touch dentis. I highly recommend this if you can find one in you area.