I know. I know. I made a promise a few months ago. I haven't forgotten. However, there is an overload going on from standing on my tongue. Perhaps I can blame the alignment of the planets (speaking of which have you seen Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter at sunset??? Gorgeous!) Oh wait...I'm blogging about horse stuff!
So here is an excellent explanation of the how's, why's and wherefores of using a double bridle here in our barn from Catherine Haddad Staller - (how exciting to find 'our' rules are 'her' rules too!) :)
So that gets everyone up to speed on WHY we use a double bridle, how it is adjusted and the correct way to put it on the horses.
A few other thoughts on rider/horse turnout(presentation/grooming) and then general safety while riding - (and this is not aimed at anyone in particular...just a small rant on general turnout, presentation and taking pride in your training and horse care)
I'm not saying the horses and riders have to be 'show clean/ready' for every ride - but think back to Pony Club rules - a belt, fitted breeches, safe footwear (paddocks and half chaps at a minimum), a helmet, gloves and a tucked in shirt so the instructor can see your body position. If you weren't in PC - find an old copy of blue Handbook on Amazon or the old USPC Manual of Horsemanship and order them. Read the books. The rules were written with a safety first mentality. Buckles need to be buckled completely with the keepers and runners fastened. Girth billets must be tucked in.
If you go somewhere to get outside help - your horse needs to be well turned out. His/her mane must be pulled (or at least tidy), forelock out of their eyes and with a cooler or sheet for the ride home. If it is winter and they get sweaty - think about clipping well in advance and rugging up in the early fall and layering in the winter to help prevent the winter woolies. But bring a cooler and sheet even on a spring or fall day. Your horse is there to work and will be sweaty. No sense in having them catch a chill. Think of it as a show prep opportunity! If you have had a crazy busy life and haven't gotten to those things, I am not so strict as to turn a student away, but there are plenty of instructors out there that would send a sloppy dresser home without a second thought. Your instructor will notice and appreciate the apology if you are slightly disheveled. Think of it like going to a ballet lesson in sneakers otherwise...it's obvious that something is off, your instructor will notice, probably not comment and then see it as you are not 'excited enough' to care about your appearance and what you might learn that day. It matters to your teachers and is a sign of respect to have taken the time to groom yourself and your horse.
And finally just some general safety thoughts -
Wear a helmet. Wear a body protector on a strange horse. Or wear that body protector when you are jumping. Even on your own horse. Think of it like shin guards for a soccer player...they wouldn't go without, so why should you? Oh and put some boots or wraps on your own horse. Protect their legs. Think. Protect yourself. Mortality happens to everyone. Eventually. Prepare for a safe ride so that you can do it again tomorrow. Prevent injuries to your horse if you can. Protect them today too!