Our handsome model.
The green was a little lighter than expected, but that's okay.
I tried the Stark Naked Bit on Kash this morning. I have the time to write about it because we loaded up all of the things we needed to take to the dump after and it's a fair jaunt plus wait time. Our property looks so much nicer without the busted palettes, tarps, and various other bits of debris that accumulates over 10+ years.
Anyway, I played with Kash for two reasons, trying out the bit and also seeing how he was moving. He biffed it two weeks ago Saturday. I think he stepped on his front shoe and just nose-dived. The shoe seemed fine, but he didn't want to weight his left fore when he got up. We ended the lesson there. He moved better as we walked back, but still had a head bob so he got cold hosed and a gram of bute. He had the week off and was moving really well on his own and I put a short ride on him Friday, but I just walked him. Saturday (last week) he was moving great under Susanne in all gaits and did a little jumping. He did well Monday and Tuesday as well, but Wednesday under Roxanne he had a head bob. Not bad trotting right, but definitely there to the left so we traded out for Kitt. I rode him Friday and he felt good to the right, but had a little weirdness left, not bad on a big turn, but definitely there on a hard one so I didn't use him Monday and tried him this morning to see where he was. Walk was 100% and trotting right was good. Trot left was okay, but again the sharper turns he started short-striding and wanted to sputter out. When he initially tweaked himself there was no swelling whatsoever down low and I suspect he did something up in his shoulder and neck. He's sound without a rider (I admit I haven't specifically lunged him the last couple days, but cruising the turnout himself and goofing with the other horses he looks great), which is good and I haven't given him any medication since the first day. I have Kristin scheduled to come out next week and work on him as well as Chewy and Kitt. In the meantime I'll probably lunge him to see for sure where he is without a rider and maybe run my hands over to see if I can feel a sore spot. I had done so on Friday, but the spot I thought might have a sore reaction turned out be itchy and he was assuming the "scratch my neck there" position and got lip-wriggles as I rubbed harder.
What I don't want to do is Bute him so he goes sound and injure something worse. I'd rather have him tell me he's off and let him be than mask it.
So back to the bit!
Kash was less offended at having something in his mouth than Chewy was. Granted he's a mouthy creature to begin with so the trick is usually keeping things OUT of his mouth. He took it well and while he did roll it around and try to chew on it that is nothing different than any other bit he has ever had. I did find he got quiet in his mouth MUCH quicker than any other bit I have ever had him in (and I have tried a LOT of bits on him over the last 12 years!). He was nicely responsive to it and held it well. I could see riding him in it more and enjoying how he goes in it. Usually he doesn't stop jawing his bit until you get him working and thinking pretty hard so having him play with it a minute or two and then go quiet was very nice. Added bonus when he did mouth it there was just chewing noises and not the clacking and jangling of a metal bit.
Overall I was much happier with how Kash did over Chewy, but I was also not getting on and off fixing poles as I was with Chewy yesterday so there was no issue with it falling out. He did work it down as I was trying to get pictures of him, but it didn't fall off. It might also help that he has more incisor left than Chewy does at this point or maybe I just had it adjusted right the first time. It was easy to put back in place, just compress the rings together to arch the bit in the mouth so the tongue can slide back under. The instructions that come with it noted some horses might prefer the bit under the tongue versus over the tongue. If it is cold the biothane is fairly rigid, but it does flex easier as it warms up and shapes around the tongue fairly nicely and since it is a solid strap there are no ridges or links to pinch or catch the tongue or lips. The stitching does add a little texture to it, but I don't think it is sufficient to cause issue unless you're sawing at the horse's jaw constantly and hard? which is something the makers strongly discourage.
I saw a post with a person claiming these bits were a "torture device" because there is no release. The argument is that the jaw strap gets cinched down and compresses the tongue and jaw without relief. Certainly you could tighten it that way, but I feel like the one finger fitting under the jaw the makers recommend gives enough space for release and since it arches up it gives way more tongue comfort than any straight bar bit. Added to that engaging the reins loosens the jaw strap unlike on a curb bit. Of course if you want to talk about the torture of things that don't release you have the saddle that gets cinched down pretty tight, the weight of your butt on the horse's back and the rest of the bridle sitting on the horse's head so I don't get the torture device view.
And another thing I liked was that Sir Chews A Lot didn't put a mark on it. I think where it sits and the fit keeps him from being able to suck it all the way back into his molars for chewing.( Less-than photogenic )