How do I introduce my horse to a double bridle for the first time?
The doubles consist of the Weymouth (curb bit) and snaffle (bridoon). Bridoon simply means a slimmer mouthpiece usually incorporating a smaller ring for neatness.
Doubles should not be introduced until the horse is fully established in a snaffle. Allow the horse to become fully accustomed to the feel of two bits in situ and always work initially off the bridoon. It is prudent in the first instance, to walk the horse in hand bringing him back several times to halt purely off the snaffle rein. If everything is going well and the horse is relaxed, mount up in a school environment and work evenly on both reins performing up and down transitions from halt to trot through walk. If your horse is still accepting and relaxed in doubles, then subtly start to introduce the curb rein in conjunction with the bridoon rein. If everything is going ok and your horse hacks out sedately, then this would be advisable. The reasoning behind this is that we do not wish the doubles to become the focal point in the mouth and in a school situation the horse is more likely to fixate on something new in the mouth as opposed to enjoying a normal familiar hack. The last thing we want is for the horse to associate doubles with harder work as this will create tension. This is also why it is so important we do not rush the introduction of the doubles. If your horse does not hack out, then the other option is to school in your snaffle, finishing on a good note but saving a little bit of energy, then pop the doubles in and diplomatically start to pick up the curb.