How To Manage A Horse Who Is Ultra Sensitive.
Riders seeking advice systematically tell the advice team at Neue Schule that they have worked through ‘every’ bit and nothing has been a permanent solution. Although some of these bits may have initially had the desired effect the horse has then resisted and found his way around it.
Many years ago Heather Hyde, Neue Schule founder, had a very extreme experience. Heather was given a ‘dangerous’ horse that would otherwise have been destroyed. He had undergone a regime of thorough diagnostic procedures that had ruled out any apparent physical cause. His party piece was to rear and on four previous occasions he had gone over backwards and hospitalised his riders. He was a potential event horse, a 16.2hh thoroughbred, grey and with very pink lips. He was given time to settle in and it was discovered his skin was extremely sensitive; to the point where he could only be groomed with an extremely soft body brush. He was so sensitive, everything that came into contact with him had to be cushioned and padded. After much ground work and bonding Heather sat on him for the first time. To her great relief everything was great, he was extremely willing and responsive. Heather obtained the same good result on the second day. However, on the third day, after 10 minutes easy work he went straight up. So it was discovered that he could not tolerate being ridden in the same design of bit for 3 consecutive days. Even though there was nothing untoward to see in his mouth, every second day his bit was changed. The problem was resolved and this was called this his “Comfortable Working Window”. This horse went on to event successfully at a very high level.
Some horses are genuinely so sensitive that they cannot bear you employing the same pressure points within the mouth indefinitely. The advice given is logical and has proven over the years to work. The simple solution is that out of all the bits you have tried, re-source the ones that gave you the desired effect and rotate them. Whether you need to change every 3 days, 3 weeks or 3 months; this is manageable.