>>If you feel uncomfortable about
stopping ability in the french link, by all means go with the Kimberwick
rather than the martingale.<<
Not sure I'd go with either. Kimbelwickes need a LOT
of leg if you're going to overcome that curb action. If you're having
problems braking, it will give you ABS brakes, but you're going to see a
horse backing off of the bit, with quarters strung out. If not used
with a strong leg and by a sensitive rider, you're also going to see a horse
carrying it's head too deep, flexing frmo the crest, and backing off of the
>>But also concentrate on the mechanics
of simply setting your hands and driving your horse into the stop with your
seat and legs, instead of using the bit as the primary stopping
Ay-yi-yi. Not setting the hands, surely? The
aids for a halt are deep seat, legs applied to the horses side to bring his
quarters underneath him, and soft, hands, which encourage the horse to come
up into the bridle (not set hands). It's a give and take of the reins,
not just a take. Setting the hands will encourage the horse to poke
his nose to resist the hands.
Is this a good time to discuss
the half halt?
thought that I should try the RM with the french link first before going to
the kimberwicke (without the RM first), but then again, Becky Hart, my
instructor when I slow down enough to take a lesson, uses kimberwickes or
Tteam bit and no RMs. <<
And Mark Todd uses a Waterford Snaffle on his babies, Mary
King uses a Magenis snaffle on hers, John Whittaker rode Milton in a slow
twist fulmer snaffle, etc, etc.
At the end of the day, the bit
you use depends first and foremost on the shape of your horse's mouth, the
effectiveness of your hands, and his level of training.
I know, I know, you're all going
"she's not a distance rider, what does she know?", and all I can
say in my defence is that going at speed across country also requires brakes
I guess that what I'm saying is
that, before you go out and buy bits and gadgets to give you control, spend
some time reconfirming the correct aids for braking and slowing.
Personally, I find that the best place to do this is on trail, when your
horse IS moving forwards and getting strong.
Doing gallops in a group, with a
fit, over the top eventer is probably as adrenalin-raising as the start of
an endurance ride, but I find that I feel more confident on my horse in a
snaffle, because he responds to the aids, than on my fiancee's horse in a
curb, because he doesn't!