I’ve been wondering a bit, about Apocalipse. He seem to hate wearing anything on his face, the times I’ve put a bridle on him, he have protested wildly, not to the bit, no he opens his mouth easily and plays along nicely, until he realizes that the bridle is stuck to his face. Then he seems overcome with what can only be described as an unbearable itch.
When walking with him, he keeps trying to scratch his face, especially behind the ears and down the cheeks. When working with him in a lunge he seems to suck it up a bit better, but the problem remains, as soon as I stop him, he tries to scratch his face.
The kapsun is exactly the same. The last time I had that on him, he even decided to throw himself on the ground and roll over for a long time, after the kapsun was removed, clearly unable to make the itching go away.
I must admit, that had me wondering how I was ever going to ride this horse. Let’s face it, Apocalipse is my hope for the future, my upcoming show jumper… how can he be, if he is going to be a cordeo horse, unable to wear anything on his face?
(It’s not allowed, not to wear a bridle if you want to compete, and I really do, but not at the cost of such discomfort for my horse.)
At three years old, one might think he would grow out of it, but somehow I think not. I haven’t trained him much over the summer, but the few times I have had a bridle or a kapsun on him, he has only responded to it by getting worse.
Then the other day, my boyfriend played with him, wearing an ordinary halter. That didn’t cause the same reaction. Which got me thinking.
What does the bridle and the kapsun have in common? Weight? Leather? Tightness?
So, I tried Tardis’ blue bridle on him, made of fabric, not leather.
(Note how Saleem is laughing- he got the one with pink flowers on it!)
The response was pretty instant. At first, he started scratching his head against me, like he has by now learned to do when I give him a bridle on, but then he… stopped. I could see the muscles in his face relaxing, one by one.
Working with him in the lunge, it was a completely different horse. He was much calmer, much happier. And when I stopped him and removed it, he didn’t scratch once. He just stood there, looking happy.
So, I’m a bit astounded here. What does he respond to? Is he simply allergic to leather? Is it that the fabric bridle is much lighter than the leather one?
I have no doubt that his itch is genuine, Apocalipse is a fair young man, he would never complain unless something was wrong, and he loves to work. He is just leaving me with a few things to figure out now…
The good news is, the blue bridle is allowed in show jumping, and since I am hoping that is where his future lies, it should solve the problem. Unless I want to show him in dressage someday, where it is not allowed.
But, I would like to KNOW what is up with him. It bothers me, that I don’t get it. I will have to figure out exactly what it is he responds to, so I can help him in the best way possible…
If one should be a little sentimental now, I must mention his mother, Amalia, my legendary Pink Lady, who I bet is looking down at her son from the rainbow bridge somewhere, feeling proud that her son have chosen to pay her such tribute, by choosing a bridle with pink flowers on it.
Of course, he could just “nick” Saleem’s, he doesn’t have pink flowers on his, and he do not mind wearing a leather bridle, I only bought the blue one for him, because I thought it looked cool on him. Saleem’s is a bit bigger than Tardis’ though, and yet too big for Apocalipse.
And somehow, it seems fitting. The Pink Lady’s son. How could he be any different, really?
Tardis will get another bridle. She doesn’t mind the leather ones either.
I have never encountered a horse with this kind of problem before. Goes to show, you think you know horses, you think you’ve seen it all, but they never stop surprising you.
So, it would seem that Apocalipse has chosen his own bridle. Now I just need to figure out why? It’s a good thing I wasn’t planning on riding him anytime soon…