Friday, October 1, 2010

Ye Ole Kimberwick

Our trainer has once again come through with another brilliant training aid. While a kimberwick bit is not legal for dressage competition, we are using it as a training tool.

Wikipedia defines the kimberwick as "a bit that offers the rider a slight curb effect and provides a bit more control than a snaffle."

We tried Delphi in a kimberwick this week. For my part, I like it. It allows me to take my focus off of constantly testing for throughness (by allowing me to keep Delphi more through with less effort) long enough to focus on things like my lower leg position or transitions without being distracted by the constant effort to keep Delphi relaxed.

When Delphi and I go back to our dearly beloved pattern of maul and pull, stiffen and yank, brace and tug (a pattern we've worked hard at these last five years), the kimberwick interupts the behavior-on both our parts-allowing me to feel how much more or less to half halt and release more clearly and allowing Delphi to self-reward and/or self-correct if she juts her head up in an effort to brace or get heavy. By interrupting the unwanted behavior and reinforcing the desired behavior, the kimberwick has become a good training tool for both Delphi and me.