I FINALLY got ALL of the bridles clean, ALL OF THEM!!! It may have taken me a combined total of 6 nights and probably a total of 10-12 hours, but I had a lot of bridles and the schooling bridles took 3x longer than normal because I hadn't cleaned them in so long. When I cleaned TWH's schooling bridle, it took me 30 mins to clean a single braided rein. On the second rein I tried rushing and only took 15 mins to do it. After it dried, I realized I had to clean it again because it still looked so dirty and grungy, eww. Note to self, make the horses clean their schooling bridles more than once a year!! (I am such a bad tack owner). On the plus side, I have accumulated really good brands of leather over the years so at least it holds up well even when neglected.
After our really good ride on the road, it was time to work on dressage again. Since I had all of these new (to me), clean bridles to play with, I wanted to try Mia's new dressage bridle. I currently ride her in a full cheek, copper mouth snaffle and she really likes it. I started her in a loose ring, french link snaffle and she hated it. I think she didn't like the loose ring and the full cheek was the only other non loose ring snaffle I had available at the time. It should be noted that while there is absolutely a place for full cheek snaffles, I really hate them. I don't like their look, I don't like that the shafts tend to get stuck in the noseband or in nostrils, I don't like that you have to use keepers with them. I have no intention of showing her in a full cheek so I had bought an Augarian D ring snaffle. Not a cool Sprenger Augerian but a decent bit anyway (Metalab maybe?) Augarian, copper, not exactly the same but maybe similar enough, the mouthpieces are also close in diameter so that was to be my dressage show bit.
I hopped on with my new bridle and new bit and off we went. Mia seems to hate it. UGH! She tossed her head, shook her head, pulled on the bit, dropped behind the vertical, rooted the bit. I pushed her into a trot and she was super strong and super unhappy. Figures! It got bad enough that after 15 mins I gave up and got her normal, schooling bridle and put it on. She pulled a little bit but then settled right into work and stopped fussing. Oh mare, you realized I spent good money on that bit right?
RB4 had also joined us for this particular ride and brought with her a new bit for TWH. She had a Myler D ring snaffle laying around and thought it would be a great bit to try on TWH. I told her that when I was training him, we went through a lot of bits (luckily we were in a large boarding barn and had a ton of bits we could borrow) and he really didn't like a single jointed snaffle. With his big lips and big tongue, he was much happier in a french link but I was up to try something new. We hadn't changed up bits for probably 4-5 years so why not try?
RB4 hopped on TWH and started riding him around, as soon as she picked up contact and asked for a trot you could see TWH was not happy. He was sticking his nose out, gaping his mouth a little and was extremely inconsistent in his contact. Even RB4 said that he really, really didn't like the new bit. I grabbed his normal schooling bridle and after a quick switcheroo, TWH immediately changed back into his old self with his mouth firmly closed and accepting of the contact.
Apparently you shouldn't fix what isn't broken! I am keeping TWH in his loose ring, french link snaffle for dressage and a hackamore for jumping. He seems to really, really like the hackamore! I am going to try Mia in the Augarian bit one more time before trying the SS eggbutt I bought for her for jumping. It is also just a plain snaffle, maybe she will like it? Maybe not? I will also try the Myler on her to see if she likes it though I think it is going to be too big for her. She is a solid 5" bit and TWH is a good, solid 5.5". I am really hoping I can find something she likes because I don't want to have to show in a full cheek. Maybe she will now be happier in one of my many loose rings? Changing a bit? Horses say no.