First off, I confirmed that the impulse-buy-myler is in fact legal for dressage. The level 1 (and I think 2?) mouthpieces are dressage legal, as are the little copper inlays. I can only imagine that there is some sort of corporate Bit Lobby that occurs (not unlike in Washington) with brand name manufacturers greasing the palms of the USEF. I also imagine that this underhanded lobbying is significantly less intriguing, sexy or scandalous than what occurs on The Hill.
Either way, nice to know it's legal.
Sunday I sneaked in a lesson concurrent with the other trainer at our barn and a couple of her students. This meant that we got to ride outside (yay sunshine!) as well as work over a full course since we had both more hands to set fences and more space to set fences in.
It wasn't the most "productive" lesson in the sense of really drilling any one exercise or loud coaching from S, but it was productive in the sense that it pushed some of Prairie's comfort zones in that she had to a) work outside, b) jump in the scary end, c) jump a line headed home, d) warm up with four other horses and their not so technical pilots.. and e) stand around and wait during other riders' rounds.
All independent challenges for her (and me) so there was plenty to "do."
Prair was a bit anxious during her warm up. I proactively tried to space her away from other horses and kept our cantering to smaller circles and serpentines with simple changes. She felt a bit braced and spooky, but never busted through the bit.
After about 10 minutes she started to relax and I had glimpses of the same relaxation and soft jaw that I got with our first ride in the baucher.
While the other lesson continued to flat, S had me start popping over a vertical, first at the trot both directions and then at the canter. Nothing exciting to report form that aside from the fact that when I was on the right rein, Prairie managed to land on her right lead. That was exciting.
Finally we started taking turns with the other students in stringing together small courses. Prairie was 80% good, with the bad parts having mostly to do with some unbalanced landings and anxiety over lead changes.
The weird thing yesterday was, for the first time ever, Prairie preferred her right lead.
Historically Prairie swaps to her left lead inside a line (even if she enters on her right lead) and almost always lands on her left, even on a diagonal, or with a sharp change of direction. I almost always have to throw in a simple change to return to the right lead.
But yesterday, it was all right lead, all the time. Well, ok.. most of the time.
Every time we jumped a vertical on the diagonal changing from Left to Right - she changed leads over the fence. Every time we jumped a line on our right lead she maintained the correct lead and came out on her right lead... and every time we jumped a single fence off the right lead she landed on her right lead.
I was thrilled to get the change of lead over our diagonal fences, but less thrilled that Prairie started swapping from left to right when were inside lines going to the left. (new trick). She even came out of a couple lines on the right (but wrong) lead which was massively confusing and new.
The silver lining there is that Prairie offered clean changes back to the left lead without any prompting so that redeemed her initial fault (mostly).
I started focusing on trying to hold the left lead in lines and only had success if I really thought (and rode) like I was going to jump the first fence on a circle instead of carrying on straight through the line. This managed to give us the correct lead, but also lost our straightness. Bah.
There were also a few freakouts on a diagonal fence (L to R) where Prairie got her lead change, then FREAKED OUT as we cantered away anticipating a terrible horrid lead change request. Which obviously never came since she already had the correct lead. I never quite worked through that since we went around for a small course, got all of our leads over fences or with a quick change and I opted to call it a day rather than confront the anxiety.
All in all a good jump school. Less obvious "benefit" from the baucher, but I think Prairie was still comfortable with it. If nothing else we certainly didn't have a negative reaction. She seems to prefer fixed cheek snaffles in general (she has a mullen eggbutt, KK D ring, and twisted D ring that she uses regularly). Loose rings seem to make her nervous...