Just think about it for a minute or two, maybe you will begin to see horse behaviour a little differently. The thought had occurred to me, just this morning, as my dental hygienist was picking and scraping my teeth. I was laying mercilessly in the reclined chair, mouth wide open, thinking “I hope this is going to be painless”, as she poked and probed around inside my mouth. All the while, I knew she had absolutely no intention of hurting me, and the end result would be a cleaner, healthier, mouth.
Then, I got to imagining if I had a big gap between my canines and my molars, and in that gap, I had to carry a nutcracker device, or worse yet, one with a bumpy feel to it. Every once in a while, the device might get unexpectedly pulled straight back or to one side or the other. Sometimes, just because the person pulling on it felt afraid or uncomfortable, or perhaps had changed their mind about what direction they wanted me to carry them in.
I might experience that person, without warning, pulling back on both sides of it so the nutcracker closed painfully around the gums in my lower jaw while the apex of the joint was thrust upwards into the roof of my mouth – and I instinctively threw my head back in pain. I wondered, although I don’t to care to find out, which would be the most painful, the spike in the roof of the mouth, or the death grip on the gums and jawbone.
Then the person, who just inflicted all that surprise and pain in my mouth, gets frustrated with me, just because I wasn’t sure what was happening, and I was startled by what they did to me (without any warning). Next thing I knew, I was getting kicked in the ribs, and I still hadn’t processed the first beating I got. By then I’d have been about ready to explode in frustration – then the rider started to hit me with their gut hooks in case I get any big ideas.
If were that horse, I would most certainly appreciate it if the rider would use that bit to gently communicate with me and when they got scared, just hang onto the saddle horn instead of my mouth.