Got home from work Monday and decided to play with Renegade online and at liberty and try out the Cradle Bridle. I went to the pasture gate and of course America and Li"Bert"y were the first two to meet me and when America is at the gate Renegade won't approach because America usually chases him off, sometimes forcefully. I went in to the pasture, greeted America and Bert and then asked them to move away while asking Renegade to come in to me. He nickered to me and came trotting over to be greeted. I invited him to be haltered and he walked up beside me giving me his zone 2,and turned his head toward me and lowered his nose into the halter. I fastened the halter, rubbed him on the forehead and we left the pasture.
We moved over to my truck where I saddled Renegade then put the new Cradle Bridle on and fitted it up, adjusting everything. Renegade did a bit of chewing but it didn't last long maybe 5 minutes or so then his mouth got quiet. I put the hackamore on him intending to just let him carry the new bit while we played and rode but not actually using it.
During our liberty warm up Renegade gave me two circles at the trot to the left then offered the canter for 1 circle and then I asked him in to reward him for offering that to me - he generally resists cantering much, preferring to trot so that was huge for him!! We played a bit with changes of gait and direction and Renegade was "with" me so I decided to get on for some freestyle and finesse. Boy, did we do some nice stuff!! I decided to put the finesse reins on the Cradle and see how things went and it went very well. Renegade was very light and responsive, so responsive in fact, I had to make sure my hands were quiet and light. Renegade is not so light in the hackamore and will often pull on the reins and my hand but in the Cradle he didn't do that. In fact, for the first time ever, I could actually use only one finger very lightly to get a very soft direct rein. I was so excited I was thinking "I feel like Pat Parelli"!!! We also did some nice sideways, FTR, 180's, bow-ties at the walk and trot, and nice trotting circles that actually looked like circles and not eggs!!
Renegade seemed to be comfortable and confident in his C3 bit. His mouth was quiet, he was stretching out, and he was quick to "blow the butterflies out", I think it was on our first lap of FTR. He's never relaxed so quickly, it generally takes a good 1- 15 minutes of freestyle warm up for him to relax and blow. I couldn't be happier that our first ride went so well. I hope this continues - I could get used to it LOL!!
After waiting so long to make my decision to purchase the Cradle Bridle, I wish I'd done it sooner. It made such a difference in our communication, I was able to be more clear and Renegade understood this and was very light and responsive. What a wonderful feeling!!