British rider Michael Jackson attracted some puzzled glances as he rode round the CCI3* track at the Equi-Trek Bramham Horse Trials on Saturday.
His mount, PSH Promise Me, appeared to have two sets of reins, with one on the bit and the other attached to the cheekpiece of his bridle.
It turns out that Michael does have a slightly unusual tack arrangement — but on this occasion it actually went wrong so ended up being even odder than normal.
“He has a normal pelham in his mouth, which he wears with a flash noseband, plus he also has a kineton noseband,” explains Michael. “The kineton noseband has a metal ring on it and we attach one rein to the metal ring. When the pressure gets too much in his mouth, I can ride him off the metal ring.
“I’ve been riding him in this all season and he’s gone like a lamb in it. But at Bramham he came out of the start box, chucked his head up in the air and the rein slipped from the metal ring up onto the cheekpiece.
“It’s never done that before and it left the rein completely useless. I tried to slide it back down, but then decided I was better to concentrate on jumping the fences. I looked a bit of a wally going round with the rein on the cheekpiece, but he was awesome, I’m really pleased with him.”
Michael adds that PSH Promise Me, a 10-year-old stallion belonging to Gary Power, is not particularly strong.
“He is really forward and just wants to get on with it — you can get away with that at two-star, but at three-star you need the organisation, the lengthening and shortening. We wanted to keep him happy without overbitting him — the amount of tack he’s got on his head looks worse than it is.
“The headshaking he does in front of a fence became a habit, so we’ve been trying to break that habit. I ride him in a hackamore [a bitless bridle which puts pressure on the nose] sometimes for schooling at home, so we put our thinking caps on and came up with this. It’s been working really well to take the pressure off his mouth and ride him off the rein on his nose.”
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Despite his tack mishap, PSH Promise Me jumped clear across country at Bramham and added just 10.8 time-faults to finish in 37th place.
Don’t miss this Thursday’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (14 June 2018) for the full report from Bramham
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