Solo is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Sean Dennis. Mr. Dennis previously sponsored Selena on his lovely Trekhaner gelding, Karot. When Karot went off to do his Young Rider job for a new jockey, Geraldine and Sean Dennis and I started looking for Solo.
Although Solo had already been lunged in tack and side reins by his breeders, Cynthia Pyper and David Haddock, I started him on his first day without tack, only boots. During the ensuing days I added the saddle, then the bridle and when I knew he was confident and comfortable in his new roundpen with all his ‘learned’ equipment in place I added the de Gogue.
The ‘de Gogue’ is an old and classical piece of equipment. It is as traditional in many parts of Europe as side reins are here. I chose the de gogue to lunge him in because he is already a little oral and inclined to take everything into his mouth and play with it. I did not want him using the contact of the side reins to chew and play on the bit.
The de gogue attaches to the bridle behind the ears. The attached headpiece has rings on either side. A strap attaches to the girth. A loop of rope/leather on each side of the horse, is passed through the rings attached to the headpiece and the ring on the bit. The ends are clipped onto the attached girth strap. The horse has no ‘firm’ tie down or side rein but is encouraged to stretch and lower his head while I use the whip to encourage him to overtrack. The two actions together build the horse into a strong balance without using any force.