Unsteady in the mouth
I have recently taken on an 8 year old, dutch warmblood gelding who has been out of work for over 8 months due to his not getting on with his owner/rider.
He is an extremely sensitive soul, is very wary and in the past has tied up from stress under saddle. Because of this, I am taking him VERY slowly, the first 3 weeks were spent working with him on the ground, getting him yielding every part of his body and developing his trust/respect. I then began lunging him lightly before finally starting him under saddle.
I noticed even in the ground work session, that he is very 'mouthy'. His teeth have been recently attended to, and after speaking to the owner, it seems he has been like this from day one. They have tried about 10 different types of bits and he has continued to fuss in the mouth. Currently he is in a thick, loose ring french snaffle.
His work under saddle is really starting to develop, I am starting to find his 'forward button' and he is becoming far more supple and willing, and in the last week I have started to get quite a good connection in his trot work. He comes beautifully up to the bridle and is starting to weight his haunches, but despite his willingness to meet the contact he continues to fuss in the mouth.
People watching him work have all commented on how softly he is travelling, and say he is far more relaxed than they have seen him in the past, so are surprised that he is still so fussy in the mouth. He is progressing in leaps and bounds, and I would like to start him at an unofficial prepatory/preliminary test (I think this is training level in the US??) in January to see how he copes with the atmosphere. However I would really like to sort out this mouthing issue before I take him out in public.... if only I was willing to strap his mouth shut with a flash strap :P
Any ideas on possible bits to try with him, or methods of training to try and curb this, I am thinking it may have just become a habit with him.