Originally Posted by Mary Liz
We did put him in a tom thumb in a western headstall for one ride and he did noticeably better
Hmm not sure if I see a relaxed happy horse in that still. I agree with usandpets. More training. He cannot respect the unknown.. and he wouldn't have been happy in a harsher bit as nothing was being communicated to him.
Personally I would go backwards and use a milder bit so he can learn to respect it without additional pain. A lot of horses get bad because they think that anything you ask = intense pain in mouth. So they start to expect it.. and then you find all sorts of problems.
But I'd start with a refresher, and get the horse understanding what you are communicating. The bit isn't the major communicator though.. the body is. You seat and leg aids, where your weight is, how loose you are, when you engage your lower back or abs.
So you see how a minor bit issue turns into a training issue.