I am going to have to quit looking at your threads when you get a Walking Horse to work
Your BO might not know anything about how they should be ridden, but he sure seems to have an eye for good-looking horses; I like this one too
Regarding bits: Use what the horse is comfortable with. I have never used a twisted wire --- my granddad wouldn't even use them when we were teaching the young horses to drive.
Two of my Walkers wear a very low port with swivel shanks; I really like the swivel shanks. My third Walker has always worn a Mechanical Hackamore. The TWH I lost in a freak pasture accident wore a Dr. Cook's Bitless and loved it; not all horses adapt to a Dr. Cook's because every part of the bridle, except the browband, is a pressure piece.
As far as allowing/teaching a Walking Horse to trot - my answer is no, no, and no. It a person wants a horse that gaits and trots, their name is 5-gaited Saddlebred.
It's too easy to ruin a TWH by teaching/allowing them to trot; especially if the horse gets sold to a new horse owner with no knowlege about how to separate the two gaits.
Another poster mentioned they never had to teach their Walking Horses to gait. I have never had to either, yet I read on another forum about a 2 yr old with back legs that were too straight for a Walking Horse and couldn't gait well. At least that was the claim
So my personal take-away message from that alleged truth, is there are "modern" Walking Horses being bred out there for who is on their papers and conformation is going out the barn window.
If that is truly the case, I would stick with older horses or look to the Heritage Groups who are specifically breeding Walkers for their gaits, not because they have a pretty head or a flashy color.
Sorry to get sort of OT but, I was so excited to hear someone besides me say they never had to teach their Walking Horses to gait (my youngest is 12 and directly from old Foundation/pleasure blood) that I got carried away