As to getting the best gait out of our gaited breeds...you do need collection, and the fastest way to do that is to use a shanked bit. The horses will tuck up with any type of a shanked bit with curb chain, compared to a snaffle type bit. I've been raising/training Rocky Mtn. Horses for eight years now, and I do ride in curb bits at times...but I also spend lots of time doing exercises (like the ones dressage riders use), so that the horse really pushes from their hindquarters and then gives to the bit on the front end. My horses will all gait in a halter if I ask...some will collect better than others, of course, based on training. I do lots of work with my young stock in a bosal...another tool that helps the horse collect, without hurting their mouths (the bosal puts pressure on nose and jaw). I've been retraining an older mare lately, and use a regular snaffle bit on her... After lots of head bending exercises, plus exercises as I'm moving (putting pressure on the reins to get vertical flexion, then releasing when she gives to the pressure), I'm finally getting a soft mouth on the mare. She gaits quite nicely with slack on the reins. Folks who get into gaited horses need to realize that, though the gait is natural to the horse, our weight and balance can throw them out of gait. It's our job to be better riders, who can ask the horse (with our bodies) to stay in gait. We can use our hands, legs, weight shifts, to help the horse stay in the best gait for that breed (or the one that they're most comfortable in). So much to learn, but in the end, such a smoother ride!