Now that I actually have tack (and time) available to ride Chili, I've been on her quite a lot lately. Not for super long periods of time bc my 3yr old is still apparently attached to the umbilical cord, but enough to get the idea of where she and I are with getting to know one another.
When I bought her, a Jr Cowhorse bit was being used. She'd only been ridden once that year - in the early Spring (I got her in Dec) and prior to then, hadn't been ridden for almost a year.
So. In the past 3 months, I have learned A LOT about a lot of things, including tack. By trial and error, I know for a fact a gag bit will not work with her (at least not under my hand).
A low port OR a high port curb are both ok but she needs a 5.5" and I'm having a hard time finding one - used. I can't afford a new bit. Was shocked to see the prices of new ones!! I rode her the other night in just her rope halter and reins and she turned lovely. So, today, I tried again and didn't get very far at all. Was like a different horse. So, I put the low port back in and had better success than with the rope halter but not much. ::SIGH:: I dunno what kind to ride her in. I'm buying a loose ring snaffle Fri (from here) but it'll be a week or so before I get it.
Here are our problems:
She is barn sour. Which is odd since she's only been at the house/our barn for 2 weeks! So, I ride her with the gate closed in our upper pasture (using it as an "arena" at the moment!) and she does better than in the bigger pasture that is fenced off but lacks a gate back to the barn.
She turns to the left beautifully. NOT 100% of the time with ease, but I'd give her a 90% on the left - of that, about 5% is with difficulty. On the right - about a 75% and of that 75%, about 20% of it is with difficulty. When it's difficult, she turns her head, chomps on the bit like she's trying to spit it out and doesn't move.
I'm using leg pressure, trying to use a light hand and also trying to teach her to neck rein at the same time. Like I said, she's ok some of the time.