Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Jacksonville, NC
I'm a full believer in what David O'Connor says: train in a snaffle, compete in whatever gets you through safely. My old intermediate/advanced event horse was a 17.3hh Irish Sporthorse that didn't understand the concept of "optimum time" in x-country and just wanted to make sure he had the fastest time...ever. It was a heck of a time finding a bit that he even seemed to notice. We eventually settled on the Waterford Nelson Gag bit and that made all the difference in the world. Because it's collapsible, he couldn't get a grip on any part of it and just gave in and listened.
As you already know, bits aren't a substitute for training, and I would never recommend riding in this on a routine basis. Like Allison Finch above me, I refuse to put a harsh mouthpiece in a horse's mouth- I believe that only makes the problem worse, since that is a constant pain (can you imagine metal twists or wires always sitting on your gums?)
Anyways, I wish you the best of luck! Bitting, unfortunately, is mainly trial and error since what works for one horse may not work for another.