My appy and I have been having A LOT of behavioural problems, and now I feel bad because I don't think it's his fault, after really looking at the bridle and looking into bits, etc.
What I noticed:
He's fine on the lunge line in just a halter, granted we've only done walk/trot.
On the lunge in his bridle he kicks, "flails" and tosses his head.
SO BASICALLY, I want to get out to the tack store A.S.A.P and check out some new bridles/bits.
The stupid jerk broke his bridle last summer (he had TERRIBLE ground manners back then and was seriously testing me as a rider... but thinking back could it have been the bit!?) so we've been riding in another bridle that is 'smaller' but adjusted to more or less fit, but I don't know if it's totally right.
Also, when riding he's very reluctant to move, I have soft hands but he still resists and tosses his head when I halt him. When halting or moving forward he'll bring his head back to 'bite' at my foot (he's never actually nipped) or rub his nose against his chest.
So my questions are:
1 ) From the bold/italics up there, do you think his problems could be bridle/bit related?
2 ) How exactly does one fit a bridle?
* How much space/how snug is it supposed to be by their ears, how much slack should be in the actual bit.
[I was told you should have 'three wrinkles' were the bit attaches to the bridle, but I think it really varies from horse to horse, opinions?]
3 ) BITS!
He's using a single-link snaffle, and I recently read that for some horses that can be fairly irritating, and I'm wondering if perhaps he's one of them? What do you guys think of the french-link? Isn't it fairly gentle?
4 ) How much space is supposed to be on either side of the bit when it comes out of their mouth? I was told a finger width, but my fingers are really small...
5 ) How can I make him forgive me? Haha, I'd feel really bad if it was my fault, and I'm glad I'm finally learning and wish I'd learned sooner... but nobody ever mentioned anything... maybe they just overlooked it?
Are there any excersizes you can recommend to getting him used to the new bit if I do get one?