Need advice on which bit to use
There are so many bits on the market nowadays, it is hard to pick the correct one for the horse, so I need some help. This may be a little long, since I know background and use of the horse is important. The bit I have now is a tomb thumb style, with a leather curb. I ride in a loose rein whenever humanly possible, and try to use leg, not rein.
I am looking for my 14.2 hand QH/Morgan cross. He is 8 years old, has a rough past, and was spoiled ROTTEN before I got him (biting, leaning, no personal space). His ground manners have improved dramatically, and he is great on the ground now. He was trained to ride in team penning, and barrel racing (supposedly). However, I have only put a few rides on him (maybe about 25 or so, with only 3 or 4 being full w/t/c). Of those few, 3 have been in a wide open field, alone.
He rides really well in a rope halter (but only in the pasture or round pen). He is learning to respond to leg pressure, and I am teaching him neck reining. He improves daily, but really needs some help. He also rides well in his current bit, when close to the pasture, or in the pasture.
So his vices under saddle are as follows.
Baulking - he will occasionally not move at all. Thanks to advice from Lauren Woodard here on the forum, he has improved dramatically. He used to baulk nearly everytime I asked him to go away from the barn/pasture mate (he is definitely sour) but now its only about 1 in every 6 times, so it's getting better.
Crow hopping - occasional, but I usually make him circle or back or move his feet, and the habit is slowly disappearing.
Rushing home/bolting - this one can get pretty nasty, and this is the main reason I am thinking of changing my bit. I believe in circling, and one-rein stopping, as this is what he best responds to. However, the bit I have now makes it difficult to one rein stop, it seems to get stuck. I hate this habit especially because there are times when I really have to yank on him. He just dulls himself to pressure.
Standing still when mounting - he still won't stand still. I thought I had this habit broken, but it resurfaced. I am thinking I may try backing him, since circling only works sometimes.
Trot vs. Canter. - I am pretty sure someone hot dogged him. He tries to take off into a canter when we are in the open, but is WAY better now than before. I rode him 2 days ago and we were trotting nicely for quite some time, with only a few attempts to break.
"Drifting" - It's annoying. He will attempt to keep his head one way and go another! :P That one I am fixing with leg pressure, and I'm pretty sure its connected to many of the other buddy/barn sour behaviors.
Good things he does under saddle
Yields hindquarters and gives easily to both sides (from standstill or walk) in any area. Plus he dives his head and bends at the poll easily.
His stop is generally very good, and he knows the cues "easy" and "woah" verbally.
He backs fairly well, although we are still working on it.
He does collect a little bit, although that is still a work in progress, he seems to have a natural knack for learning how to collect.
His top line is building steadily, we are doing exercises to build it.
He does NOT buck, or rear, and overall I do not believe he is dangerous, just uneducated, out of practice, and squirrely. He is amazing in an arena or pasture, its just outside the fences where he gets nutso.
So basically this horse is my partner. Trail partner mostly. I attempt to ride him for pleasure (ha ha) even though its a lot of work right now. I just want a bit that I feel is light and easy on him, that I can bend him easier in, and that is less confusing for him. Right now I feel the tomb thumb is confusing him, because sometimes, even when he is trying to listen, he just gets stuck.
So I was thinking of getting him a snaffle type bit, but I would prefer one with a curb. Unless, someone can convince me of one that would be better suited for him.
Thanks and Sorry it was so long!
** Don't be the rider who gallops all night and never sees the horse that is beneath him **