My Standardbred mare is still rather green under saddle, although she was backed in late 2008, she had a two year hiatus after a riding accident.
Introducing new gear on her has always been relatively easy, although she has had the same bit since she was started as she always liked it. It was a tom thumb and she has been lately showing irritation to the bars under saddle, kind of like "Mum, please! I'm a big girl now, I don't need my 'training bars' on anymore!" I should mention this mare's biggest issue has always been with contact/anything to do with the head and mouth as she was beaten around the head, and also from a racing stables where they deemed her "unstoppable" in the cart (she has excellent braking skills under saddle).
I decided to put her into a Korsteel JP Oval Mouth Eggbutt Snaffle (http://www.legacytack.com/mm5/graphi...valmoutheb.jpg) which I used to have on my last gelding who ADORED the bit and was a different horse with it. The difference between the tom thumb, minus the bars, is that its slightly thicker, and also double jointed.
My main question is, how long should I wait to see if she likes the bit? I rode her in it for the first time today (mouthed her in it last week before we were struck by the snow storm) and it was argument city for the first half of the ride. I realise it was because we've both had the bars on the side of the tom thumb and Honey hasn't ever really had to deal with turning without backup being there. That being said I can drop the reins and ask her to turn and she will go by leg aids. She seemed hesitant, and confused, which bless her, I can completely understand. Though every time I asked her to turn we'd have an argument - she'd ignore my aids until she realised there was a fence in front, or she'd just stop and throw her weight around.
I should mention I can be a nervous rider - though its more I tense up without realising, than sitting there thinking I'm going to die if something goes wrong like I used to haha... and I don't like when she does her little stunts because I'm partially damaged in my leg from a riding accident, so I do believe she tested her luck today cos it was new and foreign and she didn't know what to do. She's never nasty, just stubborn like me
I do plan to ride her in it a couple more times... we did have improvement by the end of the ride, though my legs were knackered - I never realised just how lazy we both were being!!
I guess I'm just after advice on how long it should take to teach a green horse about turning, after having their "training bars" on for so long? My gelding was an instant switch so I've never had this issue before... and I don't want to ride her in a bit that she doesn't like either...
Thanks in advance :)