Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Gloomy Indianapolis
I do not agree that a Walker needs a long shanked walking horse bit. IMO too many gaited horses are shoved into long shanked or gag bits when they're completely unnecessary because people don't want to take the time needed to teach them proper collection. Part of the reason people think gaited horses need to be "set" in their gait is because they want to start them way too early and push them too fast. One does come across the odd gaited horse that isn't strongly gaited and needs a little work, but most are born gaiting and all they need is a knowledgable rider that can develop the natural gait through consistency and communication with the horse, and most of all TRAINING. Using a strong bit to crank their head up doesn't teach the horse anything, except to dislike it and maybe chew on the shanks?
Ok rant over, lol
OP, as mentioned above have the teeth checked, at that age if they haven't been tended to there could definitely be some impacted caps or hooks that need filed. I don't know how many bits you have access to, but MPO is that you should start with the mildest bit you can find and see how they go in it. Yes, it may take a little bit of adjustment on the horses part, especially if they've only been ridden in "walker bits" but I have found that the MOST needed is a very short shanked bit, but if that's the route you go please try to find one that has the shanks curved backward, this reduces the amount of pressure applied.