Alright, so I am still having doubts as to using a bit in Ices mouth. Although the French Link I bought him a month or so ago seems to sit well in his mouth much better, as in he doesn't play with it/try to push it out as much, there's still a 50/50 chance on any given day that I will actually get it in his mouth. He knows the "head down" cue but as soon as he sees or hears a bit, I can see on his face he gets ready for a fight.
He doesn't just accept the headstall going over his head to put the bit in (he throws his nose up and knocks it out of my hands), so I have to take it apart at the cheek piece and come at him from the side. It was working well for awhile, and then he figured out my game, so now he sits there and leans into my hand yawning until he's pushed it out of my hand. I've tried carrying a crop to correct the yawning/stretching he does, but he doesn't pay any mind to the crop, he just goes on with his business. Once the bit is actually in his mouth, I find that he is much heavier on the forehand and harder to stop and turn.
I have a hackamore that I rode him in for a few months, and I honestly think he does beautifully in it. He's very light and comes off the forehand, and he pays much more attention to my seat and legs than in a bit. But, he's not exactly a "finished" horse by any stretch of the imagination, and as he has proved, when he wants to ignore the hackamore he can....but he comes back from it easily.
He is a 12 year old OTTB, and I do plan on talking to my trainer about the pro's and cons of each and what she feels he'd go better in, but I just wanted a little bit more advice on the matter from all of you.