Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tampa Bay area, FL
Why don't you try a 3-piece o-ring snaffle, or a french link? My OTTB goes in that much better than he does in a regular snaffle. He doesn't gape his mouth as much (which I'm assuming yours does) and even though he's progressed to chewing on it, he does foam up nicely after a short amount of time. Other than being unstightly though, it really isn't a problem....just annoying.
As for the girthing problems, just slowly tighten the girth. The process I use(d) is: put saddle on, tighten girth, put split boots on, put bridle on, tighten girth again, walk out to mounting block and/or round pen, check girth before mounting, walk/warm up a little bit, check girth final time, tighten if needed before trotting.
When you want to stop, don't pull back on the reins, do more of a squeezing technique with your hands to get him to slow up. On/off pressure from the bit won't send his head sky high, or give him something to lean on in case he wants to try and speed up. Also, there's a good chance he's throwing his head to avoid the bit because the bit you're using is too harsh on his mouth for your circumstances...in a curb, you should never have to exert a huge amount of pressure on the mouth....even the "squeezing" technique I mentioned would be too much.
Also, theres a good chance that your saddle is too wide for your horse. There's not a lot of gullet clearance, and when you sit in the saddle, usually they sink a little bit.
As for the pawing, chewing, dancing, etc while standing still its just something that comes with having any kind of off the track horse. Start teaching him to stand still by rewarding him with movement.