MAG1723, I actually do much of the same stuff with my horse! English, Western, shows, dressage, gymkhanas, trails, obstacle clinics... I use a french link snaffle 80% of the time (ESPECIALLY gymkhanas! I cry every time I see a rider with a curb bit and short gymkhana reins, yanking away on the horse's mouth!), and the only time I switch into my low-port, short-shank curb is when it's required by showing or if I'm just switching it up to keep my horse fresh and sensitive to a bit where I am not providing much of real contact, but using my body and neck-reining for direction.
IMHO it takes some arena practice and control exercises "bit down" to a French link snaffle if your horse is used to something else, but it is so worth it!
ETA... keep in mind, you don't need a curb bit to neck rein! I neck rein in a snaffle all of the time.
Last edited by existentialpony; 03-14-2013 at 02:57 PM.