Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
The trainer I had 'break' a horse was all western, but she taught the mare using a snaffle bit...said other bits came later in her training, if we wanted. The two more experienced western horses didn't blink an eye about a snaffle bit. Well, the mare did, but she hates all bits...although she'll accept a snaffle, just prefers (strongly) to be ridden without a bit.
They would need some work if I wanted to keep them on the bit, if that is OK terminology. I don't, so I haven't tried it much. But training them to accept some pressure on the bit shouldn't differ from any other horse learning it, unless someone made them bit-shy by combining harsh hands with a harsh bit.
The only difference I saw was switching saddles - English puts more pressure per square inch, but is less restrictive overall. My horses were a bit hesitant at first under an English saddle, but after about 10 minutes they broke into a trot and didn't want to quit. They swap back and forth now without concern.