I have a four year old paint gelding who has his basic ground manners down (for the most part). I am at the point in which I am hoping to back him in the next month or so, but have hit a kind of snag. He will be the first horse that I have started from the ground up. I know what I am doing for the most part and have people who have started horses before to help me, but I know very little about bits, and next to nothing about long lining. I'd like to get a bit of information on here because I'd like to make educated decisions about my horse rather than simply blindly following what friends tell me to do.
Question number one. What bit do you find to be best the start a horse in? Full cheek, D ring, loose ring, egg butt, etc? Single/double jointed snaffle? Something completely different? He has had a bit in his mouth a few times, a full cheek single jointed snaffle, as the last girl working with him got as far as saddling and bridling. Lunging him in it didn't go the greatest though, and he just doesn't seem to be comfortable with it. He is constantly mouthing it and king of hanging his mouth open. I believe full cheeks are good for teaching steering, but I was thinking about going with a french link, would that be a good idea? I also think his current bit is a little too thick for his mouth, so that might be part of the issue.
Question number two. I know next to nothing about long lining, but I would like to include it as a step in our training. I do not plan on attempting it by myself. The previous girl working with him (she owns him as of now until I get settled in my new place and purchase a new car) has extensive experience starting horse and as used long lining in the past. However, I would like to have a general understanding of how it works, and how to train a horse to do so. So I'd love to hear your stories, instructions, pros/cons and so on.
Anyway, thanks for reading if you did (sorry for the essay). And thank you ahead of time for any input you may have :]