Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Ontario, Canada
It sounds like you have an awesome horse! It's exciting that you want to learn to jump together!
If you're jumping small fences, you shouldn't have to go much harsher. Going into the jump your body really dictates how they go. Are you slouching at all when he "locks in"? How is your seat? When I was teaching my old tb to jump my body really decided how responsive she would be. If I was nice and deep in the saddle, with my shoulders back and hands down she would respond to a good, strong half halt perfectly, but if I was too relaxed or didn't seem tall and sturdy she would grab the bit and run. I used a french link loose ring snaffle just incase you're wondering.
At the level it sounds like you're going at you should have soft hands though. I would start off with a myler bit, the people I know who use them adore theirs. They're designed not to bruise the horse's palette or pinch too much. In my barn's school there are a few snaffles with a slow twist that help the stronger horses. For me I use a three ring elevator bit with a single joint. I don't think you'll need it unless you plan to go out do cross country or high jumper shows. It is nice though as it can be a lot of bit, but it is adjustable.
If you're not going near 3 foot I don't think you should really look into a new bit right away. Horses tend to rush into the fences when they're learning to jump. Try to keep a deep, stable seat and a tall and back upper body and just focus on riding the jumps and getting your horse used to it, if he hasn't calmed down or is getting worse in a couple months then get a stronger bit.
One thing my coach said to me when I was having a rough patch teachin my mare was "ride jumping the same as flat, it's just dressage with obstacles". It really resonated with me, I don't know if it'll help you much.
Good luck, let me know if I'm unclear at all!