I have a 16 yr old Holstiener cross, George who I have rode as a dressage horse since he was three years. Recently he seems completely over dressage work. He is harder to soften and just seems bored (I have to say that since he is a bit older and not as much of performer as he once was, I am too!)
Anyway, the other day some jumps were set up and my girlfriend gave me a little lesson over some cross rails. George seemed to love it. He fired right up and seemed to "lock in" on any jump in his path. I have free jumped him and been working over ground poles and he seems really receptive (he has zero past jumping experience). He is so smart that I can tell he is figuring out distance on his own with me just along for the ride (what a good boy).
My problem is I suspect he needs a bit that is a little harsher. I currently ride him in a french-link eggbutt snaffle, and sometimes in a double bridle if we are working on upper-level dressage work. He has always been a strong horse but I haven't wanted to use a harsher bit on a regular basis because I feel he will eventually just get too tough in the month. With lots of half halts and gentle sponging he usually comes around quickly in his dressage work and relaxes, but when he sees a jump it's like he just going for it and I can hardly pull him back. I've heard jumpers in my barn talk of "bracing" against his month but I hate that feeling. I'd like to have a bit more control but not feel like I am hanging on his mouth.
Yesterday after going over our small cross pole jump he locked in on the three footer next in line and it was all I could do to pull him into a circle to not go over that one (we are jumping like 1'6 right now and it's not always pretty so despite his motivation we were not ready to go for a jump that big yet)
Could anyone suggest a bit that is a step up but not too intense? Or maybe some tips in general (and yes, his flat work is certainly up to par, he is a third level dressage horse)