I had my new gelding out on the trails today and while he's wonderful, we were riding with a friend and I found out that he *hates* to have distance put between him and a trail buddy! If we were cantering out front, I had complete control of him and could collect him up into a comfy canter, but if we were behind (especially when I was asking him to trot while friend cantered ahead so he wouldn't overexert himself-- he's a little out of shape) I had to one-rein stop him several times and he didn't learn no matter how many times we'd go through the exercise. (eg. He picks up canter, I ask him to trot, he ignores, I pull his head around, he slows/stops, I give him his head back, he goes to a canter about half of the time)
I have him in a french link snaffle. I don't like the fact that I can't even phase him with rein contact when he has his mind made up. I've also noticed in the arena too, he gives me a tough time paying attention to the bit whereas when I tried him before buying, he was in a curb and due to the leverage, he was super attentive and sensitive to contact.
I don't want to go to a curb, but can someone recommend a good bit that (1) I can use for schooling and trails that might make him pay a little more attention, but (2) won't make him hard-mouthed?
PS-- we spent all yesterday working on downward gait transitions, so the fact that he ignored my down cues today was a big problemo.