Most gaited horses move with a little higher head set than the quarter horse folks. Gaited horses don't roll peanuts with their nose.
So gaited horses bits need to get the horses to carry their head slightly higher and break at the poll. They ride with a slight amount of contact with the mouth, Not a loose rein. This creates a pivot point for the horse.
The gaited breeds typically had a lot of head shake as they get into their gait. The bit stays put, but the head shakes and the pivot point of the shake is the bit. Go over to Youtube and search for Foxtrotter or other gaited breds and watch a couple of the videos and see how the head rocks back and forth at that pivot point over the bit.
So most trainers and riders. Don't need a lot of leverage. But rather want something that gives them that constant soft contact with the mounth.
Traditionally shanked bits were used with gaited horses because the horses were trained to go with an inverted frame but highly tucked headset. This is difficult to accomplish with a snaffle bit, but easy to do with a curb.
The leverage is not harsh, but is a mechanical aid for the horse that helps him to shift his weight rearward, round up through the back, and collect on the bit
This can be done with a normal snaffle, but takes more skills on the riders part and longer for the horse to learn
Last edited by Painted Horse; 03-13-2010 at 08:57 AM.