My horse is three years-old. His rollbacks and barrel work are nice. I need a bit to help round out his turns and stops. I would like your recommendation on which bit I should try. I would also like to know what type of bit you would suggest for a young horse that is just starting the training process.
I commend you on the nice job it sounds like you are doing. I do have to caution you to remember your horse is still very young and green. Though it sounds like you are doing a good job, most horses don’t mature completely until they are between five and seven years-old. Listen to your horse and know when to back off if necessary. Don’t sacrifice his mind or confidence by trying to take him too far too fast.
Now is an excellent time to begin the biting process. Hopefully you have been using a training snaffle to help create your horse’s foundation. From the snaffle, I would graduate to a transition bit in order to introduce curb pressure and leverage for additional control. The Tender Touch Reinsman’s #730 or #754 are both transition bits and offer a small amount of gag. Reinsman’s Lite Lifter #733 is a more solid feeling bit with no gag. These would be my bits of choice at this stage of your training. Remember to return to your training snaffle if you run into difficulties. It is always good to introduce new bridles to your horse on the ground first. Here is where your round pen comes in handy. Also a good tip is to remember to ride your horse in-between your hands with equal pressure on both reins and use your legs to help move your horse forward into the bridle.
On a young horse or a green horse that I am just starting to train, I use the direct control offered by the training snaffle. Reinsman’s Sweet Six #744 is my favorite because it offers the addition of a light curb along with the traditional lip, tongue and bar pressure of the traditional snaffle. I usually complement the training snaffle with a Cowboy-type Martingale, Reinsman #7762 and Button Hole-Split Reins described in my book, #7303. The combination of equipment will help you ride your young horse forward and enable you to balance him in between your hands.
Happy training and remember to enjoy the process,