Recently I purchased a new bit. I've always been a french link snaffle kinda gal. I'm just not that creative when it comes to bits, and also I'm afraid to use different bits as a crutch, or overbit my horse. But I wanted something new, for some specific reasons that I thought were reasonable and justifiable.
This bit is different from Gavin's old bit in that it's an eggbutt rather than a loose ring, it has a differently shaped link in the middle, it's thicker in general, and it's made of aurigan (some metal HS created), which is supposed to help them get all slobbery.
I wanted a fixed ring bit as it helps to stabilize contact and take out a little of the rider's "noise". I don't think I'm a "loud" rider with my hands, but I wouldn't call them quiet either.
I also wanted a material to make him salivate more. I realize salivation comes from bit acceptance, but I also think salivation helps with bit acceptance (a little bit of the ole chicken and the egg scenario there). My thought being if he salivates more, he may come to accept the bit more.
Based on these wants, I bought the Herm Sprenger dynamic aurigan eggbutt bit. What a mouthful, huh?! I've ridden Gavin in it twice and he is definitely steadier into contact. This is especially noticeable on the straight aways, where he likes to pop up and take off. It's harder to keep him on the bit when I'm not also asking for bend, but he seems happy to work into it now. He is also salivating more. I know this because every time we take walk breaks I'm leaning over to check his mouth (horse people are weird…) ;)
This is also a milder bit. I didn't realize how thin his other bit was until comparing it to the new one. The change has got to feel better on his lips. Though I'm unsure of the height of his palate, he doesn't seem uncomfortable - so I don't think it's too big for his mouth.
So yes, I'm happy with the bit! And that was my criteria for keeping it. I wasn't going to keep it if it was just okay, and he went about the same in it. That wouldn't make sense - as I nearly wiped out my monthly spending money on this thing.
On another, slightly embarrassing note - I have the hardest time getting Gavin to transition from trot to canter. He almost always (95% of the time) runs into the canter. I try to prepare him better, I balance him, I get him feeling more forward, then I say "ready?…", I sit, I ask and kiss at the same time. He always takes between 2-4 strides of fast trot before cantering and before I'm able to think to give him a tap with the whip (tap sounds so much sweeter than spank) my legs are all tensed and curled up and I'm just squeezing the hell out of him and looking like a jockey. I know I need to ask with my legs and then ask with the whip (and not move my legs out of position), but I have a hell of a time remembering. Anyone have any suggestions?