I have a 13yr old half arab that I want to switch from hunt seat to western pleasure for next show season. She has never had anything in her mouth except broken snaffle. She has a good headset and I don't think id need a harsh bit. But I'm not sure what to use to introduce the arab show bit styles to her. Which one should I start with? And is there any respected arab western trainers you could recommend in NE ohio or western PA? Thnx
I've transitioned several horse to Western, and my bit of choice is a pelham to do so. Generally it's not the mouthpiece, but the addition of leverage that is a change to a snaffle ridden horse. I would not use a shanked snaffle for western pleasure. Too severe with too much of a nut-cracker effect. Also, remember you'll be riding with one hand, and if your reins are the slightest bit uneven, it will be readily apparent in a snaffle mouthpiece. Also, an Arabian western pleasure horse is expected to maintain his frame with little or no contact. I've always found that you want a bit with few moving parts. The weight of the shanks with a snaffle mouthpiece will cause movement in the horse's mouth, particularly on a loose rein, and before you know it you will have a horse with a "busy" mouth.