Bit question (not another!) - slightly too soft or slightly too heavy?
My fancy schmancy new-to-me Nathe came in the mail last week, and I feel confident asking this question now that we've put in a few rides in it. Horsie is a bit out of shape, so I'm taking that into consideration as well.
Prior to his 2.5 month bout of bedrest for an abscess, he was going relatively* happily in a french link D and had made some serious progress in the weeks leading up to time off. Good connection, really lifting the back and stepping through from behind UP into the bridle, scoring low 70's at a show about a month before the time off began.
Fast foward to now, and his first dozen or so rides being back into work, still in the french link D. He's wanting to hide behind the bit in that all too common fake arched neck posture, with corresponding dropped back, trailing hind leg, and heavy shoulder. He's weak, so I'm not wanting to over do it and ask for something he can't sustain, but at the same time I just couldn't seem to get him up in front of the leg and into a solid connection, even at the walk. So I came across a Nathe being sold second hand for a good price(never used, only tried on) and jumped on it.
In the Nathe, he's much more willing to take and keep the connection - still the occasional unsteady wobble or bulge, but I feel like I can steady him easily and he doesn't seem so disrupted by half halts with this bit. And he's not hiding behind it or trying to fake me out. He is, however, a bit heavier in it and I am having some trouble here and there with asking him to really lift his shoulder and not putz around on the forehand at the trot. I understand some of this is probably a strength issue.
So, I ask - what is better? Working in the french link D to get him back in front of the leg and accepting contact, or staying in the Nathe, where he readily accepts the contact but is slightly heavier, and working to lighten the forehand? I'm trending towards the Nathe, but would appreciate input for either side. :)