My 17.3 changed to Eventing from Jumpers goes perfectly XC in that same $10 dogbone, plain cavesson. Was in pelham, figure 8, running martingale.
Don't change bits, use the rest of the winter to school obedience. Go all the way back to ground poles/Xrails and make the halfhalt mean something huge. Then as soon as the footing is good go school XC starting w/ elementary sized stuff re-inforcing what you just established.
Good plan, he already listens to half halt so much better doing courses in the ring with it, so i can imagine he'll be better xcountry too than in the past. Thanks!
Originally Posted by Ltc4h
My vote would be on getting a rubber mullen pelham and ride with two reins. You could ride predominantly on the snaffle rein like you usually do, but you'd have that leverage as backup if he gets squirrley. I like to use them as a transitional bit for horses who get strong. Ultimately I want to ride everything in a snaffle, but some horses need retraining before I can get there. I've found the pelham to be a useful tool in getting to that point.
It might not be the big deal you think it's going to be. I was pleasantly surprised when I took my horse galloping the other day. I had recently switched him to a HS Duo and realized half-way to the gallop field that I may not have any brakes in his new bit. If anything he was better, more responsive, less argumentative, quieter and came back fine -- maybe not as quickly but I had a lot more "in between" gears if that makes sense. I could keep my leg on and collect him just fine and get any gear I wanted. I think it's just a different feeling - rather than a sharp reaction it was a gradual, but calmer, kinder reaction and communication. I liked it once I learned to trust it.