I have used my eventer as a lesson horse for 3 years. He misses galloping XC and he is SO good at it. But he is running through the hands now due to being a lesson horse. So I am refreshing - schooling dressage work- he isvery good stadium. But XC he becomes this raging advanced horse who wants to gallop and jump big - he looks like he grows 4 inches and his fire in his eyes.
SO. Should I put a stronger bit for XC and ride him forward - find a rhythm and riding him out of it? Or should I leave his mild snaffle in and make him trot and calm down? I feel like I should do the former.
I don't have the answer, but I am in a similar situation -- I'm leasing a former Prelim packer who has been used only occasionally as a lesson horse for the past 2/3 years. He is DEAD quiet in the ring, even jumping, but in our first x-c school, he turned into a locomotive! He was having so much fun out there, but part of it too was that he had become very heavy on his forehand and pulling. We went in our first starter event last weekend (BN) and I went for the slow and steady approach, coming down to a trot between the first few fences to make sure he was balanced and thinking. By the end of the course, he was relaxed, balanced, and happy as can be!
My trainer never suggested a stronger bit, which I was happy about. I just added a breastplate so I'd have something to hang on to
That is a good option - I used a rubber pelham with two reins on my exracer who is almost 20 now - when I retrained him when he was 6 years old. I went from that to a Dr. B and then to a french which was good because after 4 years of doing jumpers - I switched him to dressage. He had had a BAD fall in a steeplechase when he was 4 and he is a frantic jumper even when I humbly worked with 3 different BNTs.
I did put him in a Dr. B (back to the horse in question) and he just fought me. I am sure he would have gotten used to the tongue pressure but I think being a very powerful horse - I really need it to be less of a pure win the fight answer. SO the pelham might be a good one so I can ride him on the snaffle rein first to school him back to listening.
He is fun to ride / gallop XC. If he will LISTEN to the hands again - you can simply balance him and go and get him in a rhythm and enjoy yourself. But since he doesnt listen right now - it is a bit scary.