I've been working with my young horse in a side pull and having great results. She had been in a snaffle but was quite heavy in it. The side pull has made her nice and light and forward but I need to transition her back to a bit. My side pull isn't equipped to use a bit with but I have a kineton noseband from a previous horse. Would this noseband with a mild snaffle be a good route to take to start using a bit again?
When I start young horses, I ride them for awhile in a side pull, and then add an english bridle underneath without the noseband. I use both sets of reins, gradually increasing the pressure on the bit reins and lessening the pressure on the side pull until the horse is going just on the bit reins. Make sense? If that doesn't work, a kineton noseband could help, as it would add some nose pressure if your horse pulls through the contact on the bit. I'm not sure if you show, or what discipline. If it's important to get to the point you're just riding off a bit and rein, I'd try to transition to a regular noseband. If not, maybe a combination bit or the kineton set-up would work.
I use a bradoon hanger under the side pull for the bit. You could just use another crown piece for it. Using two sets of reins I then start on the ground getting the responses I need in hand. As long as the bit fits nicely and the horse's teeth have been floated etc. it is usually a pretty smooth transition.
I have not used a kineton so I can't help you there.
Kudos to you for starting your young horse first without a bit. I wish more people would do this!
Thanks for the ideas! I'm hoping she decides she wants to be a hunter but she's an all around great young horse. My husband who is completely non horsey adores her and at just 4 yrs old she will haul him around on trails. She's a keeper no matter what.