This week has been a bit trying with Cactus.
In the arena, it's been a task to find a happy medium between asking enough to keep Cactus engaged, looking for the correct answer & not checking out (ex., going around in 20 circles before he finally looks to stop when asking for a One Rein Stop), but not so much that he gets frustrated. As mentioned before, he's got A LOT of tension & desire to brace in his head & neck. We've been working on Vertical Flexion quite a bit. It's a basis of a nice stop, back up, & rate.
With that, it's become obvious that I'm having to do a lot of pulling when he gets to bracing & pulling as well. To see if we can find something that is more appropriate & effective than a snaffle, I've been trying a few bits that I have. For now, I've been using a Jim Edwards Ball Correction. I like the way he feels in this when he's moving forward, even trotting & loping circles had more control. He's unsure about the leverage & port when asking him to stop & back, but that will take a bit of time to become familiar with it. I've also added a cavesson to encourage him to quiet his mouth a bit. It's not so tight that it completely restricts him from opening his mouth, but it makes it clear that it's not the easy thing to do to evade the bit.