Since he's already shaking his head, which is a very clear indication that his mouth is in pain, adding more pressure to his face using the chin strap and putting a harsher bit in his mouth is certainly not going to solve the problem.
The chin strap adds more pressure to his face, hence why he appears to have 'improved'. He won't toss his head to tell you he's in pain because it hurts to do so, so he has no choice but to cope with the pain.
Soft hands or not, the bit is still there and it is irritating for him.
Either trial going bitless or use a very lightweight bit. I recommend a happy mouth bit or a rubber alternative. These are more comfortable for a horse to carry and may result in him being a lot softer to your hand and less resistant.
As you've said he's currently in a 3 piece snaffle (lozenge bit or french link?) both of which cause tongue pressure, you may be better off trying a regular snaffle or a curved mullen.
I apologise if I appear to come across as harsh, but I'm just saying it how it is.
Best of luck! I hope you find the right bit for your horse!
Hi Sierra, 3 piece snaffle is fine.
How thick is the shaft over his gums? Ensure that bit is not larger gap.
Has his teeth been done?
Thank you! I was against the thought, and have been using a 3 piece snaffle as his primary bit. He fights it and it's hard to stop him and stay in control! I use a very soft hand with him and sometimes that's not enough. Should I maybe downsize to a softer bit so theirs as little pain as a bit could be? Maybe if his mouth didn't hurt as much he wouldn't fight it as much and just do it? Idk
Shaking and throwing his head are learnt behaviour. Harsher bit in this case is usually a bad idea. 2 main causes.
1. Bit causing irritation- what type of bit are you using?
2. Rider holding pressure on horse and the horse learns by throwing its head it is released. Fix can take some time but possible.
Throwing a head usually comes from agitation, impatience or frustration!
If you work out why your horse is doing it, you may be able to work out how to stop it!
Experiment. Watch your horse, see what gains a head shake and what doesn't and work from there!
Hope I helped! Xx
Depending on what the bit is, tbh
I think you should keep the bit as is. A harsher bit would give him a more sore mouth and it would change a lot. Maybe just stick to the chin strap but you could also try a running martingale ? I don't know much about martingales because I never use them but I've heard they help with tossing heads? Sorry if I wasn't much help💞 but I do think you should keep the bit as is:)