I also used an Amazon gift card to order her a very special bit for when I start to ride her. The Happy Mouth bits are expensive, but they are apple flavored with a soft cushion of rubber around them. My horse friend from high school, Michelle, who has amazing horse skills, recommended this particular bit. I decided it was worth the investment. I hope Francie will like it.
One thing Francie still need to work on is trust - she doesn't seem to trust anyone but me, and is scared of others. I have started having Paul lead her some, so that she can learn that others don't mean to harm her. And if Pierce is around, I hold her while he gently pets her neck. She cringes if anyone tries to pet her besides me (but adores when I scratch her face and neck for her). I don't know if someone hurt her or not. But she's not skittish in other circumstances, so I am inclined to think perhaps so. This is something I think she can overcome, with time and repeated exposure to kind-hearted people. Francie is also still reluctant to be caught. I generally have to have food to catch her. As long as I have food, though, she is fine.
I'm thrilled with Francie's progress so far. In the coming Spring months, I do plan to hop on her back and see where we go from here. Thanks to those of you who continue to root for her happiness!