To all gaited lovers/riders/enthusiasts/everybody else who thinks TWH bits are torture devices/people willing to help break the TWH bit stereotype:
I didn't put this in 'Horse Articles' because I figured it'd get more 'gaited attention'.
Many people think that TWH bits are man's torture to gaited horses. But, however, if you look at some of them, they look the exact same or very close to, a regular 'horse' curb:
twh good bit.jpg
Ever seen a Cathedral? Again. Not a TWH bit, and certainly not as harsh.
Now this IS a TWH bit. Well, interchangeable port and shank, really. We have this same one with even SHORTER shanks. Oh yes, EXTREMELY harsh, now, eh?
low port.jpg 3 inch.jpg
Equivilent? Funny.. Couldn't even find one.
It's bits like these that have made people think that ALL TWH bits are sinister:
*cringe* Yikes. But many regular gag bits around have the same action. It's not just a TWH thing.
You have probably heard me 'yell' at people for using a long-shanked bit. But the fact that it has long shanks isn't the problem. It's the horse people use it on. Some young, inexperienced greeny has no business using a longer shanked bit. That's how you mess up good horses at 3.
You may also be thinking 'TWH bits are used with constant, horrible, restricting pressure'. Wrong. Most TWH bits are made to swivel, allowing natural head-bobbing movement. It's the person who's riding the horse who decieds how to use it, not the bit itself. There is no reason to stereotype a bit, but the owner. Now, I'm not saying TWH owners are bad. Heck, I AM one. In fact, there shouldn't be a stereotype at all... A bit is a bit, and the person who is using it should be mature enough to judge how much pressure to use with it and what horse he's using it on. As little as possible, preferably. Shanks are for finished horses. Many people forget that, including myself.
A great lesson I learned: Tradition is not always the answer. Just because some high-up-there trainer says to start your horse in a shank, dosen't always mean you should. The TWH tradition is to start then a standard 6 inch snank with low port. WoW. Still dosen't mean you should. I always had Sunny in a big ol' shank, until I was told to try the complete opposite: A D ring snaffle. I was like, 'What?! My horse will kill me!' Guess what? It worked. It didn't happen over-night, but it happened and he went on a group trail ride the other day with it and was a doll. Not saying your horse will automatically click with it, but it does take time. Not overnight.
So what is the point of this thread? To explain how a TWH bit is only as harsh as the person who's riding with it makes it. TWH bits can come in interchangeable pieces, so you can make a bit as harsh/light as you want. I really don't see the point in even using one because they are so similar to most shanked bits, but they do, however, swivel for the TWH's natural head bobbing action.
That is all I have to say for now :]