Argentine Snaffle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-31-2011, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Argentine Snaffle

My horse came with this bit, a reinsman argentine snaffle with copper. Why is this called a snaffle when it is a curb?

I've been doing different stuff with her recently --jumping, "dressage"-- and am riding her with light bit contact in the arena (we still keep a lose rein on trails). It is appropriate to ride a horse with contact in a Western curb bit? Something tells me no...

Also, are those little rings on the side attachments for the rein to make it into a true snaffle?

EDIT: Searched the forum, and it seems like a lot of people hate this bit and that it is terribly harsh. Is it really that bad? Should I change to a regular snaffle?

Last edited by Brighteyes; 01-31-2011 at 10:57 PM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-31-2011, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Upon further further research, this thing is starting to scare me a little.
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-01-2011, 03:20 AM
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the small circles on the mouth piece are for the curb chain.
Other posters on this forum have sworn that this bit is NOT a Tom Thumb and works totally differently. I fail to see how that is possible. Other than the shank on this bit being slightly curved , which would give the horse some prewarning of engagement of bit, it IS a Tom Thumb.
Not a snaffle, it is a broken curb.

Use with light hands and care and not constant engagement. I dont think it works very well with direct reining and I don't like riding in them and think they are crap. BUT, lots of folks use them without issue. So, who knows? i doubt it is tortureing the horse or anything.
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-01-2011, 04:08 AM
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Tiny, I will have to disagree with you. The rings at the end of the mouth are there to keep the bit from sliding up and down on the shanks, but they can also be used for your reins to turn it into more of a snaffle (it still wouldn't be a true snaffle since the bridle attaches in different rings). The curb strap is supposed to attach in the same ring as your headstall.

This isn't the worst bit out there but there are much better options. If you are riding on any contact at all, then you really should be in some form of true snaffle: something without shanks. There are a lot of people who get along with bits like this just fine but I just don't like the way that they feel. Not to mention that it is impossible to direct rein without confusing the crap out of your horse . When I am using a curb bit, I like something with a more solid mouth that isn't going to collapse on their mouth if I lift a rein.
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-01-2011, 03:47 PM
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Going against the grain, here, but I think an argentine is a great bit, especially for transitioning from a snaflle to curb. The shanks aren't as long or as straight as those on a tom thumb (used those yeeeears ago), so less leverage involved. The argentines I use have even shorter shanks than the one pictured, and they're my go-to bits for transitioning my young horses from snaffle to curb. In fact, I still ride a 4-yr old and a 7-yr old in them most of the time, as they seem more comfortable in it than a solid-mouthed curb. As far as direct reining with them goes, with the swivel cheeks, my horses have no problem understanding. In fact, I do a lot more two-handing riding when I'm training and schooling, than single-handed. IMO they are a relatively mild bit.

However, as the old adage goes - any bit can be severe in the wrong hands.

Last edited by KSAQHA; 02-01-2011 at 03:50 PM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-01-2011, 04:08 PM
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i agree with KSAQHA i've used an Argentine snaffle though mine is a little different. and it's the bit i broke my mare in and the bit i still ride in, she loves it and i have light hands and i love usign this bit as i am so comfortable using it. and i can direct rein perfect in mine as well as neck rein! i love my argentine snaffle and as long as it works for me and my horse i doubt i'll ever use any other bit. they are very mild considering all of the other choices. but again a bit is only as harsh as the hands using it.
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-01-2011, 04:33 PM
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I don't know much about "western" bits, as I have always ridden English and used the more traditional snaffle type bits for years. However, the trainer who was working with my guy fo 6 months last year used this bit just for the purpose KSAQHA stated. We had been using a regular snaffle for training, but needed to have a bit with shanks for a show last fall-so this was the one he suggested. It worked well for that purpose.

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post #8 of 11 Old 02-01-2011, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Okay... So I can use this bit for trail riding when I'm on a slack rein and steering with my legs and for showing when the class requires a curb, but it's best to use a snaffle for my English ventures. I have noticed she has a hard time understanding straight direct rein cues without leg. Otherwise, she likes her bit. No resistance, head flipping, etc. I don't really like the feel of it on contact either. I can't feel her mouth as well -- it feels weird.

Since she likes the mouthpiece on her argentine, should I get a snaffle with the same mouthpiece? Would y'all recommend a loose ring, D-ring, or something else?
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post #9 of 11 Old 02-01-2011, 05:20 PM
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My personal favorite is a simple loose ring but you should go with whatever you and your mare like the best. There really isn't anything that says you have to search high and low for a snaffle with the same type of mouth.
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-01-2011, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Alrighty! I like loose rings myself; nice rein feel. At Tractor Supply they have a couple different mouth types. I'll try around until she finds one she likes. (Assuming bits are returnable...)
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