First off, I agree it's a training problem. It sounds like you may need to go back to basic basics and fill in a lot of holes. I don't normally suggest changing bits, but in this case I would definitely change out of the Tom Thumb (yes I'm another Tom Thumb hater) and go to a snaffle and just start off again from scratch. The Tom Thumb will MAGNIFY your mistakes and because you admittedly have work to do, there will be plenty of them. A nice Eggbut or even a lozenge or french link type snaffle will be a lot less harsh and make your horse a little more willing. Remember, you stop with your seat, not your bit.
I also suggest you get a trainer to help you. Let them know that you recognize that you and your horse have a lot of holes and need to go back to basics. Have patience, this may take a while as there is no quick fix for what is going on.
YES it is a training problem. Respectfully no to the trainer.
I don't know if you noticed, but in my first post I mentioned I have had him outside a total of 3 times, and those habits only show up outside. Inside the fence, I can ride that horse bareback with a rope halter and a lead line, using neck reining, my seat,and my legs, even close to the fence he is an angel.
I definitely already went back to basics. This horse had terrible ground manners. Before I started what I am doing now, I taught him bending, yielding hind, back, and verbal cues, and respecting space. Along with retraining him to take a bit, and to stand when tied, pick up his feet, lunge, and lead calmly. He used to pull through a lead, bite, threaten to kick, and was just in general a jerk. I'm proud of where he is now, and I don't think I can go any more basic. I do ride him inside, but honestly he does so well, I wanted him challenged. I continue to go back and forth between inside and outside. Plus he really does go out well, its just coming back that I have problems with.
Holes. Yes. Absolutely he has holes. I have had him for about 8 months, and I am now finally to the point where I am certain he is ready for saddle work. He does definitely need work under saddle. Someone screwed him up big time. However, his progress on the ground is phenomenal, and I can lead that horse anywhere. I can ride him in the fence no problems. Arena, no problem.
I know how to fix his vices, I just need time and patience. I believe I do have the know how to fix them, as I have worked with these horses before. But I also know the bit is not helping me fix them, it is hindering me. I will look into all the bits that have been mentioned, as they may be just what I need to properly train him to stop with the shenanigans. I am NOT looking for a quick fix, or a fix all, I just want a better communication device. The ONLY reason I used the tomb thumb is because it was used on him before, and it was my best guess as to what he would respond to. However, I think we have moved beyond that, and I need a new bit.
Thank you everyone for your input. May I stress again: I know its a training problem!!