Depends what sort of tom thumb you're talking about. I've seen a lot of people here bad-mouthing it and it's mystified me as to why, seeing as I know many people that use them and used one myself on my mare with no problems.
And then I found out something important. My idea of a tom thumb is this, which is apparently the 'Australian' version.
I'm curious to know how the 'other' tom thumb works now, so I'll be lingering around. It looks vaguely similar to a curb to me, what with the shanks, and I presume it works in a similar fashion.
I am not sure what you mean by a "beginner's bit". Beginner rider or beginner horse?
I don't think it has any connection to beginners. It is sometimes used as a "transition" bit to get a horse from a plain snaffle such as used to break the horse, up to a curb bit as required in showing Western pleasure.
The problem that has been so often pointed out is that by adding shanks to a snaffle bit , you no longer have a snaffle bit, you have a broken curb.
By it's design , it kind of mixes up the two different ways that the two bits give their signals and the end result can be sloppy communication, and a horse that learns to come behind that bit.
It isn't spawn of the devil , as some would make out, but it isn't a "nicer" bit than a regular straight curb.
Haha that was me too Tracer when I first joined here (but I'm not really keen on single jointed full cheek or Tom Thumb/Fullmer bits either because I feel the cheek pieces increase the nutcracker effect - probably not a bad bit but not something I'd use). Posted via Mobile Device
Tom Thumb offers a shank with a broken mouth piece, which I find is a recipe for disaster. It also doesn't make sense to me.
So what exactly happens when you apply pressure to the reins with a TT? Well for the most part I would say TT's shanks are 4" long maybe? So with ever pound you pull on the horse's mouth it creates 4 pounds of pressure on the horse's mouth. With ever 2 pounds of pressure you put on the reins you apply 8 pounds of pressure you apply to the horse's mouth.
(How many inches the shank is) 4 x how many pounds of pressure you put on the reins= the amount of pressure that's on the horse's mouth.
Since the TT has a broken mouth piece, it pinches the tongue and hits the roof of her tongue all in one bump of the reins. Leverage bits (like the TT and any other shank bit) encourage the horse's head to drop, while all the horse's I've seen throw their heads up and are confused.
I personally think the TT is NOT a beginner bit to ANYONE (horse or rider). Its too confusing and doesn't make sense.
If your going to ride in a shank, I would suggest this Myler:
This bit doesn't offer a broken mouth piece, a small shank, and a roller. To me this would make more sense than a TT.
Wow, now that I understand what it does it sound very harsh! In fact my horse does like to throw her head and doesn't respond very well to pressure (probably because she is too used to it and has learned to ignore it) Thanks TheAQHAGirl