I've heard so many bad things about Tom Thumb bits, read the article by Mark Rashid,how they give confusing signals,etc. The thing is, at the place I ride at (I ride Western), they use TT bits. They start their horses out with snaffles and keep them in those for a few years (the owners said something around 5 or 6).
They do natural horsemanship there, and that's why I think they have the snaffles and TTs. I heard about how snaffles and TTs have the nutcracker effect, and I believe that is when the jointed part hits the roof of the mouth, but after messing around a little with the bits, I found the only way to get the nutcracker effect is if the shanks are pulled inward.
The owners have +35 years of experience around horses, and I know they know what they're doing. The whole thing about TT bits just confuses me. I hear people with horses that do fine in them, and others say they're terrible bits.
These horses do fine in the snaffles; will the TT bits cause any pain? I'm sure the owners have a reason to be using TTs and I'm sure they've heard the controversy on them. So, what are your opinions on TTs? In soft hands and horses that are used to snaffles, and they mild bits?