tomb thumb / shanked snaffle - The Horse Forum

 
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-27-2010, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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tomb thumb / shanked snaffle

whats the difference?
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-27-2010, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Someone has to know:)
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-27-2010, 09:27 PM
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There really isn't a difference except 'shanked snaffle' is a misnomer. There is technically no such thing as a shanked snaffle as that term contradicts itself. A snaffle has a 1:1 ratio (for each pound you pull, they feel a pound on the mouth), and anything with shanks needs to have a curb strap/chain and that increases the ratio. How much it increases it depends on the length of the shank and the length of the purchase. So the simple answer is: there is no difference.

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post #4 of 10 Old 05-27-2010, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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But I always hear people saying how bad a tomb thumb is, so all shanked snaffles are bad?

I don't understand.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-27-2010, 09:56 PM
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A tom thumb is generally a joined curb with swivel shanks.

There is NO such thing as a shanked snaffle. The use of shanks automatically discounts the bit as a snaffle.

Tom thumbs are sometimes incorrectly called/labelled as a shanked snaffle, tom thumb snaffle, training snaffle, etc. All incorrect.

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post #6 of 10 Old 05-27-2010, 10:02 PM
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The style of the mouthpiece of the bit has nothing to do with the snaffle/curb designation. It's all about leverage and force multipliers; result of shanks vs. no shanks. For all practical purposes, the Tom Thumb is a curb with a mouthpiece more common on true snaffle bits (single jointed).

I will say that there is an American Tom Thumb bit (usually the victim of the false "snaffle" label) and the Australian Tomb Thumb, which I understand is somewhat different and less controversial (correct me if I'm wrong on that, AU posters!!).

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post #7 of 10 Old 05-27-2010, 11:13 PM
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An Australian tom thumb is just like a full cheek snaffle but with smaller arms. Like this:


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post #8 of 10 Old 05-27-2010, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AQHA View Post
But I always hear people saying how bad a tomb thumb is, so all shanked snaffles are bad?

I don't understand.
I don't know who is telling you that a tomb thumb is bad. It's just another bit, if used properly it is very effective. Shanks are also not bad if used properly. I personally use a double broken with a roller that has a shank, I use it on most of my horses and they absolutly love it. I have used snaffles of differents kinds and most of my horses hate it.

I personally don't like snaffles just because there is no leverage, it is a straight pull on the mouth that only uses pressure on the bars. I find that it makes my horses mouths tough so I go to a shank where I have to pull less and get better results. Therefore my horses don't get tough mouths and stay nice and soft.

So I guess what I'm saying is that snaffles and shanks are neither good nor bad, it all depends on the rider. They are the ones that are good or bad, not the bit. :)
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-28-2010, 12:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvera View Post

I personally don't like snaffles just because there is no leverage, it is a straight pull on the mouth that only uses pressure on the bars. I find that it makes my horses mouths tough so I go to a shank where I have to pull less and get better results. Therefore my horses don't get tough mouths and stay nice and soft.
I'm not trying to start a major debate or anything, but I want to clarify. :) I keep hearing people say that snaffles make a horse's mouth tough and that is just not true. It's how you use the snaffle and how your hands are that determines whether the horse's mouth gets tough or not. If you're pulling a bunch, nagging the horse, with a snaffle, then sure, your horse's mouth will get tough. If you're being light and quiet with your hands, you really shouldn't have a problem.
I mean, I ride my mare completely bitless and she is lighter than most horses I've ever ridden. She does have a tough mouth (lighter than most, but tougher than I'd like) but that's because the people who had her before me let her blow through the bit all the time. I got sick of trying to fix their issue so I decided to go bitless and it's working just fine (and she's lighter than ever, currently, she's almost as light as a horse that is in a curb should be).

I have no issue with you saying that curbs work better for you and suggesting that to the OP, but please don't spread misinformation and appear to claim that any snaffle will make a horse's mouth hard. :)

The thing with Tom Thumbs is that they are built in such a way that any contact on them at all results in a very confusing message for the horse. Since most people seem to buy them as a "transition bit" and use them to teach their horses to neck rein, they are engaging the confusing part of it without even knowing it. In the right hands they are just fine, but the right hands mean that the TT is being treated like any shank bit, completely neck reining and no direct contact at all.

Here's an article that explains it well:

Today's Horse - The Trouble with Tom Thumb

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzaner gelding
Hazel - 14 year old Angora goat

Atticus - 4 year old LaMancha/Alpine cross goat

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Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 05-28-2010 at 12:34 AM.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-28-2010, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallaby View Post
I'm not trying to start a major debate or anything, but I want to clarify. :) I keep hearing people say that snaffles make a horse's mouth tough and that is just not true. It's how you use the snaffle and how your hands are that determines whether the horse's mouth gets tough or not. If you're pulling a bunch, nagging the horse, with a snaffle, then sure, your horse's mouth will get tough. If you're being light and quiet with your hands, you really shouldn't have a problem.
I mean, I ride my mare completely bitless and she is lighter than most horses I've ever ridden. She does have a tough mouth (lighter than most, but tougher than I'd like) but that's because the people who had her before me let her blow through the bit all the time. I got sick of trying to fix their issue so I decided to go bitless and it's working just fine (and she's lighter than ever, currently, she's almost as light as a horse that is in a curb should be).

I have no issue with you saying that curbs work better for you and suggesting that to the OP, but please don't spread misinformation and appear to claim that any snaffle will make a horse's mouth hard. :)

The thing with Tom Thumbs is that they are built in such a way that any contact on them at all results in a very confusing message for the horse. Since most people seem to buy them as a "transition bit" and use them to teach their horses to neck rein, they are engaging the confusing part of it without even knowing it. In the right hands they are just fine, but the right hands mean that the TT is being treated like any shank bit, completely neck reining and no direct contact at all.

Here's an article that explains it well:

Today's Horse - The Trouble with Tom Thumb
The reason I say that the snaffle causes tough mouths isn't because it's the bit itself. In my experiance, every horse I have ever riden with a snaffle didn't respond well. They wouldn't respond to a soft pull and seat cues so that would cause me to have to pull harder then I like to stop them. I have riden many many horses in snaffles, some that where super well trained and found that all of them where heaver on the bit then I liked.

It also isn't true that you can't have direct contact with a shank bit. It's just that you don't need as much contact to get the same effect. A well trained horse you can have direct contact on regardless of the bit. Again all of the horses I have ridden can be picked up with lots of contact or not. You can't really train a reiner, western pleasure horse, or competative trail horse to look and move the way they do without being able to pick up the contact.

And again, I did say at the end of my last post that snaffles and shanks are neither good nor bad, it all depends on the rider. They are the ones that are good or bad, not the bit.

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