Too much Bit advice

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Too much Bit advice

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    07-06-2009, 12:43 PM
Too much Bit advice

My problems are in the bit that I am using. I am using the Short Shank Tomb Tumb Bit and have seen good results but not exactly what I am looking for. I am getting the desired bending at the poll when I ask for the horse to back up or stop. However, I seem to loose that leverage when I ask for the horse to turn. Sometimes when the horse gets excited she seems to not want to listen and respond to the bit, which at this point I am using both hand to cue for a turn (signaling for a turn trying to keep the neck reining cue and pullin the other rein the way I want to go). Sometimes at a point it looks like that the shanks of the bit are ending up in the mouth of the horse and not on the cheek where they are supposed to be.

**Teeth have been check and a curb strab is being used.

Here are some of the bits that I am looking at. The first one should be the picture of the tom thumb bit that I have been using.

Some of the bits that I have been looking at are the Mullen Port Bit, Rocking S Snaffle, and the French Link Shanked Snaffle. The last photo would be the rope hackamore that a friend has that I may try. However, I don't want to spend for than $40 for a bit and find out that the horse does not like it. I am not a big fan of the O ring snaffles because everytime I have used one I don't get the leverage at the poll from the horse and feel like the bit is all up in the corners of the mouth.

I need some experience responses on these bits so that I can try to narrow down which one to purchase. Understand I may have to find that used bit due to the cost of the new ones. I also may need a cheaper alternative due to same reason (cost).
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    07-06-2009, 12:51 PM
Green Broke
It sounds like training to me. Shanked bits should be used after you have good lateral control because they don't offer it like you have already found out.

The best way to work on turning is to go back to a basic snaffle and get the horse responding laterally in that bit first. You can fine-tune neck reining in a snaffle as well. Once you get your lateral going well in a snaffle and consistent neck-reining, then you can go back to a shanked bit. I wouldn't go back to a TT though. I prefer a short-shanked mullen mouth (or low-port) w/ loose cheeks.
    07-06-2009, 01:30 PM
Can you show me a picture or web link describing the bits your mentioned? I cannot picture in my mind what you are talking about.
    07-06-2009, 01:37 PM
Green Broke
It similar to your 2nd bit photo but with loose cheeks instead of solid immovable cheeks. It would look similar to this:

I find the loose cheeks help a little more with lateral control versus a solid cheek piece. Also when working with shanked bits, I really don't like broken mouth pieces, so I prefer either a arched mullen, low or medium port or sweetwater.
    07-06-2009, 01:38 PM
Green Broke
Oh - you may also want to try a low or medium port kimberwicke. It will give you a little better lateral control than most western-style shanked bits while still providing some curb action.
    07-06-2009, 04:35 PM
I agree go back to the basics. The bit that was linked works well and I have used it before. I did have one horse that worked better it a simple O ring. I purchased mine off ebay.. they were cheap and if they did not work I just put them in a tack trunk. You may also work more on leg ques to help inforce the bend. Good luck
    07-06-2009, 06:59 PM
Tom Thumb = demon love child of satan and cher. No joke, they're evil.

Question: why do you NEED leverage? It's my understanding that snaffles are for the basics, and curbs are for the refinements. If you're having problems with the basics, go for a snaffle.
    07-07-2009, 12:37 PM
Green Broke
4 words:
Dump the Tom Thumb.

^ They will kill your horse's mouth. I used to use one a lil while ago and he now has some mouth issues I believe. But instead of moving to a harsher bit I'm working on him with a snaffle first.

Try a Tender Touch. Never used one personally (fixing to) but I've heard great things about them. They are good for getting the horse up underneathe himself and it turns well.
Reinsman Tender Touch Bit
    07-07-2009, 03:03 PM
"Tender Touch" I love the names they use. That is anything but tender. It's only redeeming feature is that it has nearly a 1:1 ratio. Other then that, the spiral on the mouth piece and the gag action do not make it a gentle bit.

A Tom Thumb is a rather unbalanced bit and, like all leverage bits, should only be used on a horse that neck reins. Trying to direct rein a horse in a shanked bit is giving him mixed signals. If he isn't turning well by neck reining then you need to go back to a snaffle.

Personally, my all time favorite shanked bit is this one:
Bit 001.jpg

It has a Billy Allen mouth piece that prevents the nutcracker affect and the shanks are swept back giving a low ratio to the leverage. BUT if I have a problem with directional control, I go back to a snaffle with the Billy Allen mouth.
    07-07-2009, 03:24 PM
Green Broke
^^ I thought so too the first time I saw it, but a 1:1 ratio is NOT consided harsh, therefore, it is light enough to 'train' with. Good to get horse 'underneath' himself and such. And I probably should have said this to begin with: It is a good 'stopper'. It is harsh in wrong hands, light in right hands. Like all bits really.

In your opinion, what do you hate so much about it?

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