I've had a tom thumb bit for Ginger since the beginning-- I honestly only just figured out that that's what kind of bit it is. It was what my mom had available when I got my horse, and I never questioned it.
I know that some people don't like those kind of bits because they can be real harsh, and I don't want to do anything with her that can be counter productive. So let me give you a little bit of information on her.
She is able to be ridden with just the halter and the reins clipped on (I have a halter/ bridle combo that is just awesome), but she tends to listen to me better when I have the bit in her mouth. She knows that I mean business.
Additionally, how do I tell if I have a harsh hand or a soft hand? I know if I go to the local tack store, they'll ask what sort of hand I have, and honestly I have no idea. Let me know if any more information is needed, because after spending my whole life with horses, I'm only just now wanting to really learn about the equipment I'm using and what's best for my horses (I just really learned how to tighten a saddle about four years ago :P)