What Shanked Bit? (Convert from snaffle) - Page 3

       The Horse Forum > Horse Tack > Horse Tack and Equipment

What Shanked Bit? (Convert from snaffle)

This is a discussion on What Shanked Bit? (Convert from snaffle) within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category
  • Argentina broken mouth bit
  • Argentine bit chain mouthpiece

LinkBack Thread Tools
    02-22-2008, 09:45 PM
'Snaffle' is a term defining the lack of leverage/shanks, not the type of mouthpiece. They can have any kind of mouthpiece you like: french link, mullen mouth etc. The 'argentine snaffle' is not technically a snaffle.

I'd tend to stay away from anything with shanks AND a single joint. Leverage + nutcracker action is always going to be a fairly severe combination that I was taught never to use unless a horse went miraculously well it in.

My 2 cents. I know nothing about western.
Sponsored Links
    02-22-2008, 10:10 PM
Well, everybody has their personal opinion.

A broken mouthpiece- Not as much tongue pressure as a solid mouthpiece. Will have a slight nutcracker effect, but a three piece will have less of that.

Solid mouthpiece-More tongue pressure than any other bit. On the plus side, no nutcracker effect.

Broken, ported mouthpiece-Still have a nutcracker effect, plus port will hit roof of the mouth in a different way than snaffle.

If your horse is light in a french link, I would go for the three piece argentine. A solid mouthpiece will add toungue pressure, which ou don't need, and a ported will add roof pressure. For the curb strap, I suggest using leather rather than chain and keep it loose, this will make it less severe. Just my 2 cents. Here are some pictures of random bits, just so you can see your options. If anything, buy a few bits and find what works best. My tack room has 200 bits, and I use them all at least once a month as I ride a ton of different horses. I recommend a few websites to look at bits-
And of course, ebay! I have gotten about 50 bits on ebay.

    02-23-2008, 12:05 AM
Originally Posted by quixotesoxs
Nice bit.
    02-23-2008, 09:54 AM
We don't really have bits with ports like that in the UK, so I've never seen one used or anything - don't they hit the roof of the mouth? They look really high.
    02-23-2008, 10:30 AM
Originally Posted by Kyani
We don't really have bits with ports like that in the UK, so I've never seen one used or anything - don't they hit the roof of the mouth? They look really high.
Yep, they will hit the roof of the mouth. But in the right hands, they are usefull tools for many events. You can perfect a horses stop, headset, ect, they just have to be used properly. In the wrong hands, you can make a horse bowed up and high headed in 10 minutes.
    02-23-2008, 02:35 PM
Green Broke
I agree with Kyani about the Argentine Snaffle not technically being a snaffle. It also does tend to be rather severe w/ the wrong hands.

Here's my opinion on regular curb bits with ports: Going straight from a snaffle to a curb will often confuse the horse. The higher the port the more severe and what ever you do DO NOT go from a snaffle straight into a high ported curb! That's a lot of confusion. Also curb bits put pressure on the poll and snaffles put pressure on the mouth. I like the Argentine because it puts pressure on both and gets the horse used to giving to poll pressure. I don't like keeping the horse in the Argentine for long though, just until the get the idea of leverage. Then I use a medium port, long-shanked grazing bit for the most part to really refine vertical flexion and other skills.
    02-23-2008, 05:15 PM
I don't like Correction bits. I was taught they are only for correction and not real training. JMO
    02-23-2008, 05:29 PM
Green Broke
Yes, that Argentine with a port is a correction bit and has a high port that is rather severe.

I've been researching the Argentine and so far this is some of what I have found:

For less severity you can connect the reins to different rings closer to the mouthpiece.

If you have bad hands it's a BAD idea to use one

It can sore the corners of mouth and bars

Parelli classifies it as a torture device, but a lot of things are considered torture devices to him

Its more severe then a snaffle or a solid, shanked curb bit
    02-23-2008, 06:04 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Abby
Shanked bit + Broken Piece = BAD BAD COMMUNICATION.

People think tom thumbs are nice because they are like a snaffle. On a true snaffle bit, the reins are attached to a relatively small, swiveling ring which could be considered a working part of the mouthpiece itself. When the rein is pulled, as you would do when asking the horse to turn, the ring that the rein is attached to moves completely away from the horse's mouth. The mouthpiece itself slides in the same direction, which causes the ring on the opposite side of the horse's mouth to apply pressure on that side. Because the horse is taught to go away from pressure, it then makes sense that if you are pulling to the left, and the pressure from the bit is on the right side of his mouth, he will naturally turn his head to the left. This is the simple principle that is commonly referred to as direct reining, or "plow reining". It is also a principle that is almost impossible to perform properly with the Tom Thumb, due to its design. Unlike a true snaffle bit, the Tom Thumb has shanks similar to the ones found on a solid curb bit. It is to the bottom of these shanks that the reins are attached. The headstall is attached to the top of the shank, as is some type of curb strap which fits around the bottom of the horse's jaw, in the chin area. These shanks swivel and are attached to the bit's mouthpiece.t is that one flaw in the bit's design that renders it almost totally useless when it comes to any kind of training which involves direct reining. Again, using direct reining in a snaffle bit, the horse is taught to move away from pressure. To turn to the right, the pressure is on the left side of the horse's mouth. To turn to the left, the pressure is on the right. There should be no other pressure being applied by the bit that could cause the horse to become confused.

Unfortunately, confusion is precisely what happens to a horse when the Tom Thumb is used. Because of its shanks, any attempt at direct reining results in pressure on several different areas around the horse's mouth. For instance, if you are aking the horse to turn to the left, you will be pulling on the left rein, with the idea that the pressure from the bit will be on the right side of the horse's mouth, thereby turning the horse left. However, because the rein is attached to the bottom of a swiveling shank, pulling on the rein results in the shank turning and tipping into the left side of the horse's face. When the shank tips, it also shifts the mouthpiece, which, in turn, puts pressure on the right side of the horse's mouth by pulling the right side of the bit into it. You now have pressure on both sides of the horse's mouth, as well as a shifting of the mouthpiece inside the mouth.

If this wasn't bad enough, tipping the shank also results in the tightening up of the curb strap that is under the horse's chin. Suddenly, the simple act of asking the horse to turn to the left is no longer a simple act. The bit is applying so much pressure in so many places, that the horse has no clue as to what you were asking for in the first place.

He then tries to tell you that he doesn't understand what you want by twisting his neck and shaking his head. Of course, we look at this as him being belligerent and not wanting to do what he was told. So, we simply apply more pressure to the rein which re****s in an even bigger fight on his part.

Eventually, the horse does finally turn to the left - but only as a last resort. Before he does, he will first try several different options. Among these will be: 1) turning to the right, because the left shank tipping into the side of his face is forcing him that way; 2) lifting his head as high as he can get it; 3) dropping his head as low as he can get it; 4) backing up. Rearing is also an option which sometimes happens as well.

Asking the horse to stop or back up, using a Tom Thumb, often results in much the same behavior. The reson for this is, again, the bit's design. Pulling back on the reins causes the hinged mouthpiece of the bit to collapse and jut foreward and then downward inside the horse's mouth, putting pressure on the horse's tongue. At the same time, the bottoms of the shanks (where the reins are attached) tip backward, causing the top of the shanks to tip forward. This, in turn, causes the curb strap to tighten under the horse's chin. Again, pressure is being applied in several different areas and this results in total confusion for the horse. Neck reining with the Tom Thumb can also result in confusion on the horse's part. This is because the idea behind neck reining is to be able to turn the horse by applying light pressure on his neck from the rein. To turn to the right, the rein is laid on the left side of the horse's neck. To turn to the left, the rein is on the right side of his neck. When done properly, there should be no movement or involvement whatsoever on the part of the bit. The solid curb bit, because of its design, lends itself very well to the act of neck reining. When laying the rein on the horse's neck to turn him, even if slightly heavy pressure is being applied, the curb bit usually will not move in the horse's mouth. This helps to eliminate the possibility of mixed signals which could confuse the horse.

However, because the Tom Thumb has so many moving parts, even the lightest pressure during neck reining with it often results in the shifting of the bit. Again, the shanks tip and turn causing the curb strap to tighten, the mouthpiece to collapse and the horse to become confused. The horse usually responds by raising his head and tipping it to the outside, or in the opposite direction that you want him to turn. Our response is usually to grab the reins with both hands and direct rein the horse back in the direction we want him to go. Of course this begins the series of problems that I mentioned earlier, head shaking, head tossing, and almost total unresponsiveness to anything we ask the horse to do.

I could go on and pull out further use full tidbits but that should be enough.
I've been researching and I found the website you got that information from incase anyone else wanted to see it in its entirety.


I'm going to keep researching and tell you what I come up with
    02-23-2008, 11:45 PM
Thanks for all your added input, mlkarel2010. Glad to hear someone else is on the bit hunt with me!

I'm just about sold on the double-jointed Argentine, but then I keep reading some bad things about the Argentines too. Ok, so I'm still undecided! I guess the best method that was mentioned is to buy 200 bits and try them until one is perfect!

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:57 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0