Bit Detail Question: Tom Thumb - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Bit Detail Question: Tom Thumb

OK, this has probably been asked and answered but if so, I can't seem to find the right thread.....

I have seen many strong comments about Tom Thumb bits... Now, I don't have one nor am I contemplating getting one, but, I am curious as to exactly what makes one so severe.

It appears to me to be a short shanked leverage bit. OK, so that means two things as far as I can tell:

1- it means that there is less amplification of force applied to the horse as compared to a long shanked bit. Well, that would seem to be actually LESS aggressive than a long shanked leverage bit. No? What am I missing?

2- it would appear that pulling the reins a shorter distance would make contact with the horse's mouth, compared to a long shanked bit. Now, in the hands of someone who's doesn't know what they're doing, I can see how this would be a bad thing but in the hands of a competent rider, I don't see why the bit would be intrinsically bad.

So, is there a facet to the Tom Thumb that I am totally missing? Of course, I am strictly speaking of using the bit in "one-hand-neck-reining" manner only....

I'm curious and would really appreciate a functional explanation of what makes it such a nasty bit.

Thanks much folks!
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post #2 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 07:03 PM
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Read the sticky on western bits. Lots of great information.

ETA It's in the tack and equipment section, I believe.
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post #3 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 07:04 PM
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Get a Tom Thumb and hold it - easier to understand. It's the combination of the shanks and the joint that makes the bit bad.

When you pull the shank back, the bit adopts a corkscrew like effect, which in turn makes the bit act more like a solid bit with a pointy center than a mild jointed bit.
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post #4 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 07:07 PM
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I think the problem is that some people use it like a snaffle bit. They direct rein it on green horses and that causes what is referred to as a "nutcracker" effect.
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post #5 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aforred View Post
Read the sticky on western bits. Lots of great information.

ETA It's in the tack and equipment section, I believe.
Thanks much! Did so and I see nothing there that answers my question... I may have missed it entirely though and if that's the case I would appreciate any info you could share...

Thanks much!
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post #6 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DancingArabian View Post
Get a Tom Thumb and hold it - easier to understand. It's the combination of the shanks and the joint that makes the bit bad.

When you pull the shank back, the bit adopts a corkscrew like effect, which in turn makes the bit act more like a solid bit with a pointy center than a mild jointed bit.
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OK, I must be missing something: how would pulling back on both reins cause the bit to twist into a corkscrew?

Thanks much for your help!
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post #7 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boots View Post
I think the problem is that some people use it like a snaffle bit. They direct rein it on green horses and that causes what is referred to as a "nutcracker" effect.
Thanks much!

I'm strictly talking neck reining here...
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post #8 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiowaves View Post
Thanks much!

I'm strictly talking neck reining here...
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If your horse can neck rein well, there is no reason it wouldn't be fine with a Tom Thumb.

I just groomed a polo tournament for a guy who plays a mare in a Tom Thumb. She goes well and he thinks it's fine.
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post #9 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 07:22 PM
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Bit Information (Curb and Western type bits and hackamores)

Look for the post by bubba13 with the pictures.
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post #10 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 07:27 PM
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Sorry for the multiple posts, but here's another thread that might interest you.

I hope I'm not opening a can of worms, but... Tom Thumb?

And here's a link to an article about it.

http://www.markrashid.com/trouble_with_tom_thumb.htm

Last edited by aforred; 09-05-2012 at 07:31 PM.
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