Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Alberta, Canada
First, tom thumb bits are awful. They are confusing to the horse, harsh, and who ever constructed them in the first place did not properly think through the mechanics of them. I used one once, on a spoiled arab I was retraining, before I knew better. It did nothing but confuse him.
There are very few horses that need anything more than a snaffle on the trail. On the farm there are appies, thoroughbreds, draft crosses, qh's and a pure draft, and not one needs anything more than a snaffle, and we do some pretty high speed trails on a regular basis.
We also retrain off the track thoroughbreds as trail and pleasure horses, and they are typically green, reactive, and just want to go full speed at the beginning. We always use snaffles.
I suggest getting familiar with a one rein stop, just in case, but other wise if your horse is broke, resonsive to your bit and well behaved in the arena, I don't see why you couldn't head out on the trail.