Is it Harsh? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 48 Old 03-09-2013, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by CowboyBob View Post
Ok so I know someone that used this bit, "because their horse wouldn't stop" I never got them to understand that they needed to retrain the horse. I never understood this bit.

The Stop n Turn bit:

"I don't even know what this bit is called: "wow !!!

"For those of you who hate TTB, how do you like THEM shanks???"
So when I was young and teaching my self to ride (this is why its important to get help when you are starting out) I was having trouble getting my horse to stop, I went to a "tack shop" and stood and looked at the bit all until a guy that worked there came up to "help" I told him my problem with my horse and he sold me this bit I took it home put it on my horse and STILL had trouble getting him to stop. Long story short. I went away for the summer to work at a summer camp working with horses. Came home at the end of the summer and this and my old bridle was hanging on the wall. Both were missing the curb strap . went out bought two curb straps and surprise surprise my horse didn't have a stopping problem. The moral be careful how you take tack advice from. and when you are a beginner get help.
Lol I remember I was teaching my little neighbor about different bits and how they work, and I was putting them on my horse and saying "this is how you use this bit" and such... and I found a TTB in my barn and I half considered just leaving it in there, but I wanted to show her the effects of it. So I put it on my horse and she immediately stuck her head straight in the air. My little neighbor was so confused, she said "Are you pulling on the reins?? How come her head is so high?" I had the reins dropped on the horse's neck, I wasn't even touching them and the horse was reacting that bad.
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post #22 of 48 Old 03-09-2013, 11:04 PM
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Lol I remember I was teaching my little neighbor about different bits and how they work, and I was putting them on my horse and saying "this is how you use this bit" and such... and I found a TTB in my barn and I half considered just leaving it in there, but I wanted to show her the effects of it. So I put it on my horse and she immediately stuck her head straight in the air. My little neighbor was so confused, she said "Are you pulling on the reins?? How come her head is so high?" I had the reins dropped on the horse's neck, I wasn't even touching them and the horse was reacting that bad.
That's exactly how my Arab was in the TT his first owners had him using; he would jam his head straight in the air. So what did they do? They tied his head down For YEARS. One of the best days of my life, was the day I put a bit in my Arab's mouth and he didn't clench his teeth to keep it out. I can't even begin to tell you how badly the combination of that bit and the tie-down messed him up.
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post #23 of 48 Old 03-09-2013, 11:15 PM
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I used a Tom Thumb on a horse once, only because that's all we had. But he would always pull and gape his mouth. So I switched to a plain snaffle and all of that stopped. He wasn't hard mouthed, it was the bit :/
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post #24 of 48 Old 03-09-2013, 11:29 PM
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Too Harsh?

I don't want to 'steal' someone's thread, but I saw this thread, started reading, and thought that maybe I had been mistaken about horse bits too, like a couple other people had mentioned. You may want to read the whole thing to get the idea.

I had a grade saddle mare (who I figure was a Missouri fox-trotter) who had trouble staying at a walk. She had been trained by her pervious owner to pick up into her gait as soon as someone was in the saddle. For the 6 years I had her before she passed away, I could never ever ever get her to slow down. I rode her with a basic snaffle bit at the beginning, and she nearly ran off with me, so I moved to this bit:


I found this bit in the garage because my dad used to own horses and has some left over stuff. Please remember that this mare was my first real horse that I could call my own, and that my dad had never been a horse person. He didn't even now what a 'frog' or 'bridle path' was. I had been studying for years before I got my first horse, but I never really studied up on bits..

Now my mare did really well with this bit for a while. She would want to gait and go faster, but she would tuck her head and have this beautiful show, flashy walk. She seemed to do really well with it.

I don't know if I was doing something wrong, but over the years her mouth got harder and harder, and I got to the point where I was scared she would try to bolt with me. so I went to the tack store and the man there told me I needed this bit, so I bought it.:


the tack shop owner is a older man who has been riding, showing, breeding, and training Tennessee Walkers his whole life, so I trusted his judgement. He told me that my mare needed a longer shank, and that this bit would be the next step up. He said it would make her slow down and listen but wouldn't be too harsh and hurt her mouth. I rode her in it and OMG she rode like a dream. nice and smooth and slow.

Was this bit too harsh? It this bit with its longer shanks like a tom thumb? my mare rode great in it, or so I thought... never threw her head or acted strange,. she tucked her head and moved great. so, whats the verdict? just curious here.
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post #25 of 48 Old 03-09-2013, 11:41 PM
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Usually the answer to "bitting up to slow a horse down" is not the correct answer. In order to slow a horse down, you gotta retrain. The bit can't retrain, it can only contain.

I'm starting to sound like a Dr. Seuss book!
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post #26 of 48 Old 03-09-2013, 11:58 PM
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Riverbell, the mouth pieces look equal to each other in form. I'm not sure how much play there is at the corners/ends of the mouthpiece where it attches to the shank... There may be a slight gag action there. Between the massive leverage and the curb chain, I'd imagine any horse being finger-light. That bit is certainly only as harsh as your hands.
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post #27 of 48 Old 03-10-2013, 12:03 AM
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Re: Riverbelle, as Copperhead stated in a Seussism, moving up in bits is never the right thing to do when it comes to slowing down a horse. That being said, you didn't move "up" in bits, you moved to a totally different one!

A basic snaffle attaches at the rings, which means that when you pull on the reins, there is no leverage-- that is, the pressure you put into the bit is the pressure it gives out to the horse.

The bit you switched to (first) is a basic low-port curb. Because of the shanks, the pressure you put into the bit is now magnified in the horse's mouth! What this is supposed to mean is that subtle changes can be detected by your horse, allowing the rider to offer imperceptible cues, neck rein, etc. However, what it meant for you was that you were operating off of more pressure in your horse's mouth-- the bit gave your hands more ouchie power. That is not the purpose of this bit. To give you an idea, whenever I use a curb bit I make it my goal to barely touch my horse's mouth with it!

It is likely that your horse's mouth hardened because you are treating the curb like a harsher bit (and it is, but it is not meant to be) and direct reining in it (pulling on the horse's mouth, not neck reining and using your seat to give your signals).

The longer shanks on the last bit just make it harsher, in that your same "pull" now applies even more pressure than it did formerly! You are avoiding the true problem, which is your horse's training and lack of respect for your cues.

My last two cents-- just because your horse is tucking his nose doesn't necessarily mean he is moving happily, efficiently or relaxed.
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post #28 of 48 Old 03-10-2013, 12:28 AM
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Here's an awesome explanation about how bits act on the mouth and why horses behave the way they do towards bits. It's kind of on the exaggerated side, but still very helpful in understanding bit action.

He mostly focuses on the snaffle, but a tom thumb bit basically adds leverage to the snaffle. So if you pull on the reins with 5 pounds of pressure, because the TTB has leverage, it's going to be more like 20 pounds of pressure on the horse's mouth.

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post #29 of 48 Old 03-10-2013, 05:07 AM
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I'm giving lessons to a girl and her brother came and rode his horse as well. They were showing me how the horse "neck reined". All i saw was a tom thumb bit, a novice rider with harsh jerking hands, and a horse with his head high and on the wrong lead. Experienced eyes could see immediately the horse with very uncomfortable. But these people have not had horses long. I went up to him and told him to get off the horse and I took the tom thumb away from them lol. I nicely explained to them that this was a horrible bit and the boy didn't have the softness to ride in a shanked bit anyways. I put the horse in an O-ring snaffle and showed the boy softer hands and showed him what a real neck rein was. The horse did know how to do it but he did not enjoy the contact in the TT nor should he.

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post #30 of 48 Old 03-10-2013, 10:54 AM
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Fluffy (I hate her given name), the mare in my avatar, is being rode in a Tom Thumb there. Her owner liked them.

I showed the guy that she goes well in a curb, and showed that if someone with crummy hands rode her with the tom thumb how it could work poorly. He went with the curb, but told people "that tom thumb was a good training bit." *head desk*

But, please notice, her head isn't up high, her mouth isn't gaped, she doesn't appear to be in anything approaching distress. We were sorting in a set of corrals, in other words, we were a busy pair.

It's still up to the rider how it will go.
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