Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
• Horses: 0
I hate hate hate tom thumbs. Not only do you get the nutcracker effect of the single joint, but you're also adding in leverage of the curb, together creating a very harsh and unclear signal.
I personally recommend an eggbutt, dee or full cheek french link bit for most horses. It is a mild mouthpiece and cheekpieces that won't pinch.
A horse will not forget how to gait with a different bit - a bit is a communication tool between your hands and the mouth, and should also only be a third means of communication - first are your seat and legs.
Regarding the bitless bridle... some horses go great in them, some don't. I tried one on my gelding and he flipped out - he hated his nose being confined like that. I rode him in my french link before trying the bitless, he was fine; w/t/c absolutely fine. The bitless made him a different horse, he hated the contact. Switched back to my bit, absolutely fine again. I do think that the rubber grippers on the nosepiece pulled at his hair and skin as well.
Many people switch to a bitless bridle because they think it's "kinder" than a bit - untrue. A headpiece, be it a hack, bit or bitless is only as harsh as the hands behind it, and each can be harsh in their own respects.
A lot of people switch because they think their horse "hates" the bit when really it's a different problem - ill fitting saddle, bridle, pain on the horse somewhere, etc. It's a band-aid solution.
Having said that, some people and horses just prefer bitless. It's a matter of horse and rider.
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