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Tom Thumb bit.........

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  • Correct way for tom thumb bit
  • The correct way to connect a tomthumb snaffle bit to headstall

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    02-15-2012, 11:06 PM
  #61
Green Broke
PS. Another thought. Would a bit balanced like the one in Cowchick77's last picture do anything to encourage headset? In theory? Because to find relief the horse would have to find the "correct" position?

I'm not advocating that as something you would want to do. I'm just curious. If the tension is always on unless the horse is in the right position would a bit with that type of balance encourage a better headset? I'm picturing something like a WP horse. You would want him to always have his head in that position while in the show ring, right?
     
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    02-15-2012, 11:19 PM
  #62
Yearling
Personally, if I'm going to use a curb bit, I prefer it have a slot so that I don't have to run the chain/strap through the purchase hole/ring which can pinch the horse (the hole/ring that the headstall attaches to - like the examples in Cowchick's photos - every single one shown uses the the same hole/ring for both headstall attachment and the curb strap)

Evansk's post has a good single rein curb bit with a curb chain/strap slot.

And in Smrob's post every bit shown/linked to, with the exception of the last one, are TWO rein bits with NONE having a separate slot for the curb chain/strap. Even though these bits are designed for 2 SETS of reins (one ring at the mouthpiece ie. "snaffle rein" and the other at the end of the shank) you almost never see 2 used.

IMHO, you cannot tell how a bit is balanced by using your fingers - the bit itself will tell you how it is balanced. Here is a very good explanation at and here Bit Leverage | Horse-Pros.com and here Curb Bit Basics | Horse-Pros.com.

If you like the TT, use it…if you don't, don't.
     
    02-15-2012, 11:47 PM
  #63
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by trailhorserider    
Very good posts guys!

Cowchick77, I have a question on bit balance that I always wondered about. I have done the same thing you show in your pictures (gorgeous bits by the way!), which is hold the bits in my hand to see the balance. But what I have always wondered is if once you add a headstall and reins, doesn't that change the balance? Or not?

I have actually never tried it, but I am picturing a heavy set of reins dipping the bit forward and perpendicular. Or a bulky headstall and light reins doing the opposite. What do you think? Doesn't the balance change once the headstall and reins are added?
Thank you, we love collecting and using them.
In my opinion, I don't think the headstall makes a difference if adjusted properly so the bit hangs correctly. But I do think the reins make a slight difference, they would have to be pretty heavy. You can see in the first pic with the square ported bit that I have reins attached and it is still a forgiving bit. I think the reins make more difference in the feel and signal to the bit.
     
    02-15-2012, 11:52 PM
  #64
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by trailhorserider    
PS. Another thought. Would a bit balanced like the one in Cowchick77's last picture do anything to encourage headset? In theory? Because to find relief the horse would have to find the "correct" position?

I'm not advocating that as something you would want to do. I'm just curious. If the tension is always on unless the horse is in the right position would a bit with that type of balance encourage a better headset? I'm picturing something like a WP horse. You would want him to always have his head in that position while in the show ring, right?

In theory, yes, it would help encourage a headset. Or if not used properly it could just cause the horse to ignore the pressure if not trained properly to give to the pressure before hand to encourage the headset desired. No different than with any other bit, if he doesn't learn there is a release or where it is, they ignore it or get desensitized to it. This is where some people decide getting a bigger stronger bit is going to "fix' the problem.
Again this purely my opinion.
smrobs likes this.
     
    02-16-2012, 12:15 AM
  #65
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horse Poor    
IMHO, you cannot tell how a bit is balanced by using your fingers - the bit itself will tell you how it is balanced. Here is a very good explanation at and here Bit Leverage | Horse-Pros.com and here Curb Bit Basics | Horse-Pros.com.
I am going to respectfully disagree here, I think balancing a bit in your hand is a good indication on how it will hang on a horse and how he will have to pack it in order to keep it neutral.

I notice in one of the articles posted above, when explaining balance it didn't take the port and mouthpiece into consideration. Not only the cheeks are part of the overall balance but also the mouthpiece and port play a equal part. But if the mouthpieces were exactly the same but the shanks were different then, yes, that alone would effect balance. Or the reverse to be fair. Perhaps the article mentioned so and I missed it...been known to happen

I took pics of three spade bits, all have a straight cheek for the most part. If you were to draw a straight line down through the cheek like illustrated in the article posted, they are pretty close to the same. However you can see that they are balanced differently. They all have the same mouthpiece but the height of the port, or spoon in this case, and the curvature effect the balance.

I realize that most people are not riding in spades, but this would be an over exaggerated example of how other factors effect balance other than just the cheeks/shanks, however just as important, in my opinion.
smrobs and boots like this.
     
    02-16-2012, 05:54 PM
  #66
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horse Poor    
Personally, if I'm going to use a curb bit, I prefer it have a slot so that I don't have to run the chain/strap through the purchase hole/ring which can pinch the horse (the hole/ring that the headstall attaches to - like the examples in Cowchick's photos - every single one shown uses the the same hole/ring for both headstall attachment and the curb strap)

If the tack is properly fitted and you are using it properly, I honestly don't see how a horse can be pinched. I've been using bits like that (with just the one ring) for decades and I've never had a horse get pinched....but maybe that's just me .

And in Smrob's post every bit shown/linked to, with the exception of the last one, are TWO rein bits with NONE having a separate slot for the curb chain/strap. Even though these bits are designed for 2 SETS of reins (one ring at the mouthpiece ie. "snaffle rein" and the other at the end of the shank) you almost never see 2 used.

Yes and no. They are designed so that 2 rein sets can be used but there is no hard and fast rule that says that is the only way to use them. Matter of fact, there are very few people that even know what those rings are for, most simply think it is a different way to keep the mouthpiece stationary on the shank and prevent a gag action.

We're not talking about a dressage double bridle or a bosalita and spade combination here where you need to have 2 sets of reins to make everything work the way it should. I like bits with the snaffle ring because they give me the option. Do I use it every time? No. Do I use it often? No. But, occasionally, there comes a horse where you do need to use the snaffle rings for a few rides until they can get used to the different pressures and feel of the solid mouth before adding the curb pressure as well. Just because I don't use them every time doesn't mean that I am using the bit improperly
If the horse is properly prepared in the snaffle bit, then bumping up to the curb bit is often no more complicated than just putting it on them and taking 5 minutes to get them used to the different pressure points and the different action. If the horse suddenly has a conniption fit just because the bit is changed, then either the rider doesn't know how to properly use a curb bit and is hurting the horse by pulling on it too hard or the horse wasn't properly prepared to respond to other aids that accentuate the cues given through the bit.

As for the balance thing, I have to agree with Chick. You can get a great idea of the balance by balancing it on your fingers. That will show you the natural balance of the bit so that you can match it to the horse's headset and ability. You wouldn't put a bit with a straight up balance on a horse with a more nosed out headset and you wouldn't put a more swept back balance on a horse with a straight up headset. Doing either of those things would make the horse uncomfortable and more likely to act out because the tack isn't matched to him.

I did want to touch on that first link that Horse Poor posted, those people only take into account the shanks on the bit and they make assumptions about a horse's headset and other things that can get a person into trouble.

1) A bit does not create a vertical headset on a horse and if you are depending on a bit to teach that, then you aren't a very good horseman.

2) You will never find a good quality bit that is, as they say in the article, "overbalanced". That bit is a catastrophe waiting to happen because every time you pick up the reins, there is no warning of the cue to come, it all just comes crashing down into the horse's mouth like a ton of bricks. The only way that would be balanced bit on a horse is if the horse's natural headset was "rollkur" .

3) They assume that a bit that is "underbalanced", or has swept back shanks is undesirable. That's only true on a horse that doesn't have a headset to match it. On a horse that travels slightly nosed out (like 90% of horses do), that would be a well balanced bit.

Those folks have their facts backward on the signal time and pressure build time. A bit with more swept back shanks gives more warning to the horse than does one with straighter shanks if ridden on the same length of rein.

The straight shanks are one of the problems with the Tom Thumb bit and one of the reasons why it's an ill-designed bit.

And so, we come full circle.
Wallaby, COWCHICK77 and gigem88 like this.
     
    02-16-2012, 06:25 PM
  #67
Weanling
The Tom Thumb is a leverage bit that has a broken snaffle mouthpiece. Any leverage bit applies pressure to the poll, the tongue , the bars and the jaw bones. In addition because of the mouth piece this bit also has a severe nut cracker effect because of the shanks that is not present in a true snaffle. It is often misconceived as being a mild bit. It isn't. It is not a true snaffle nor is any leverage bit with a snaffle mouthpiece.
     
    02-16-2012, 06:41 PM
  #68
Green Broke
CC77 - I sure like that Santa Barbara in your third picture.

I'm not great at explaning things, but once I select a bit and like the way it is balanced, I match my reins to that. That is the point of rein chains. You adjust the length of the chains so that the bit is balanced as intended. I hold the reins in approximately the same manner I will on the horse.

After trying that, I put it on a horse and check the balance against their head set to get a good fit.

Now someone better at explaining can come along and fill in any holes. :P
COWCHICK77 likes this.
     
    02-16-2012, 06:49 PM
  #69
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by eliduc    
The Tom Thumb is a leverage bit that has a broken snaffle mouthpiece. Any leverage bit applies pressure to the poll, the tongue , the bars and the jaw bones. In addition because of the mouth piece this bit also has a severe nut cracker effect because of the shanks that is not present in a true snaffle. It is often misconceived as being a mild bit. It isn't. It is not a true snaffle nor is any leverage bit with a snaffle mouthpiece.
No one was saying it was a snaffle bit, everyone agrees it is a leverage bit. We were discussing how badly designed they are.
     
    02-16-2012, 07:01 PM
  #70
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by boots    
CC77 - I sure like that Santa Barbara in your third picture.

I'm not great at explaning things, but once I select a bit and like the way it is balanced, I match my reins to that. That is the point of rein chains. You adjust the length of the chains so that the bit is balanced as intended. I hold the reins in approximately the same manner I will on the horse.

After trying that, I put it on a horse and check the balance against their head set to get a good fit.

Now someone better at explaining can come along and fill in any holes. :P
Thanks!

And I completely agree with you!

Smrobs, I totally agree with you as well!
     

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