Are Tom Thumb bits Cruel? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 70 Old 04-16-2012, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Are Tom Thumb bits Cruel?

I have been riding my 19 yr old horse in a Tom Thumb bit from when I got him as a 5yr old until now. I did not ride for several years as his companion was too arthritic to be ridden in his later years. It upset the older horse if we took the younger one out so we just didn't ride. The older horse passed away in the fall, so we have started riding again. This horse is a dream horse. After not being ridden for several years I can just get on and he is the same, sane, calm horse he always was. It kills me that I have been riding him in a bit that is considered harsh. This is the bit that the previous ownwers had ridden him in and I was told it was a mild bit. I have just purchased another horse that is pretty green, but is calm and quiet also. I saw the bit she had been ridden in and thought it was a Tom Thumb, but now wonder if it was another kind of saffle. I DO NOT WANT TO RIDE MY HORSES IN A BIT THAT WILL HURT THEM. DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEAS ON THE TYPE OF BIT I SHOULD BE USING. We only do short trail rides. I do not consider myself a good rider, but I do try to have soft quiet hands.
Also how hard would it be to learn to use a bitless briddle and to teach my horses to use one. ANY ADVICE IS GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!
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post #2 of 70 Old 04-16-2012, 12:03 PM
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Go to the search area of the forum and type in "Tom thumb". You'll see we repeatedly beat this topic into the ground.
GotaDunQH, arrowsaway and BellaMFT like this.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
SorrelHorse is offline  
post #3 of 70 Old 04-16-2012, 12:05 PM
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I absolutely HATE hate hate ......loath completely the TOM THUMB bit It is the most misused bit out there. I just do not like the dang bit what so ever. Its not a mild bit as most seem to think it is. Its actually a harsh bit that effects two points of the mouth it pokes upper mouth as well as the jaw. The bit tends to make a horse raise his head high.

I just hate the bit period. JMO
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post #4 of 70 Old 04-16-2012, 12:11 PM
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If you want to go the bitless route, I love the Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle. Granted, it doesn't provide you with a whole of control - it's more of a communication tool. Pretty great test of your relationship with your horse.

Otherwise, pretty much the mildest bit that exists is a french link or oval mouth loose ring snaffle.
Clementine is offline  
post #5 of 70 Old 04-16-2012, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Clemtine. I really appreciate knowing which bits are the mildest.
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post #6 of 70 Old 04-16-2012, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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thanks Clementine. I really appreciate knowing whjich bits are the mildest.
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post #7 of 70 Old 04-16-2012, 12:23 PM
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I have had good luck with the tom thumb. Everyone hates me for that, but it's true. I find that if I ride in an Argentine Snaffle everyone magically thinks it's a good bit even though it's nearly the same as the tom thumb. Maybe get yourself an Argentine Snaffle and don't worry about what other people think.

Of course I mainly neck rein and have soft hands. And maybe there are better bits out there. I am sure a lot of harsh handed people use a tom thumb and they shouldn't be. There are a lot of harsh handed people period.

But if your horse goes well it in, I really don't see an issue. Especially because you are concerned about it. The people who are really heavy handed don't even know they have a problem. They just think they are right.

These are some other bits I like. You might want to try just a simple curb like this one on the top left, with short leverage:

C Bits and Cutter Bits

And some others:

AT Low Port Loose Cheek Low Port Western Bit 5in -

NP Sweet Iron Loose Cheek Western Curb Bit 5in -

Mylers are pricey, but my Missouri Fox Trotter loves this one:

Myler Flat Shank #89-11335 Myler Bits (Equine - Supplies Tack - Bits - Working)

I originally got one without a port, but both of my horses prefer the one with the port.

Anyway, let the horse be the judge. Only you know how well your horse goes in your current bit or any other you might try.
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post #8 of 70 Old 04-16-2012, 12:23 PM
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In the right hands it's fine, in the wrong hands, any bit can be harsh.

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post #9 of 70 Old 04-16-2012, 12:26 PM
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Bits cannot be cruel .. only the hands that use them ...


Come join us on the Texas Horse Friends thread.
texasgal is offline  
post #10 of 70 Old 04-16-2012, 12:28 PM
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Exactly why I say I hate Tom Thumbs I get to many horses coming to me that the rider misused the tom thumb bit and now the horse is "Ruined" I do not use the bit at all I have soft hands which is shocking since you can develope a hard hand when racing Standardbreds. But I trained myself to soften my hands. I think too many people jump to quick to change bits instead of improving the training. Changing bits isnt always the answer when a horse doesnt respond to the bit. JMO
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