What is the differences of the Tom Thumb and Argentine snaffle? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-29-2009, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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What is the differences of the Tom Thumb and Argentine snaffle?

So I know Tom Thumbs are like terrible bits and most people with half a brain hate them but I've never heard anything about Argentine Snaffles. To me they seem to be the same bit...
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-29-2009, 09:13 PM
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If the reins do not come directly off the mouthpiece then it can not be called a snaffle. Any shank at all makes it a curb.
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-29-2009, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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ummm ok them let's rephrase this "What is the difference between a Tom Thumb and Argentine Curb?"
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-29-2009, 10:23 PM
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When you get right down to it, nothing. An Argentine snaffle (which as already stated is not a snaffle) can be, I have been told, said to be the western version of a phelam. She shanks are usually longer than a TT. Not sure I agree with that, but regardless I would never use one anyway.
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-30-2009, 12:17 AM
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An Argentine "Snaffle" (yes, curb) has semi-fixed shanks that swivel. If you look, the headstall attaches in the top ring , the curb strap attaches in the middle ring, and the reins attach at the bottom ring of the shanks. The shanks are angled slightly back, like a traditional curb. This creates a sort-of "door hinge" effect with the shanks. They kinda open and close a little bit against the horse's face, which is supposed to aid the horse with lateral movements. When the reins are slackened on one side, the hinge relaxes and the horse is free to move in that direction without something poking him in the face. A lot of contest bits have this feature. The only problem with it on the AS is that the mouthpiece is broken, which kind of negates the "door hinge" purpose.

The TT (curb) on the other hand does NOT have fixed shanks, and that is what makes this bit so ridiculous. The shanks tip AND swivel. On the TT, the headstall hooks up to the top ring, but then the curb chain goes right underneath it. If you look at it you can see there's 2 rings on the purchase. Then the reins attach at the bottom of the shank. The distance from the mouthpiece to the curb chain is much greater, so there's more curb pressure on the horse's mouth. This distance, coupled with the break in the mouthpiece, can actually make the shanks tip UNDER the horse's jaw - They can swing out, swing forward, swing back, swing under...if you ride it one-handed like you're supposed to, these random actions are greatly reduced, but it's still pretty rough, especially considering all the much better alternatives available to us today. So the mouthpiece in the horse's mouth is doing everything that those shanks are doing, and all of that movement can be amplified by the curb chain.
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