Tom Thumb bit.........
Hi, I've always used a tom thumb when I move up from a D ring snaffle. Is this bit harsher than it seems? Iv'e heard lately that the tom thumb is frowned upon.....can anyone enlighten me?
TTs can send very mixed messages to your horse even in the best and lightest hands..If your heavy handed and are all over the place you're seriously going to cause some damage..I've heard everything from they are hasrh, light, pinch, not enough, too much..the works..it's really a personal preference but I don't like them, many people don't like them, and won't use them. If you're in your horses mouth too much, sending mixed signals, and asking for forward motion the only place your horse can go to get relief from that pressure if up..and no one likes or wants their horse to rear and possibly flip.
It's not harsh. It just doesn't communicate as well as a short-shanked, solid mouthpiece curb. It's kinda wimpy. I prefer the Pelham and the Weymouth for English over the Tom-Thumb, and there are many Western curbs that are a better bit.
You see, the Tom Thumb is a recently invented bit. Before it came along you either rode with a snaffle, which presses on the bars of the mouth, or a curb which could put pressure on the roof of the mouth, but ALWAYS acted like a fulcrum putting pressure upwards on the chin, with the expectation that your horse will slow down or stop bc he'll tuck his head towards his chest in response to the pressure. For finesse people rode with a "bit and bradoon", which is 2 bits (snaffle and curb), 4 reins, the curb used for flexion and the snaffle used bending. If you used a spade (Western severely high port curb bit) you rode with a slack rein and used fingerpressure to slow and stop, or else you could ruin the horse's mouth.
I guess if your horse is finished and you ride with a slack rein, it's fine to use it. I just won't buy one. =D
Thank you drumrunner, can you suggest a more reliable bit that i can teach pole flexion with? we are very soft, and moving forward well in a d ring, but i feel that we are ready to move up to the next bit..........
You're welcome..That depends on what you are doing with your horse..That can go in many different directions when deciding what bit to move up to,
A horse can grab the snaffle or the curb and run away with you just as easily. It is ALL in the training. Just as an aside, I used a rubber-mouthed Pelham to fix my 5yo QH's head tossing that he was doing with an eggbutt snaffle. You're not supposed to switch from a snaffle to a curb, than back to a (in this case, a full-check) snaffle, but this horse was at a rescue and many uneducated hands rode him before I adopted him 2 years ago. I fixed the problem without punishing the horse.
Now, I won't need to train him to a curb, but I will trust his "brakes" bc he slows and stops well with the snaffle. You REALLY trust your horse if you can ride with a halter and a lead. I never tried it until I had so many hours in on my QH "Ro Go Bar" (1982-1009, RIP) that I could cheat periodically with him, like riding back to the trailer at an event and I didn't want to bother bridling him.
^^ this a agree with, to a point.... the bit isn't so much as a 'control' thing, it doesn't matter how much or how little bit you have if your horse isn't mentally acceptable and 'liking' it...Riding with the halter and lead, if your horse is REALLY trained and "finished" they should know without the bit what you are asking for. From leg pressues, seat and body position and pressures and signals on their face..I can ride all three of my finished barrel horses in a halter and lead while bare back, they know the deal and routine..I won't ride in a halter and lead everytime but I like to be able to know my horses respond to ME and my direction and not just the bit..
He was a finished horse. I had put about 4,000 hours under saddle, when he was a 12yo, before I tried this. I was just mentioned it as a meter, NOT suggesting you test your horse. HOWEVER, my friend sold her 3yo Belgian filly last year, that she and her daughter broke, without being trained as trainers, in their back yard, and they often rode HER without a bridle. She had bought the mare--you know the story, "didn't know she was pregnant"--and raised the filly, handled her all of the time and spent oodles of time with her.
It ALL comes down to quality time and trust, doesn't it?
I'm not sure why you're being defensive..I wasn't point any barbs at you. Just having a conversation and pointing out my opinion on it..I never said your horse wasn't finished or anything like you just posted above...Don't put the cart in front of the horse and jump to conclusions...That's how so many people on the forum get their feelings hurt, for no reason and misunderstandings.
I also used my barrel horses as an example because soo many people see barrel horses as a hot mess..it's not true for every horse..There are a good bit of hot mess barrel horses out there but it's all about who trains and rides those horses..
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