Western bit new to horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-30-2010, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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Western bit new to horse

Hi guys ,

As I posted earlier looking for western show shirt conversions because I'm going to show my mare for the first time western . I've shown western before but it was so long ago .

My mare has been strictly english since I started her , I've had her western twice . We're just showing western for fun in this show but I was needing a western bit . I know the common bit is the tom thumb , I was wondering if it would be too much to put a tom thumb on her with never having one on her before. I would pick one up tonight and ride her in it tonight before the show tomorrow but I current ride her in an english waterford and I just wanted to know if id be throwing too much at her at once if I went and picked up a tom thumb ?

Thanks everyone.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. For no dream is impossible "
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-30-2010, 01:52 PM
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I personally hate tomb thumbs and would stay clear of them since they can be actually a very harsh bit.

I would get, if anything, a solid moon short shanked bit to go easy on at first. Or something with a tiny bit of give in the middle like this...

But even before that I would be working on leg cues and neck reining with a snaffle bit. When your horse can start/turn/stop with no mouth contact then I would put her in a shanked bit.

But thats just me....
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-30-2010, 01:56 PM
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Sorry to snoop in but on your profile..she is listed as being 4. If thats so, you should be able to ride her in a loose ring snaffle.

If not or you just want her to transition to a more western looking bit a TT isnt going to kill her for one show. The idea is to never have to use the bit anyways. I like the ones with copper rollers in the middle...it helps it not be as harsh.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-30-2010, 03:26 PM
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I would also steer clear of a tom thumb. Not only can they be very harsh in the wrong hands but on a horse that is not great at neck reining, they can be very confusing and give conflicting signals. However, if Corino is right and she is only 4, then you should still be able to ride her in a simple snaffle with 2 hands, even for western. The only thing about putting her in a curb bit is that it will be very confusing to her if she doesn't at least have the basic idea behind neck reining. However, if she can neck rein, I personally prefer a very short shanked curb bit (around 6 inches) with swivel shanks and a ported mouth. Often, a horse that isn't prepared for the pressure of a mostly straight mouthed curb bit will gape their mouths open when they reins are picked up in an attempt to relieve the pressure off their tongue. This is what I transition to when I move up from the snaffle on my western horses.
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-30-2010, 03:30 PM
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A Tom thumb is only good if you know how to use it. For now, I Would suggest you go in a snaffle.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-04-2010, 10:54 PM
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i have yet to try one of those broken snaffles with the roller (ala billy allen), however we are currently riding everybody in tom thumbs right now. regular snaffles just don't have any whoah (all our horses are at least 8), and nobody truly likes the curbs i've got (old aluminum ones).

i also have to disagree that tom thumbs are "harsh." as has been said here thousands of times, ANY bit in the wrong hands can easily be harsh. TT's can also be one of the mildest bits.

anyhow, in answer, try her in it. it certainly can't hurt anything as TT's aren't very expensive.

oh, and i have zero problems plow/direct reigning my wife's TB in a tom thumb, and neither does she....

Last edited by spence; 08-04-2010 at 11:01 PM.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-04-2010, 11:48 PM
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regular snaffles just don't have any whoah (all our horses are at least 8),
That should read - "Our horses just don't have any whoah".

A snaffle can be just as strong as a curb bit. The stop is about training, not what is in the mouth.

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post #8 of 8 Old 08-06-2010, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for everyone input the reason I posted on this was because I wanted opinions :)

My mare is all leg and body to make her move so I never have any contact on her mouth anyhow . I put the tom thumb on her and she went the exact same . We had a great show and we actually placed !! 5th and 6th in western pleasure classes. I am a BIG believer that the bit is only as harsh as the hands its in , so true !

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. For no dream is impossible "
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