Shanked Snaffle - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 34 Old 04-08-2019, 08:59 PM
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I will be that person but there is no such thing as a "shanked snaffle" as a snaffle does not have a shank and has zero leverage. Shanks make the curb regardless of the mouthpiece because those shanks put leverage/pressure where a snaffle cannot. A snaffle, no matter the mouthpiece whether broken, 3 piece, or mullen, does not have shanks. A curb bit has shanks which put pressure on the poll and ads a lot more pressure to what the mouthpiece can do. Larger the shanks the greater the pressure.

Now that I got that out of the way Tom Thumbs in the Western world are garbage. Those straight shanks put an incredible amount of pressure on the horse's mouth, poll, and jaw. Shanks that are swept back have much less leverage and can be used for direct reining.
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post #22 of 34 Old 04-08-2019, 09:14 PM
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I have never managed to pull on a Tom Thumb bit with enough force to twist it around in the mouth. It obviously can be done, per the picture I posted, just as someone CAN pull hard enough on an O-ring snaffle to pull it through the mouth. But I've used Tom Thumbs many times without being able to replicate it.

If you pull it hard enough to gouge their face, you are pulling so hard that the horse will respond to the pain in its mouth and the pulling of the bit against the outside of the turn. People don't notice a pin while being stabbed with a knife (I assume).

"They can learn to understand 12 signals applied concurrantly, but they will do much better if they have only one or two"

Horses ALWAYS focus on many things at once. They are incredibly aware. They are aware if you are looking forward or looking down. Where your legs are. If there is a dog barking 1/4 mile away. I've heard it said that women are like a spider who is aware of the entire web, while men are like a spider who can only feel one strand at a time. That is true of my wife & I, at least. But horses, compared to ANY human, are like a spider listening to everything, while the most aware human I've met is more like a one strand at a time spider.

"But, horses that I have seen ridden in the bit we are discussing, tend to not be laterally soft, and tend to curl up behind the bit, giving their rider the 'impression' they are soft and collected."

I've already said a lot of people who use a "shanked snaffle" do so badly. Without training. And then their horse is ruined to one. BUT THAT IS THE FAULT OF THE RIDER. The same rider would ruin a horse faster using a Jr Cow Horse bit. I guess in the end all I can tell you is I've tried Tom Thumb bits, and several other "shanked snaffles" on 4 horses and none of them had a problem. I've watched untrained riders (sheepherders) ride a relaxed horse in a Tom Thumb bit for 25+ miles a day. Day after day. How tough can it really be if they (and I) can do it?


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post #23 of 34 Old 04-08-2019, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Some people absolutely loathe Tom Thumbs, yet also religiously preach that "bits are only as bad as the rider's hands" or "it depends on how the horse is trained." How does that work? I'm genuinely wondering - not trying to be impudent.
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Last edited by Equilibrium; 04-08-2019 at 09:20 PM.
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post #24 of 34 Old 04-08-2019, 10:33 PM
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@tinyliny , here is another complicating factor that occured to me while cleaning the corral:

English riding. The US Cavalry manual calls the first "rein effect" an Opening or Leading rein. The inside hand is brought FORWARD and inside the turn. I use this direct rein all the time.

The second one is called "The Direct Rein of Opposition". It is described as "The right [inside hand for the purpose of the manual)...is carried slightly to the right, and drawn to the rear, to a point where it becomes effective. The neck, perforce, bends to the right as a result...The sharpness of the turn is regulated by the amount of tension on the [inside] rein."

When I took western lessons, the "The Direct Rein of Opposition" was used for one thing: A One Rein Stop. Heaven help a rider who ever pulled back on one rein for anything other than an ORS. I was chewed out more than once since I had read George Morris's book before taking lessons. Since then, my direct reining consists of an opening rein. Period. I don't like the ORS, but I never cue a turn by bringing the inside rein directly back. I also don't know how other western riders have been trained.

Could this result in what an English rider might see versus what a western rider might see? Could that change how a Tom Thumb bit moves or folds in the mouth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Idrivetrotters View Post
...A curb bit has shanks which put pressure on the poll and ads a lot more pressure to what the mouthpiece can do. Larger the shanks the greater the pressure.

Now that I got that out of the way Tom Thumbs in the Western world are garbage. Those straight shanks put an incredible amount of pressure on the horse's mouth, poll, and jaw. Shanks that are swept back have much less leverage and can be used for direct reining.
Larger shanks do NOT cause more pressure. The ratio used in the shanks control the mechanical advantage. You can design an 8" shank that has a mechanical advantage of 2:1, and a 4" shank that has a mechanical advantage of 4:1.

Straight shanks do not apply more pressure than bent shanks, provided the distance between mouthpiece and tip remain the same in comparison to the length of the top of the shank. If you bend a 4" shank, the bending will shorten that distance a little compared to a 4" straight shank, reducing the mechanical advantage. But one can design a straight shank bit with a 2:1 advantage, and a bent shank bit with a 4:1.

Straight shanks are designed for a horse who carries his head in the vertical. Then the BALANCE of the straight shank allows for 45-60 degrees of free rotation before the curb strap tightens. If you use a straight shank with a horse who carries her head at 45 degrees, the weight of slack reins will rotate the bit 45 degrees. This will not cause more pressure, but it robs the horse of the 45 degrees of "signal". It is a bad idea to use straight shanks on a horse who carries his head at 45 degrees, and a bad idea to use bent shanks on a horse who is expected to carry his head in the vertical.

"The amount of weight behind the shankís vertical line, and the angle of the mouthpiece, will determine your bitís balance. Comparing the bitís balance to the natural carriage angle of your horseís head could determine if you two are on speaking terms at the end of a long day."

https://tcowboyarts.org/bit-structure-function/
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post #25 of 34 Old 04-08-2019, 10:58 PM
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I'm not completely understanding this:


English riding. The US Cavalry manual calls the first "rein effect" an Opening or Leading rein. The inside hand is brought FORWARD and inside the turn. I use this direct rein all the time.

The second one is called "The Direct Rein of Opposition". It is described as "The right [inside hand for the purpose of the manual)...is carried slightly to the right, and drawn to the rear, to a point where it becomes effective. The neck, perforce, bends to the right as a result...The sharpness of the turn is regulated by the amount of tension on the [inside] rein."



Oh, if only we were neighbors, this would be so much easier . . ..



The further back you hold your hand, in general, and lift the rein, the more you are 'talking' to the hind end of the horse. So this might be what they are talking about.


I am English/dressage trained. I am most comfortable talking to the horse very specifically, through ONE rein at a time. I can address each of the horse's four legs, individually, with one rein at a time (at the stand still). I don't think I could do that with a curb. But, it doesn't really matter, as why on earth would that be of any value in the kind of riding where a curb is most commonly used.




I do have a shanked curb in my possession. perhaps I'll try in on X. But, X is so sensitive that he reads my intention off of a rope halter, and is incredibly responsive to a simple Billy Allen type snaffle, . . . . so how he will accept a shanked snaffle? h m m . . . I think it will only irritate him.






To me, the long and the short of this discussion is that the so-called shanked snaffle is a BAD choice for training. It might suffice after a horse has been trained to direct rein correctly. It works better if you solely neck rein, or if you ride a tolerant horse , who fills in where there are communication gaps.


that's about all I've got to say on this subject.
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post #26 of 34 Old 04-08-2019, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
Some people absolutely loathe Tom Thumbs, yet also religiously preach that "bits are only as bad as the rider's hands" or "it depends on how the horse is trained." How does that work? I'm genuinely wondering - not trying to be impudent.

Truthfully? It is a cop out as there are garbage bits and even the best of hands can't salvage a bad bit. Those bike chain bits, they cause pain just sitting there, once engaged? Pure torture. On the flip side, even the gentlest bit can be a weapon in the wrong hands. I see bits for sale that are just horrid, I buy them for the "wall of shame" that hangs in my office, they will never go in another horse's mouth again. There are bits out there that make me physically ill they are so bad.

Yes, you can train a horse to go with just about anything, to a point. Some horses will submit and others will submit until they hit their breaking point, then EXPLODE. They then get labeled "dangerous" and dumped when it was the stupid human with inhumane bits that pushed the horse to their breaking point. Others like my guy, will not tolerate harsh bits or bad handling, probably why I ended up with him. The trainer on the track knew I know how to deal with opinionated horses. He goes in a 3 piece bean Baucher bit for arena work and if we are doing speed/endurance then a low port mullen kimberwicke seems to be his favorite.

My rule of thumb is "gentlest bit to get the best communication and safety of both horse and rider".
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post #27 of 34 Old 04-08-2019, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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So, there is an actual definition? What is a "gentle" and a "harsh/bad" bit? Why is it considered one?
When asked this question, most of the time, again, the only answers I get is "it depends on the hands" or "it depends on the horse/their training/their "job".

Last edited by Equilibrium; 04-08-2019 at 11:18 PM.
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post #28 of 34 Old 04-08-2019, 11:23 PM
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In that case, you need to look at the training and background of the horse you are going to ride, and your own training. Are you able to not hang on the horse's mouth? do you have enough training to be able to recognize, and reward, a 'try' by a horse? Do you feel you have no other option with a horse than having stronger 'brakes'? really, it depends on you and your situtation.


I found a Tom thumb made things worse for me and my lease horse, because I had spent a long time learning some finesse with one rein at a time, and this didn't work as well in a Tom thumb. I forced my horse to adapt to a snaffle, for me, basically. Selfish, yeah.
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post #29 of 34 Old 04-09-2019, 09:20 AM
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Wow @Idrivetrotters , I guess we just have to disagree. It there is anything remotely close to the chain bit and a shanked snaffle (I know title that irritates people, but you also immediately know the style of bit described and no use to argue over semantics lol) I am unaware. Also, many of the horses I ride are extremely light and friendly and seem happy with it, so Iíll probably take their word for it.

I have seen snaffles used in a way Iíd never touch a horses mouth, and same goes for any bit, so as far as that being an excuse, although Iíve never use the phrase (itís not the bit but the hands) I almost fully agree with it too, although I probably wouldnít use some of the correction style bits Iíve seen. At least I hope I never would have the need.

Either way weíll just have to agree to disagree on this one.


@tinyliny I can control all of my horses feet in the curb, I only find the desire to stay straight as a negative to me. Horses in many western events need as much training and control as English horses. Reining for example requires a lot of body control, and working a cow also does, although it is more backwards than forwards style.
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post #30 of 34 Old 04-09-2019, 10:42 AM
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[QUOTE=Idrivetrotters;1970703827]I will be that person but there is no such thing as a "shanked snaffle" as a snaffle does not have a shank and has zero leverage. QUOTE]
You are correct as far as the UK Pony Club and BHS teaching goes and so you're not on your own at all!
As far as I've ever been taught the term 'snaffle' has nothing at all to do with the mouthpiece.
A snaffle is a bit that has no leverage or gag effect
If a bit's got shanks then it isn't a snaffle.

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