"BSM, that jointed mouth curb with sleeves, is not a TT, regardless of how it is labelled !!!!
I never said it was. I said the sleeves prevented the shanks from swiveling, so that a pull out on the bottom of the shank will not result in the top going the other direction.
That is true with Tom Thumbs as well. The shank will spin around, but it won't flex into the side of the horse's face the way Mark Rashid claims it will.
I also was pointing out that Mark Rashid makes the complaint against ALL shanked bits with a broken mouthpiece, without exception. That means he is ignoring important differences in bit design.
" This ring, or set of rins, as in the picture shown here, results in a large bulky area. When the bit is engaged laterally (i.e. Pull out to the side) the rings pivot and stick into the horse's face
No, they do not. When you pull the bottom of the shank away from the face, a design like that will pull the top of the shank away from the face also. Don't believe me. Take a bit and go try it. I have. I could not make the top pivot into the horse's face the way Mark Rashid says it does.
Also, while I tried it even from 90 deg out, a rider cannot replicate a pull like that. An opening rein might get a 20 deg gap, but it won't get a 90 deg gap - and neither will pivot the top of the shank into the horse's face. At least, not when I tried it on Mia.
"When the side of the bit is pivoted, but the mouth piece isn't, a lip or other facial skin can very easily get caught and pinched.
Agreed. I prefer sleeves. But since Mark Rashid didn't mention it, neither did I. Still, MANY bits have that issue, including a great many snaffles. The vast majority of O-rings that I've seen have that problem.
"Third, the shank is straight, not curved like most curbs (blue lines). This means that each pound of pressure exerted gives that much more pressure on the face, without long shanks.
No. Shape does not impact it. Distances do. The Tom Thumb, like many other curb bits, has the distance from the bottom attachment to the mouthpiece that is double the distance from the mouthpiece to the top attachment (purchase) & curb chain. Total length is thus about 3 times the length of the purchase, so it gives about a 3:1 mechanical advantage. That is true of a Kimberwick as well.
The shape of the shank has no impact on mechanical advantage other than to slightly change the lengths involved.
The shape does impact balance and the neutral position of a curb bit. The weight of the reins will pull the bottom attachment point under the mouthpiece, which is where the bit's weight is supported. That is the neutral position.
If the horse carries its head vertically, then you want straight shanks. If your horse carries its head at a 45 deg angle, as is most common with western horses, then you want the shank to bend 45 deg so the bit is balanced in the horse's mouth:
This is important because the curb strap tightens after the shanks (or cheeks) swivel 45-60 deg, depending on how tight your curb strap is. That motion tells the horse you want him to do something (it "signals" the horse), but it doesn't apply pressure to the mouth. Ideally, I want my horse to always respond during the signal phase, so that I can give release and he NEVER gets pressure in the mouth.
If you put a bit with straight shanks in the mouth of a horse whose head is at 45 deg, the weight of the reins will cause the bit to swivel until the curb strap tightens. Now the bit will apply pressure to the horse's mouth the moment you do something, and the signal phase - the area I want to spend the entire ride using - is removed.
That is why you should pick the cheeks & shanks to match how you want to ride. For a horse with a vertical face, such as dressage, you WANT straight shanks so the bit will balance correctly. For horses like mine, you want a 40-50 deg bend.
"It illustrates just how difficult it can be to obtain subtle use of the reins. Failure to achieve a goal, however, is no reason to abandon all efforts to approach the goal.
Correct. That was my point - it is not easy. That doesn't make an English rider wrong to learn it, but I've been a beginning rider trying to do it without an instructor watching me...and it is much more likely that such a person (me) will do it badly than well.
I'm not objecting to the traditional English riding approach, only saying it is more difficult to do well and easier to screw up the horse. That is why Littauer, an English riding instructor, refused to teach it to his beginning students. That is also why English riders are more likely to learn on a lunge line than most western riders are. Where I live, most riders learn riding by getting on a well mannered horse and heading out. When I was much younger and would visit a ranch, I'd get about 30 seconds of instruction, then we'd get on the horse and go ride.
When my daughter's friend went riding with us a couple of days ago, that is what she got. I told her if things got rough, drop the reins (one piece 8' reins), hang on and try to relax. Her horse would stop if she did that, but any horse can get scared if you jerk on the reins. "If you need help with balance, grab the horn instead of the reins". That's the same thing I was told 35 years ago.
"It is certainly not necessary for a horse to feel calm and confident in order to be ridden. Such a horse, however, provides a much more enjoyable riding experience
That is obviously true. However, there is no connection between riding with constant contact and a "calm and confident" horse
. In fact, with many western horses, they NEED to be given their heads to feel "calm and confident". Trooper is an ex-ranch horse (as all of mine now are). Stay out of his mouth and he'll take care of his rider. Regardless of the bit, if you insist on getting in his mouth and riding his mouth instead of his back, he'll get ****y.
Even with Mia, if I wanted her to stay "calm and confident" while riding along a road, I needed to ride her like in the self-portrait I posted above. A horse does not require constant contact to be "calm and confident". Horses that require constant contact to be calm are trained
to respond that way. Normal western training is the opposite.
The OP wrote, "I am planning on using her only for western riding and only for pleasure riding. I just want a horse that I can take out a few times a week and I do not want to confuse her or hurt her with the wrong bit as a beginner rider.
Thus I strongly recommend getting used to having slack in the reins unless you need to tell your horse something with the reins. Then say it and get off the line, so to speak. Trooper doesn't care what bit you use, as long as you don't use it often. A lot of western horses are like that. They are also calm and confident.