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Discussion Starter #1
I read good things about a Barry Allan mouth piece so I went looking for one this past Saturday. I found one, not cheap at $90 but well made, hand made from stainless with a mouthpiece of iron. It had the 8 inch shanks which I wasn't crazy about but that is the only size I could find.
I tried it Sunday morning and found it too agressive, a 8 inch curb with a Barry Allan mouthpiece.
I found I had to back the curb off 3 or 4 holes and I still found just picking the heavy reins up caused him to move his head up. I also found sliding down a slick bank that the least touch of the reins caused him to sit right down hard.
I did not like it or rather I didn't like the mechanical advantage it gave me.
I also didn't like the fact that the curb extened quite a bit below his muzzle. We will go down over the years, not if, when, we will wipe out and his muzzle will slam into the ground and I don't want to inflict any more damage then I possibley can. I seem to wipe out badly as least once a year. Once 2 saturdays in a row we did a complete head over heals whip out.
Trust me I have experience on going down.

I now own a 5 inch Bary Allan bit. I cut the shanks down 3 inches and being stainless and hand built in the first place a little tig welding, a little grinding and polishing and it is as good as new, looks stock and cuts down on the mechanical advantage. Hopefully he is less sensive to the reins
 

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Are you sure you don't mean Billy Allen? This is the bit I've used for the past 12 or 14 years. It's a hand made, sweet iron, bit by Craig Darnell:

Bit 001.jpg
 

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In all the time I've spent in tack stores I don't think I've ever seen any style of curb with an 8 inch shank. Yikes! No wonder your guy sat down hard! I'd love to try a snaffle with a Billy Allen mouth on my guy, and if I ever decide to branch back into western riding with him I'll probably trade my American TT for a Billy Allen curb, albeit with a shorter shank.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
In all the time I've spent in tack stores I don't think I've ever seen any style of curb with an 8 inch shank. Yikes! No wonder your guy sat down hard! I'd love to try a snaffle with a Billy Allen mouth on my guy, and if I ever decide to branch back into western riding with him I'll probably trade my American TT for a Billy Allen curb, albeit with a shorter shank.
they don't come any shorter then 7 inches. I bought the 8 inch because that is all the store stocked. After trying it sunday I cut it down today to 5 inches, the same as a tom thumb. I installed it back in the head stall a few minutes ago and grabbed a lighter pair of reins. I keep 6 pair oiled and hanging , ready for use so I choose a set of 5/8th reins over my normal 3/4 inch pair. I ride with loose reins and the reins can start swaying side to side with the sway of the horse and I don't want the weight rocking on his mouth. I also don't want to ride with contact.
I must be going soft because I also changed out the curb chain for a soft light leather curb strap.
That month off has made me soft:lol::lol:
 

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Mine is 6" and the swept back curve lessens the advantage which is why I like it.
 

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By gum the name brand Billy Allen's don't come any shorter than 7 inches! :shock: I found a Myler brand just now with what seemed to be a comparable mouthpiece design that claimed a 5 inch shank, but a 7 inch "cheek". I'm assuming they're adding the shank and purchase lengths to get that number, I've never heard it combined into a cheek measurement before. I've always heard that the shank and purchase lengths are important in and of themselves in determining the "oomph" level of the bit, in which case it seems silly to me to lump those numbers together. I'm glad my old eggbutt snaffle still does the job for me... if I ever swap its going to be a while of studying, testing, and shopping. $80+ is a little deep for my pockets! Now I have to measure my sister's curb bits... maybe my eyeballing needs adjusted, but 7-8 inches sounds huge to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
By gum the name brand Billy Allen's don't come any shorter than 7 inches! :shock: . maybe my eyeballing needs adjusted, but 7-8 inches sounds huge to me.

I don't like the looks of all that bit hanging below his jaw. It can also be dangerous if he falls. I also don't need the leverage so it was simple to cut it down to anything I wanted. Being stainless it can easily be cut and rewelded back together without showing it was modified.
I can also hook the reins directly to the mouthpiece creating a snaffle.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I tested the cut down bit and light reins today. I cut the curb down to 5 inch shanks total and my mechanical advantage is less then 2 to 1. I also dropped the tight chain curb and went to a loose leather strap. I dropped the 3/4 inch reins and went to lighter 5/8's leather reins.
He was full of run tonight, the weather was warm, the snowmobiles were empty of snowmobiles and the footing was great.
I liked the cut down bit but not the light reins. I feel a heavier rein signals the horse that something is about to happen while he can't feel me pick up the lighter reins. The horse was not as sensitive with this modified bit, kept his head low, no head tossing when checked but again I came home and reinstalled the heavier reins.
I am not convinced this bit is any better then my older cheap tom thumb.
 

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Hey but at least you're not abusing your horse with that "evil tom" thumb!!
 

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Hey but at least you're not abusing your horse with that "evil tom" thumb!!
^Lol. :lol:

My first horse went like a gem in a tom thumb. If he gave me trouble at all it was in a solid mouth curb. I rode western at the time, and neckreined with a draped rein. The only time the horse felt more pressure on his mouth than the weight of the rein was when I wanted a bigger stop than he would give from my seat alone, and he delivered every time I asked. My new guy, though, hates it. Refuses to bend, throws his head, and runs sideways through the TT. Like any other bit, some horses like it, some don't.

Someday I will get at least my Billy Allen snaffle. If Scout likes it, maybe I'll invest in a curb version for western occasions. If the shanks are too long for Pony and me to live with... Dad has a welder. :twisted:
 

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In my experience, Arabians in particular tend to take quite fondly to TT's. It was virtually the only type of bit my grandpa had on the property, except for a medium shanked low port curb he rode his Anglo-Arab gelding in.

I tried curbs on my mares, and I could **** near flip them backwards with the slightest shift of the rein. They both took to TT's like ducks in water, with nice heads and happy responsive mouths.

I fully agree that it is a good bit in the right hands - some horses just LIKE them.
 

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In my experience, Arabians in particular tend to take quite fondly to TT's. It was virtually the only type of bit my grandpa had on the property, except for a medium shanked low port curb he rode his Anglo-Arab gelding in.

I tried curbs on my mares, and I could **** near flip them backwards with the slightest shift of the rein. They both took to TT's like ducks in water, with nice heads and happy responsive mouths.

I fully agree that it is a good bit in the right hands - some horses just LIKE them.

That's really quite interesting, because both my first and second horses were Arabians (they have since passed on) and I had the most success with them in tom thumbs too!

I must own about 10 different tom thumbs, with different length shanks, different decorations/silver, etc. because I felt that was a bit I could use on any horse I owned. I also ride my Mustang in a tom thumb and also my Paint when he was still sound enough to ride.

Oddly enough, I finally found a horse that doesn't go better in a tom thumb than any other bit. It's my new Foxtrotter. It's almost like the moving parts make her nervous. She will ride in one, sure, but she fusses with it a lot. I ride her in either a sliester hackamore (with the flat noseband and a flat curb chain) or a very low leverage curb with a solid mouthpiece.

I DID own a Billy Allen style bit one time but I disliked it and sold it. I disliked it for two reasons:

1. My paint horse barely had any breaks with it if he spooked. And I never had trouble stopping him in a regular curb or tom thumb and

2. I really disliked how the bit would do a full 360 in your hand. Do you know what I mean? Like the mouthpiece would allow you to spin the bit in circles. I know it can't do that in the horse's mouth, but I did feel it had more swivel to it, and that it has less stability than a normal tom thumb mouthpiece. Does anyone else dislike that feature? Do they all swivel around completely like that?

So I didn't like it and sold it. Now dog bone or lifesaver type mouthpieces I HAVE had good luck with. My horse's operate in those just like a regular tom thumb.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hey but at least you're not abusing your horse with that "evil tom" thumb!!
Kevin I don't believe

Global warming is man made, it is about money
Recycling. Triple the trucks driveing on our highways is no way to save the environment. Again it is about money
911 as a terrorist attack. Yes a terrorist attack but by whom??
Again about oil and control
I don't beleive the Tom thumb is evil
Again I present
Horse Training Tips – Bitting Info
 

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I think most people are mistaking a true Tom Thumb (American version - not European) for any shanked bit with a broken mouth piece. The TT is a short, straight shanked, rather unbalanced, bit with a broken mouth. Other bits with curved, or cavalry style shanks, as an example, are not TTs. The TT name has been attached to many different bits and has given those bits a bad name. It's like the "accepted" misnomer of calling a TT, a Western snaffle.

This is a Tom Thumb:

Tom Thimb.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #16
In my experience, Arabians in particular tend to take quite fondly to TT's.
I also liked my tom thumb bit. I bought it as a training bit, a nice thick copper mouthpiece and my horse seems to like it. It has weight, he can feel it and yet the thicker mouth piece doesn't seem harsh.
I find the Billy Allen too light, it has a very thin mouth piece, thin shanks. It is almost like having nothing in the mouth? Mine is cut down like a tom thumb, very little mechanical advantage. The supposedly advantage is the mouth piece acts like a solid piece when both reins are pulled and yet like a snaffle when direct reining.
I will give it an honest try but my first impression was I don't like it. I did spend almost $100 after taxes so I have to give it a chance.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I DID own a Billy Allen style bit one time but I disliked it and sold it. I disliked it for two reasons:

2. I really disliked how the bit would do a full 360 in your hand. Do you know what I mean? Like the mouthpiece would allow you to spin the bit in circles. I know it can't do that in the horse's mouth, but I did feel it had more swivel to it, and that it has less stability than a normal tom thumb mouthpiece. Does anyone else dislike that feature? Do they all swivel around completely like that?

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They all swivel 360 degrees, that is the feature of the bit.. It acts solid when both reins are pulled and yet allows one rein, direct rein stearing because of the swivel. I just don't trust the bit's swivel.. What if at a critical time the bit split/broke leaving you with nothing??
If I had to do it over I don't think I would have bought the bit. They had a used english Billy allan mouth pieced bit but new it was over $200 and used it was the same as my bit at about $90 before taxes but it has a port and I didn't want to jump to a port.
 

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If you look at the Billy Allen I posted, you will see that it has a hobble which prevents the bit from over travel in any direction.

As for the the lightness and the thinness of the bit, there are many variations and I'm sure there is one that will satisfy most riders. I agree with Rio about a thin, light bit which is why I love the one I use.
 
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