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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am not widely versed in bits and I’ve rode my mare in a Tom thumb bit for years! We used to barrel race and compete in Gymkhana but now we just trail ride.
In general, if I’m in a relaxed arena setting riding I just ride her in a D ring snaffle but she’s definitely heavier on this. because she is used to a tom thumb bit she doesn’t respond well to the snaffle on the trails.
In general she has more GO then WOAH and I usually have her follow on the trail because she’s such a fast walker.
I ride her with light hands and with as much loose rein possible on the trail unless I’m needing to half halt or break.

What bit is milder then the Tom Thumb bit? But will still give me some control?

thank you in advance!
 

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If you are riding with a shank bit then it isn't the snaffle, single joint, that is the problem but the straightness of the shank which gives no warning of you requesting a change coming...it is a smack in the mouth with the instant yelling at the horse not a whispered secret the horse feels.
If the horse rides in a D-ring, same mouthpiece both bits then it is because of the shank and leverage felt applied to poll and mouth along with the curb chain pressure.

So, for me....
Single joint bit, shank is fine but find one with a slight curve to the shank as it gives a bit of warning in softness when used with a softly guiding hand.
Adjust the curb chain a tiny bit looser if you feel the horse also is being over-pressured to such a fast response.
This picture to me is what I know of as a Tom Thumb...as you can see such straight shanks
Water Table Rectangle Plumbing fixture Nickel

This bit below to me is far kinder, with the swept back shank that allows a bit of warning to the horse before the actual instruction is delivered..
Nickel Metal Font Fashion accessory Silver

This is just my opinion and may not be what makes a Tom Thumb undesirable by some.
I though know of many who ride in this style bit and have no problems and the horses are quiet, great partners and not seem to mind carrying this bit...
The hands guiding the reins can and do make any bit from gentle and sweet to anything but...
🐴...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you are riding with a shank bit then it isn't the snaffle, single joint, that is the problem but the straightness of the shank which gives no warning of you requesting a change coming...it is a smack in the mouth with the instant yelling at the horse not a whispered secret the horse feels.
If the horse rides in a D-ring, same mouthpiece both bits then it is because of the shank and leverage felt applied to poll and mouth along with the curb chain pressure.

So, for me....
Single joint bit, shank is fine but find one with a slight curve to the shank as it gives a bit of warning in softness when used with a softly guiding hand.
Adjust the curb chain a tiny bit looser if you feel the horse also is being over-pressured to such a fast response.
This picture to me is what I know of as a Tom Thumb...as you can see such straight shanks
View attachment 1121882
This bit below to me is far kinder, with the swept back shank that allows a bit of warning to the horse before the actual instruction is delivered..
View attachment 1121881
This is just my opinion and may not be what makes a Tom Thumb undesirable by some.
I though know of many who ride in this style bit and have no problems and the horses are quiet, great partners and not seem to mind carrying this bit...
The hands guiding the reins can and do make any bit from gentle and sweet to anything but...
🐴...
[/QUOTE
 

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Curve to the shanks helps the balance. The weight of the reins means the natural balance of a bit is for the tips of the shank to rest under the mouthpiece. If the horse carries its head at 45 degrees, then a 45 degree bend means it will rest without rotating. So when you pull back on the reins, the bit will rotate without applying pressure until the curb strap tightens. That is a signal to the horse - a chance to do what you ask before you use any pressure in the mouth. Most horses soon figure it out.

If the shanks are straight and the head is at 45 degrees, the weight of the reins will rotate the bit 45 degrees before you start pulling back. Then the curb strap starts to engage and the horse doesn't get any signal or advance warning...just pressure as soon as you pull.

It is still workable but I prefer a bent shank. Also like Billy Allan mouthpieces - at least, my horses like them:

I've used Tom Thumbs without problems but the Billy Allen makes more sense to me.
 

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I personally have no problems with a Tom Thumb, but prefer a pro reiner (the longer and curved shank). However, if you aren’t on her face and she likes the bit, I don’t really understand the desire to change it.
 
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