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View Full Version : Bit spin-off (regarding Tom Thumb)



spirithorse22
Sep. 30, 2009, 08:36 PM
Is this bit a tom thumb?

Alright-new link http://www.tractorsupply.com/equine/horse-tack/bits/milepost-sweet-iron-breaking-horse-bit-4007559

If not a Tom Thumb, any official name for it?

pj
Sep. 30, 2009, 09:37 PM
I haven't looked at the picture but a snaffle does not have shanks. A broken mouth piece doesn't make a snaffle. A snaffle can be broken or solid but never uses leverage (shanks).

twofatponies
Sep. 30, 2009, 09:51 PM
I can't see the mouthpiece there.

This is article has some pictures comparing different kinds:

http://www.todayshorse.com/Articles/TroublewithTomThumb.htm

The writer (Mark Rashid) outlines why he doesn't like it (because it muddles clear signals to the horse, in large part), which I found interesting but haven't experienced and don't know enough about to comment on.

Hip
Sep. 30, 2009, 10:04 PM
I can't open the link but a TT has almost straight shanks, 6"'s, and about a 2" purchase. The mouthpiece is broken and could be steel or copper or inlaid. An argentine has a curve back right above the rein rings and a little loop for a slobber chain, if you wanted. It also has a snaffle rein ring, NOT for the curb chain (which too many people think that's what it's for...dumb clucks...).

Anyway, back to the snaffle vs. curb thing. It depends on who you listen to about what is a snaffle and what is a curb. I grew up that if the mouthpiece is broken, it's a snaffle, shank or not. I have seen old bit books from the late 1800's-early 1900's that say it's a snaffle. A master bitmaker in Great Britain had a pamphlet out that said it was also a snaffle. Also, the Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX has (it was there as of about 9 yrs ago) an old book that calls this type of bit a snaffle. Also, someone once told me that C. Anderson calls it a snaffle. Numerous bit catalogs still call it a snaffle although I have noticed they have begun to change to plain old 'Tom Thumb'.

Then about 20 yrs ago, I started hearing the shanked 'snaffle' wasn't a snaffle but a curb bit. Due to leverage. The snaffle works off of the lips, not so much the bars.

I've found that people either really like the bit or absolutely hate it. Once a lady had a bunch of newbies on another horse site convinced that a TT just sitting in the horse mouth hurts them horrribly. :eek: Stoopid stuff like that.

You'll find, I'm sure, that people are very opinionated about what is a snaffle and what is a curb. They can get VERY snotty about it too. This is one subject that people won't budge on. :no:

Okay, am going on here but it's one of my pet stories. :winkgrin: Personally, I'm good with this bit.

Hip
Sep. 30, 2009, 10:09 PM
I read thru Rashid's piece and he has it wrong. A TT is for a WELL broke horse, NEVER for a colt or for training a youngster. He's right, in a colt it sends the wrong message but it's not a transition bit. That's why people have such trouble with this bit. It LOOKS like a training bit but it's not. For well-broke, loose reined, responsive horses ONLY.

Neck reining is the WEIGHT of the rein of the rein against the horse's neck, never pulling the horse over. If you have to pull in indirect or direct pull, that's not neck reining, that's some sort of plow reinging, not neck reining.

Hmmm, the more I read from his article, my estimation of him is going down...wow...not that I knew very much of him anyway but it would serve him to really learn what bits are for and how they work. Even his assessment of the full cheek and grazing bits...

LuvMyNSH
Sep. 30, 2009, 10:50 PM
I read thru Rashid's piece and he has it wrong. A TT is for a WELL broke horse, NEVER for a colt or for training a youngster. He's right, in a colt it sends the wrong message but it's not a transition bit. That's why people have such trouble with this bit. It LOOKS like a training bit but it's not. For well-broke, loose reined, responsive horses ONLY.
.

This is the complete opposite of what I have been taught and seen done by every reining/working cow/WP trainer I have been around.

What style riding do you do that people are putting broke horses in a jointed curb instead of a more traditional bit? :confused:

spirithorse22
Sep. 30, 2009, 11:16 PM
Alright, try this link: http://www.tractorsupply.com/equine/horse-tack/bits/milepost-sweet-iron-breaking-horse-bit-4007559

This is the bit I'm talking about in the photo (that ppl seem unable to bring up, erg.).

Anyway, re: snaffle, re: ppl's opinions. :lol: No kidding! Just trying to get a straight answer.


I can't open the link but a TT has almost straight shanks, 6"'s, and about a 2" purchase. The mouthpiece is broken and could be steel or copper or inlaid. An argentine has a curve back right above the rein rings and a little loop for a slobber chain, if you wanted. It also has a snaffle rein ring, NOT for the curb chain (which too many people think that's what it's for...dumb clucks...).

Anyway, back to the snaffle vs. curb thing. It depends on who you listen to about what is a snaffle and what is a curb. I grew up that if the mouthpiece is broken, it's a snaffle, shank or not. I have seen old bit books from the late 1800's-early 1900's that say it's a snaffle. A master bitmaker in Great Britain had a pamphlet out that said it was also a snaffle. Also, the Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX has (it was there as of about 9 yrs ago) an old book that calls this type of bit a snaffle. Also, someone once told me that C. Anderson calls it a snaffle. Numerous bit catalogs still call it a snaffle although I have noticed they have begun to change to plain old 'Tom Thumb'.

Then about 20 yrs ago, I started hearing the shanked 'snaffle' wasn't a snaffle but a curb bit. Due to leverage. The snaffle works off of the lips, not so much the bars.

I've found that people either really like the bit or absolutely hate it. Once a lady had a bunch of newbies on another horse site convinced that a TT just sitting in the horse mouth hurts them horrribly. :eek: Stoopid stuff like that.

You'll find, I'm sure, that people are very opinionated about what is a snaffle and what is a curb. They can get VERY snotty about it too. This is one subject that people won't budge on. :no:

Okay, am going on here but it's one of my pet stories. :winkgrin: Personally, I'm good with this bit.

Hip
Sep. 30, 2009, 11:52 PM
Yup, people's opinions. Just depends on your experience, how you were trained, where you grew up, etc. Really, it doesn't matter that much to me whether anyone here agrees with me or not. I'm giving my opinions, the same as the other posters. :winkgrin:

A TT can be used on ANY well broke horse. My horses HAVE to be able to go in almost any bit I hang in their mouths and do their job. I expect it of them so this includes any TT. The exception would be that a horse hasnt' been brought along to go in a spade or higher learning bit but is still well broke and has a good handle. You don't have to get into their mouths, they understand leg/weight/rein movements/etc. One ear back at you.

A true bridle horse needs to be collected and hair-triggered. A TT or a grazing bit isn't going to cut it in the long run. Look at the ION cowboys, they have spades or at 'worst', half-breeds (not quite the training of a bridled horse, but part way, hence only 'half', still a great handle though). They wouldn't get caught dead with a TT on their horses. But in the general riding horse world, a well-broke saddle horse MUST be able to go with anything, including the TT. But it is NOT a colt bit. Matter of fact, I'm so surprised Rashid would say such a thing!! :confused:

Also, just because a rider is a 'name' in the WP, reining or working cowhorse world, doesn't mean they know much more than the rest of us. I've worked with World Champ horse owners who could bluff and buy their way in.

We are in a day and age now where any sort of info, due to the internet and things, can be distributed by anyone and will be believed by anyone. Example: Just check out the latest Equus mag, an author of an article stated that a bucking horse was 16.5h. There's no such thing as .5h. A hand is 4 inches, period. Goes back 3,000 years starting with the Egyptians and was later standardized. But this author is putting out wrong info and now people will pick up on it and soon we'll have a discussion on how to properly measure a horse. So a mag like Equus let this out... :mad:

Beverley
Sep. 30, 2009, 11:56 PM
Neck reining is the WEIGHT of the rein of the rein against the horse's neck, never pulling the horse over.

We might just be splitting hairs on the semantics, but for mine, neck reining is pretty much just the touch of the rein on the neck (accompanied with appropriate leg cues, though mine neck rein on autopilot too).

In my lexicon, the Tom Thumb is a curb bit with a jointed mouthpiece. I've used 'em, and pelhams with jointed mouth pieces, and kimberwicks with jointed mouthpieces, for decades (among many other bits, I really ought to inventory my collection one of these years)- foxhunting, reining, and many other things. For some horses, just the ticket. It's not the bit, it's the hands.

Beverley
Oct. 1, 2009, 12:02 AM
What style riding do you do that people are putting broke horses in a jointed curb instead of a more traditional bit? :confused:

What style riding? Any style. In my experience- some horses just like 'em better. I tend to go with what the horse likes.

I've hunted several different horses in a jointed pelham- really, just rode on the snaffle rein most of the time, used the curb rein only when needed for little corrections or really fast stops.

spirithorse22
Oct. 1, 2009, 12:03 AM
The guy I worked for I respected tremendously. I'm really going off of his recommendations, b/c as someone mentioned, the proof is in the hands and the individual horse. I personally love the way my horses have gone in what I *think* would be termed a Tom Thumb.

What I'm really trying to get at here is whether the bit in the photo of the link IS a Tom Thumb. :lol::lol:

Rubyfree
Oct. 1, 2009, 12:13 AM
Spirit, that is what I think of when I say Tom Thumb.

Beverley
Oct. 1, 2009, 12:16 AM
What I'm really trying to get at here is whether the bit in the photo of the link IS a Tom Thumb. :lol::lol:

Interesting question...I would say not. Back in the day, the Tom Thumb had shorter shanks (hence use of the term Tom Thumb). The one you posted had a 6.5 inch shank. This one is a little shorter, 6 inch shank, which is more like what I think of in terms of proportions of the bit.

http://www.rods.com/Reinsman-one-half-Copper-Tom-Thumb-Bit,4965.html

To put it another way, maybe: I'm looking at a picture of me from about 1969 showing a mare in a Quick Bit with a jointed mouthpiece- the shanks extend at least an inch below the horse's lips. A Tom Thumb's shanks end above the horse's lips. Does that make sense?

pj
Oct. 1, 2009, 12:23 AM
But it is NOT a colt bit. Matter of fact, I'm so surprised Rashid would say such a thing!! :confused:

:

I didn't understand Rashid to say that. He said (to my understanding) that it was designed to be a transitional bit but was not a good choice for that purpose.

He said:
The Tom Thumb snaffle was originally designed as a transition bit that was to be used in Western training. When a green horse was far enough along that perhaps a training snaffle was no longer necessary, but not far enough along to be moved into a curb bit, the Tom Thumb would be used. This would be great, if in fact, it made the transition simple and easy. Unfortunately, it doesn't. The truth of the matter is that, due to its design, it could possibly be considered one of the worst bits that somebody could use at a highly critical time in a young horse's training.

spirithorse22
Oct. 1, 2009, 12:48 AM
Interesting question...I would say not. Back in the day, the Tom Thumb had shorter shanks (hence use of the term Tom Thumb). The one you posted had a 6.5 inch shank. This one is a little shorter, 6 inch shank, which is more like what I think of in terms of proportions of the bit.

http://www.rods.com/Reinsman-one-half-Copper-Tom-Thumb-Bit,4965.html

To put it another way, maybe: I'm looking at a picture of me from about 1969 showing a mare in a Quick Bit with a jointed mouthpiece- the shanks extend at least an inch below the horse's lips. A Tom Thumb's shanks end above the horse's lips. Does that make sense?

You had me until the 'above the horse's lips'...you mean that the shanks, if put alongside the horse's muzzle, would match the length of the horse's lip but not go any further? I guess that threw me b/c I always think about shanks sweeping back towards the rider and not 'at' the horse's lips. BUT they aren't actually *below* the lip. *sigh* I think I just confused myself!

Thanks for answering my post though! Same as you, Ruby. And everyone else too, of course! I'm always interested in learning theory-something I'm sorely lacking when it comes to western context.

As a matter of fact, are you looking for the same fit with these bits as you are w/ english bits? I assume so, no one has told me different so far. :uhoh: And typically when I ask a question, I'm told that I will learn it on my own. :sigh: Since I'm used to micromanagement from my english coaches, this approach leaves me a bit anxious sometimes.
Bit fit: 2 wrinkles, doesn't pinch/sit too high/too low, curb chain w/ two fingers between chain and chin?

LuvMyNSH
Oct. 1, 2009, 01:18 AM
What style riding? Any style. In my experience- some horses just like 'em better. I tend to go with what the horse likes.


Arrgh, not even close to what I meant.

I have always seen a jointed curb used a baby/transition bit. It is made as such, marketed as such, and overwhelmingly used as such.

I want to know what style uses a jointed curb as a bit for finished horses only, because I have never heard of such a thing.

You might keep a horse in it if they like it, but to say that using it on a green horse is 100% wrong...just seems backward. Sort of like if someone stepped forward and said that a double bridle was for starting green horses only. :lol:

pj
Oct. 1, 2009, 10:20 AM
Bit fit: 2 wrinkles, doesn't pinch/sit too high/too low, curb chain w/ two fingers between chain and chin?

:lol: Here is a little something else people differ on.
Two wrinkles isn't ALWAYS right for EVERY horse! Mouths are different so fit the bit to the mouth. My special lady would be miserable with two wrinkles, one is fine for her thank you. :)

Curb chain...when I use a kimberwick on my mare I keep the chain so loose it has no effect at all...not needed. But on other horses I have used the two finger measure as they needed it but would never go tighter than that.

ReSomething
Oct. 1, 2009, 10:43 AM
I think I'm late to the party but the link I was able to open shows the bit that came with the bridle that came with the horse (whew!) back in 1971. The whole length of the bit was about 6 and a half inches, so the actual shanks were maybe 3 and a half, four inches, it had a jointed mouth and I used a curb strap. Tom Thumb was what it was called.

twofatponies
Oct. 1, 2009, 07:43 PM
I didn't understand Rashid to say that. He said (to my understanding) that it was designed to be a transitional bit but was not a good choice for that purpose.

He said:
The Tom Thumb snaffle was originally designed as a transition bit that was to be used in Western training. When a green horse was far enough along that perhaps a training snaffle was no longer necessary, but not far enough along to be moved into a curb bit, the Tom Thumb would be used. This would be great, if in fact, it made the transition simple and easy. Unfortunately, it doesn't. The truth of the matter is that, due to its design, it could possibly be considered one of the worst bits that somebody could use at a highly critical time in a young horse's training.

That's what I thought, too - he meant: "some people and the designer of it think of it as a transition bit, but it's not really good for that, or much else."

katarine
Oct. 1, 2009, 09:42 PM
You had me until the 'above the horse's lips'...you mean that the shanks, if put alongside the horse's muzzle, would match the length of the horse's lip but not go any further? I guess that threw me b/c I always think about shanks sweeping back towards the rider and not 'at' the horse's lips. BUT they aren't actually *below* the lip. *sigh* I think I just confused myself!


Purchase: From the mouthpiece 'up' to where the bridle attaches
Shank: from the mouthpiece 'down' to where the reins attach.

Does that help?

spirithorse22
Oct. 1, 2009, 10:38 PM
Purchase: From the mouthpiece 'up' to where the bridle attaches
Shank: from the mouthpiece 'down' to where the reins attach.

Does that help?

Yessss. Thank you!

Beverley
Oct. 2, 2009, 10:16 AM
You had me until the 'above the horse's lips'... Bit fit: 2 wrinkles, doesn't pinch/sit too high/too low, curb chain w/ two fingers between chain and chin?

Sorry for the confusion...maybe I need to find pics, but the upshot is, a Tom Thumb is a short shanked, jointed mouthpiece curb bit.

As for wrinkles, or not, or how many, ask 3 different people and you'll get six answers! Personally, I go with a bit of a wrinkle for any snaffle bit, and no wrinkles- but flush against corners of horse's mouth- for any curb bit. In a full bridle- the snaffle mouthpiece is above the curb bit with a bit of a wrinkle.