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VaqueroToro
Sep. 10, 2012, 03:59 PM
I'm looking for a new bit for my horse and am looking for some recommendations.

He came to me with a Tom Thumb like this (http://bit.ly/Ryp3YC) (the kind with the curved shanks, not the straight ones) and he goes well in it, but I'd like to try something else now that the one that he had is broken and needs to be replaced anyway. I didn't like it because it seems to move all as one unit instead of having a little wiggle room on each side.

I don't think either of us are ready for a traditional Western low port curb just yet since I do more direct reining than neck reining. He does need some leverage though so going to a plain snaffle won't cut it -- I've tried, but since he's been a leverage bit for so long, a snaffle just do not compute to him.

Will an Argentine Snaffle like this one (http://shop.reinsman.com/bits/402/) be any better? The place where the bit connects to the shafts moves up and down slightly which seems to me like it would allow me to lift each side more independently but it'll still give me leverage.

Are there any other bits out there that will have some leverage but also allow for independent action on either side? Would a different mouth give me that independent action, ie, a dog bone mouth over a split mouth?

Leather
Sep. 10, 2012, 05:27 PM
Check out the Robart bits. They have a bushing system which allows them rotate in the middle.

https://www.pinchlessbits.com/

I was against anything that resembled a Tom Thumb (single jointed curb) but my trainer used this bit on my gelding during his spring tune-up and he went well in it.

http://www.chicksaddlery.com/page/CDS/PROD/1040/233105

I love it for trail rides. There is just enough leverage for him to not completely hang on the bit on the way home like he would with a snaffle, but not too much that I can't use some contact if need be.

Another bit with a shorter shank and independent side movement that's reasonably priced: http://www.smithbrothers.com/francois-gauthier-antique-low-port-futurity-bit/p/X3-01185/


Mylers also have a ton of independent side motion bits but they are a bit more $$$.

Remington410
Sep. 10, 2012, 05:31 PM
My daughter is going western on me and I'm trying to figure out bits as well. I just bought a low port loose cheek curb. It's my understanding that's a good choice for transitioning from snaffle to curb.

I haven't shown it to my trainer yet to make sure it's the right thing (I always defer to my trainer for everything) but you may look this up and see if it may be what you're looking for.

SuckerForHorses
Sep. 20, 2012, 12:30 PM
Personally, I feel that if a horse has reached a point that a snaffle is not communicating, you need to go back to basics and he needs to relearn being soft in teh bridle, no matter what bit is in his mouth.

sahqueen
Sep. 20, 2012, 12:42 PM
I have several versions with this mouthpiece...some with shorter/longer shanks, more purchase, etc depending on the horses needs...we call it the 'happy horse bit' as we've yet to find a horse that has a problem with the mouthpiece configuration.

http://www.horse.com/item/ss-dog-bone-futuritywestern-snaffle-bit-5in/SLT735106/

SAcres
Sep. 20, 2012, 02:43 PM
Personally, I feel that if a horse has reached a point that a snaffle is not communicating, you need to go back to basics and he needs to relearn being soft in teh bridle, no matter what bit is in his mouth.

This. I think it is really important to make sure a horse is going well in a snaffle before moving into any sort of leverage bit. I also wouldn't use any type of tom thumb design. It is a harsh bit from what I know, and has a severe nutcracker action. It is one of the last bits I would try.

Bluey
Sep. 20, 2012, 06:14 PM
Personally, I feel that if a horse has reached a point that a snaffle is not communicating, you need to go back to basics and he needs to relearn being soft in teh bridle, no matter what bit is in his mouth.


This. I think it is really important to make sure a horse is going well in a snaffle before moving into any sort of leverage bit. I also wouldn't use any type of tom thumb design. It is a harsh bit from what I know, and has a severe nutcracker action. It is one of the last bits I would try.

What kind of riding are you doing?

Sounds like your horse never had a "made mouth", he is not responding to the bit as the one more aid it is.
I would, as already suggested, do some retraining with a direct rein in a snaffle until your horse is further along.

That really is best done with help from a good trainer.

For any bit you consider using, hold the bridle cheeks in one hand, put your other hand on the bit, fingers down and have someone use the reins from behind you in several ways, direct, indirect, etc.

Study how several bits will move and that way you can understand better the signals they give to your horse.

Then practice to see what your horse understands and where he needs a bit more training, once you know what the bit you choose is doing in his mouth.

When it comes to learning about bits and their uses, we learn as much as the horses do.:yes:

Wellspotted
Sep. 20, 2012, 07:50 PM
Personally, I feel that if a horse has reached a point that a snaffle is not communicating, you need to go back to basics and he needs to relearn being soft in teh bridle, no matter what bit is in his mouth.

Yes. This is correct.

If you're not going in a show where you have to have a ported shanked bit when the horse is over a certain age, there is no reason to use one. Horses that lean on the bit definitely need work on balance and self-carriage--especially if they're packing a rider out on the trails! :)

A Tom Thumb is a "b*st**d" bit. It's neither a snaffle nor a curb and so it sends mixed signals of both and neither.

Wellspotted
Sep. 20, 2012, 07:56 PM
My daughter is going western on me and I'm trying to figure out bits as well. I just bought a low port loose cheek curb. It's my understanding that's a good choice for transitioning from snaffle to curb.



For your daughter or for the horse? You don't say how old your daughter is or how long she's been riding, but I hope she has a completely independent seat and very good hands before you put her in a curb.

Why do you want to transition from a snaffle to a curb, anyway? Is she going to be showing in advanced classes for which a curb is the only legal bit? If not, why transition from a snaffle to one?

VaqueroToro
Sep. 21, 2012, 11:14 AM
Thank you all.

Bluey, I do that, but I put the headstall on my leg (or use my foot between bit and curb strap when figuring out how leverage bits apply the pressures).

I would love to get him soft with a snaffle, but I've often been steered away from that with "you'll have no control without a leverage bit" or "he goes so well as he is, why screw with it?"

So how do I go about getting him soft and responsive to a snaffle starting on the ground -- I don't know how to ground drive, so is there something I can do while leading, doing my normal quarter yields and such with him?

I'm primarily concerned about having a good stop once I'm in the saddle. He's excellent at being "with me" on the ground and he's got a nice stop in the saddle with his current bridle -- I rock my weight back on my pockets, say whoa, and move my hands a couple of inches back to take some of the loop out of the reins and he plants it.

RPM
Sep. 21, 2012, 09:59 PM
What sort of riding have you done on other horses? With other bits? What experience do you have of riding in snaffles? In what way does the snaffle "not compute" with your horse? When you say snaffle, do you mean a jointed-mouth ring bit? (Because some western people say "snaffle" when they mean a jointed-mouth shanked bit.)

Lots of questions, I know ... ;)

VaqueroToro
Sep. 23, 2012, 04:56 PM
What sort of riding have you done on other horses? With other bits? What experience do you have of riding in snaffles? In what way does the snaffle "not compute" with your horse? When you say snaffle, do you mean a jointed-mouth ring bit? (Because some western people say "snaffle" when they mean a jointed-mouth shanked bit.)

Lots of questions, I know ... ;)

In my book, snaffle = no leverage, regardless of mouth type, but I've mostly used single joint, nothing mullen mouthed, french link, or ported.

Ones with shanks are usually a leverage bit, regardless of mouth type -- if the reins are attached at a point lower than where the bit meets the rings/shanks, it's leverage, if it's in the same plane as the bit, it's a snaffle. Gags work in a whole different way.

Horses I've ridden: in plain snaffles have been lesson horses with pretty dead mouths to halt/half halt/rein back pressures, horses in mechanical hacks that were more responsive, horses in your typical low port western curb bits, horses in broken mouth curbs (like the one I linked in the OP), horses in English type curbs (Weymouths, Pelhams, Uxeter Kimberwicke, etc). I ride in the arena 98% of the time and do patterns or trail trial like stuff. Occasionally I trail ride.

The "does not compute" part is that he has a tendency to run through my hands and/or I have to use A LOT of rein to get that "wall" when I ask for a stop. Even when I use an actual wall to reinforce what I'm doing with my seat/hands, he'd rather plow into it than stop. He doesn't get half halts, or me trying to regulate his speed pulsing one rein at a time. Backing up becomes a game of head toss or gape mouth, or flat out refusal.

Do some horses just do better with leverage pressures? I understand that leverage bits apply multiples of shank length to the poundage of rein use to the poll and chin groove, but it seems like I can't be applying too much extra pressure with taking slack out of loopy reins versus feeling like I'm about to snap off his jaw to get a response in something without leverage.

BensMama
Sep. 24, 2012, 06:26 AM
This is my go-to shanked bit:

http://www.jeffersequine.com/images/265/A8A5.jpg

Every horse I've ever tried it on has done beautifully in it. I agree that going back and getting your horse working soft in a snaffle is a good thing to do before moving on to a shanked bit - but that is sometimes easier said than done! ;) I've never had a horse that was prone to blowing through the bit, so I'm afraid I'm not much help, LOL I'm interested in seeing what others have to say.