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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 14, 2014

    Default Bit definitions, based on function

    This is taken from the University of Nevada:

    ms Relative to Bit Design:

    Curb Bit
    : Any bit regardless of
    mouthpiece style that has shanks
    . This is a leverage
    Curb strap/chain
    : An accessory to a curb
    bit. Provides for
    normal function of the
    curb bit by restricting degree
    of movement of
    the mouthpiece. Applies pressure at
    the chin groove when reins
    are drawn tight.

    Leverage Bit
    : Jointed or solid mouthpieces
    attached to

    'Shanked snaffle' is an oxymoron, as you are calling that bit both a leverage and anon leverage bit, based on mouth piece design, not function
    It is a convenient slang, as it is much easier to describe a curb with a jointed mouth pieces that way, thus the term is used both by tack catalogs and professionals, but the professional sure know that in reality they are talking about a curb bit
    The true Tom Thumb, that has fixed shaNks that are aLSO STRAIGHT UP AND DOWN shanks, is a poor choice in a curb bit,but not because the mouth piece is jointed, but because both those relatively short shanks, that are fixed, and straight up and down design give very little if any signal between the time the curb strap is engaged and bit contact
    Signal time in a curb bit depends on ratio between purchase and entire shank length, angle of shanks and whether shanks are loose jawed or fixed
    Short shanks have less signal then longer shanks, but also a decrease in severity, far as leverage, hands being equal, thus you balance shank length on how educated that horse is to a curb bit,
    In other words, a horse that is at the level of responding to very light rein, gets increased signal from a longer shanked bit, while a horse not at this level yet, benefits between a little less signal , but less curb action (leverage )
    Moving a horse up from the snaffle , AFTER he has all the basics on him, to a curb with a jointed mouth piece, loose jawed, short shanked, just introduced that horse to slight curb action, using a mouth piece that he is familiar with

    Moving to a curb with a port, fixed or un fixed shanks or first going, or even staying in a curb with aj ointed mouth piece, depends on the individual horse;s preference and ultimate end goal, far as discipline
    Again, for ease of differentiation, often all curbs with aj ointed mouth are called Tom Thumbs, if not by my other least favorite terminology, 'shanked snaffle!
    Last edited by KIloBright; Nov. 22, 2014 at 11:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 2, 2007

    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 14, 2014


    That;s my entire point, if you read any of my post!!!!!!!!!!
    Catalogs and even professionals use the incorrect term, 'shanked snaffle", because it is way easier that saying a curb with a jointed mouth, and differentiates the mouth piece in that curb between a port and being jointed, without needing to say so

    Using slang , that is under stood by professionals DOES NOT, redefine what that bit is, classified according to action, and on which principle show rules are based on
    In reality, there is no thing as a shanked snaffle

    Definition of a snaffle : a non leverage bit

    Definition of a curb : a leverage bit. Once you add shanks, you have leverage, whether you wish to call that bit a cow,a tree or shanked snaffle, it is still in reality a curb

    You can post endless links to tack catalogs and even to articles by professional horsemen, where the term 'shanked snaffle is used, but that does not change what that bit is correctly classified as, and that is a curb

    I can even give you an example from human medicine, where an incorrect term is used to 'dumb down' the true action of a drug, for the layman

    A person given an anti coagulant is told he is on a 'blood thinner", which is technically incorrect,as that blood is not thinned

    A direct anticoagulant, like heparin, inhibits the conversion of fibrin to fibrinogen
    An indirect anticoagulant , like dicoumeral inhibits the production of the vit K

    dependent factors in the liver
    Those drugs are anticoagualnts, not blood thinners

    Point being, incorrect terminology simplifies descriptions at times, but does not change the true classification of whatever is having that slang term applied to it

    You can call a curb with a broken mouth piece a shanked snaffle, for simplification, but that does not change the fact that the bit is a curb!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2005


    I agree that the bit shown is a curb bit.

    At the same time when I send somebody into the tack room to get a bit, telling them to get the shanked snaffle is the easiest way for them to know what bit to get. Telling them to get the curb bit is useless as there are 40 curb bits with differing mouth pieces and shanks.

    I am not sure why this is such a hot button issue with some people.
    I support equine meat processing as an option for those who choose to use it.

    2 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 14, 2014


    I realize it is an easy way to describe a bit with a broken mouth piece, and why numerous people, including professionals use that term

    Here is where it becomes a problem, outside of the 'inner circle' that understands that the bit is actually a curb

    I have found in -experienced people starting their horses, with a 'shanked snaffle, thinking that they were using a bit recommended to start a horse with

    The entire argument arose here, because Atkill tried to argue that a 'shanked snaffle' was not a curb. THat is the fall out of using that term, which otherwise is no big deal, talking with people who understand what that bit truly is

    I have gone to light horse shows,and even judged some, where a person relatively new to showing, showed up for a jr horse class, in a shanked snaffle, thinking that they were riding with a snaffle, as per rules, and not a curb

    As long as everyone involved knows what you are talking about, ( Talking the talk" ) the slang 'shanked snaffle', is no big deal. The problem arises when people that don't know what truly defines a snaffle and a curb, get confused , due to that oxymoron
    You might be surprised as to how many people don't know that a bit with a broken mouth piece and shanks is a curb, and why that term maybe should be reserved for those that know what you are talking about, as those people in your barn, informed horse people, talking amongst themselves ect, but why the term perhaps is not the best one to use in official training articles and catalogs

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 24, 2010


    Here is where it becomes a problem, outside of the 'inner circle' that understands that the bit is actually a curb
    The thing to do, then, is to expand the "inner circle" to include more and more horsepeople!

    It's the same with other horsey jargon, some people just aren't "in the know" and so should be brought in.

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