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Bit Terminology - Really?!

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  • #41
    Originally posted by goneriding24 View Post
    Broken mouthpiece = snaffle mouthpiece. I know it gets tiresome but I'm still in the camp the mouthpiece is the descriptive name. As an aside, it sounds awkward when people say (example coming up) a shanked broken mouth bit. Hey, it's a Tom Thumb!! A western rider should know what that is automatically, whether they agree with the bit or not. I don't agree with some of these bits on the market nowadays (talk about a substitute for good horsemanship!) but I sure know what they are (well, 90% of them. It's hard to keep up)

    As I said above, none of this will change anyone's mind. Again, I never heard of this stuff till about 25 years +/- years ago and then it gained steam. When a lot of the Natural Horsemanship stuff started really getting going. Altho, I think CA thinks as I do about bits. I think we're repeating ourselves, I know I am.
    LOL, Well, I'm still confused about your definitions since you said above that you would call a solid mouthed bit with rings a snaffle. That doesn't make sense if you insist snaffle refers to the mouthpiece and not the action...

    I took my first course in bits and bitting 40 years ago and I was taught snaffle vs curb defines action of the bit, and this was from people who had been in the business for a while....so it's not the new NH stuff..... but yes, we'll have to agree to disagree Kind of like politics!

    For the Tom Thumb, you could just say Tom Thumb.....We'd all get it.... not need to confuse people by calling it a snaffle.... and as posted by Eventer 13, using the term snaffle does confuse people because they hear that a snaffle is a gentle bit.... there is nothing gentle about a long shanked broken mouthpiece bit....

    But since there are so many bits these days, I think we need to be accurate and descriptive.... If I say I'm riding in a snaffle it doesn't tell anybody anything. If I say I am riding in a D-ring snaffle with a french link, people know what it is..... or a O-ring snaffle with a mullen mouth it means something...

    As far as the curbs go, you're going to be describing the mouthpiece any way, so why not say broken mouthpiece curb...just like you'd say low port curb or high port curb..... some curbs lend themselves to simpler descriptions as you would never have a spade bit snaffle......
    Turn off the computer and go ride!

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    • #42
      Originally posted by goneriding24 View Post
      As I said above, none of this will change anyone's mind. Again, I never heard of this stuff till about 25 years +/- years ago and then it gained steam.
      As far as this being a newer idea, de la Gueriniere's School of Horsemanship, pub. 1733, clearly shows and labels snaffles (the 'german snaffle' is what we'd call a full-cheek snaffle, the 'english snaffle' is a french-link bradoon with mullened bars and very tiny rings) and the single-jointed shank bit is in with all the other curb bits where it belongs. It is never called a snaffle.

      I have a very large collection of old horse books, with most being published from 1850 on. Some old catalogs too.

      It isn't until you get to 1960s approx. that non-pelham jointed shanked bits even start to get mentioned again in my books.

      Comment


      • #43
        Originally posted by Eventer13 View Post
        Bits are NOT categorized (snaffle, curb, etc) by the mouthpiece, they are categorized by the primary ACTION they have on the horse's mouth.

        You can have direct pressure on bars/lips (snaffle), leverage (curb- which also acts on chin groove, poll, and sometimes hard palate), or lifting upwards on the lips (gag). They can all have exactly the same mouthpiece and will have completely different actions. If that weren't the case, then not only would a single-jointed "ring" bit be a snaffle, but so would a single-jointed bit with shanks, and a single-jointed 3-ring bit (gag), and a single-jointed pelham, and a single-jointed kimberwicke. And if I lined those all up, would you call them all a snaffle?

        And if a single-jointed bit is a snaffle, then what makes a curb? A straight or mullen mouth? Because that can also be seen in "ring" bits, pelhams, kimberwickes, and gags. In fact, pretty much any mouthpiece style can be seen in each class of bit. And those mouthpieces that are primarily a curb-type (medium or high port) are so because the port doesn't really do much when direct pressure is involved. They are much more functional when you have a curb chain so you can cause the port to rotate in the mouth and push on the hard palate.

        Honestly, in the end its semantics. But I think it ends up hurting the horse because people hear that snaffles are "soft." Based on the definition of snaffle = direct pressure, they are softer than the same mouthpiece on a curb/gag. But when people start using the term snaffle to mean single jointed, and still apply the theory that its soft because all snaffles are soft, the horse loses out because the bit can become quite harsh (relatively, of course) when paired with a harsher class of bit.

        And honestly, I'm not sure where people got the idea that a single-jointed mouthpiece was soft to begin with. I'd much prefer a mullen mouth, french link, or even a straight bar or low port. I like to avoid the nutcracker action.
        ^^^This. You are able to type it out much better than I could!
        "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

        Comment


        • #44
          Originally posted by foggybok View Post
          LOL, Well, I'm still confused about your definitions since you said above that you would call a solid mouthed bit with rings a snaffle. That doesn't make sense if you insist snaffle refers to the mouthpiece and not the action...

          I took my first course in bits and bitting 40 years ago and I was taught snaffle vs curb defines action of the bit, and this was from people who had been in the business for a while....so it's not the new NH stuff..... but yes, we'll have to agree to disagree Kind of like politics!

          For the Tom Thumb, you could just say Tom Thumb.....We'd all get it.... not need to confuse people by calling it a snaffle.... and as posted by Eventer 13, using the term snaffle does confuse people because they hear that a snaffle is a gentle bit.... there is nothing gentle about a long shanked broken mouthpiece bit....

          But since there are so many bits these days, I think we need to be accurate and descriptive.... If I say I'm riding in a snaffle it doesn't tell anybody anything. If I say I am riding in a D-ring snaffle with a french link, people know what it is..... or a O-ring snaffle with a mullen mouth it means something...

          As far as the curbs go, you're going to be describing the mouthpiece any way, so why not say broken mouthpiece curb...just like you'd say low port curb or high port curb..... some curbs lend themselves to simpler descriptions as you would never have a spade bit snaffle......
          All this above, but still have to say that a jointed shorter shank such as an Argentine "snaffle" is a curb, but not nearly as severe as a "long shank snaffle". The purchase length, and the curve of the shank make all the difference in severity and action. In my experience, (I am 53) "english" horses used to a similar regular snaffle mouthpiece as the above Argentine, like and carry the Argentine very well. Especially older horses that have nice mouths. NOT Tom Thumb, I won't even own one of those, gave them all away years ago.

          If my horse really likes a standard snaffle, then it may like the Argentine, but another horse may prefer a low port with or without movement (roller, or Billy Allen, or swivel sides).

          Any bit is only as mild or as severe as the hands using it. Note, that I don't use long shank "snaffles" or even long shank curbs. I try to stay around a 6 inch maximum shank length with a curved shank if I am using a curb bit. Lately I have been using curbs on both of my horses because I have a sprained wrist and its been hard to ride effectively two handed. Neither horse cares.

          Comment


          • #45
            Originally posted by Eventer13 View Post
            Bits are NOT categorized (snaffle, curb, etc) by the mouthpiece, they are categorized by the primary ACTION they have on the horse's mouth.
            This.

            Snaffle = direct mouth pressure despite mouthpiece
            Curb/Shank = indirect pressure by means of leverage despite mouthpiece.

            Tom Thumb = curb bit with broken mouthpiece
            Mullen Mouth Loose Ring = snaffle with straight mouthpiece
            Southern Cross Guest Ranch
            An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia

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            • #46
              Snaffle can refer to both mouthpiece and type of bit. Why? I don't know. I'm not a fan of single jointed bits in general, whether they be a snaffle or curb.

              Comment


              • #47
                Quote:




                Originally Posted by wendy

                yes, that's my understanding. A curb has leverage, and a snaffle does not.

                A curb bit has lever action because it has a lever- the shank- and a fulcrum- the mouthpiece. If the mouthpiece isn't a solid bar (it's jointed or flexible), it can't really act as a fulcrum. Therefore no leverage. It's a snaffle bit.




                The second paragraph contradicts your first paragraph.

                You're saying that a bit with shanks, but a jointed mouthpiece, does not have leverage. It does, because of the shanks.
                no, you're not reading for comprehension.
                look up what a lever is- it's something you use to amplify force. You cannot apply leverage without a fulcrum. If your mouthpiece has a joint and wiggles around the "lever action" of the shank vanishes. No leverage. You can't use the shanks unless the mouthpiece is rigid.
                A bit with shanks and a jointed mouthpiece is a nonsensical, useless piece of tack. Doesn't matter what you call it.

                Comment


                • #48
                  We are speaking different languages

                  I have been giving this a bit of thought as a new boarder where I ride uses an argentine snaffle.

                  I have spent some time in western tack as I was a working cowgirl in the early 70s in Colorado and my Dad grew up on a ranch in CA so we always had western tack when I was a girl.

                  I joined pony club in the early 60s and got my A so I know a bit about English tack.

                  There is different terminology and no one has the one true way.

                  It reminds me of when I was learning French.

                  The verb "demander" in French translates as "to ask". It is not "to demand".

                  The words looks the same but it has different meaning.

                  I think it is ok to let western folks call their jointed mouth bits snaffles. I just have to reset my thinking when speaking with someone in western tack.

                  I might speak with them about the action of the bit, but I don't need to correct their nomenclature.

                  The world won't end if we use words differently.
                  A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    Originally posted by lizathenag View Post
                    I have been giving this a bit of thought as a new boarder where I ride uses an argentine snaffle.

                    I have spent some time in western tack as I was a working cowgirl in the early 70s in Colorado and my Dad grew up on a ranch in CA so we always had western tack when I was a girl.

                    I joined pony club in the early 60s and got my A so I know a bit about English tack.

                    There is different terminology and no one has the one true way.

                    It reminds me of when I was learning French.

                    The verb "demander" in French translates as "to ask". It is not "to demand".

                    The words looks the same but it has different meaning.

                    I think it is ok to let western folks call their jointed mouth bits snaffles. I just have to reset my thinking when speaking with someone in western tack.

                    I might speak with them about the action of the bit, but I don't need to correct their nomenclature.

                    The world won't end if we use words differently.
                    I like this...

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by wendy View Post
                      no, you're not reading for comprehension.
                      look up what a lever is- it's something you use to amplify force. You cannot apply leverage without a fulcrum. If your mouthpiece has a joint and wiggles around the "lever action" of the shank vanishes. No leverage. You can't use the shanks unless the mouthpiece is rigid.
                      A bit with shanks and a jointed mouthpiece is a nonsensical, useless piece of tack. Doesn't matter what you call it.
                      But...with the shanks regardless of mouthpiece does have leverage...from the poll. The chinstrap engages and you have poll pressure. That is the meaning of "leverage" in this case...to me having ridden western for eons and dressage for only 18. In a Pelham, you have poll pressure and it is the same as in an Argentine, both have about 6" shanks and a curved shank, and both can have similar mouthpieces, broken or solid. The longer the shank, the more severe the chin strap.....chain, solid metal (eek) or plain leather, more leverage over the poll.

                      The mouthpiece, shank or lack of, chinstrap or none, all can be milder or severe in heavy hands. I would rather see a mild curb than a twisted wire or square mouth o ring snaffle.

                      I am not a scientist, and fulcrum I get, but I don't see the analogy of jointed vs solid for leverage. With jointed, swivels, etc, you change the movement of the bit, make the cheeks independent or not, different bar, sides of the mouth or tongue pressure but if it is a shanked bit with a chinstrap, you are going have some varying degrees of poll pressure...or leverage.

                      Not being argumentative, but I am not understanding what you are saying, I just can't see it when I look at my bits and headstalls. I am open to it, I just can't come up with the same result.

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by craz4crtrs View Post
                        But...with the shanks regardless of mouthpiece does have leverage...from the poll. The chinstrap engages and you have poll pressure. That is the meaning of "leverage" in this case...to me having ridden western for eons and dressage for only 18. In a Pelham, you have poll pressure and it is the same as in an Argentine, both have about 6" shanks and a curved shank, and both can have similar mouthpieces, broken or solid. The longer the shank, the more severe the chin strap.....chain, solid metal (eek) or plain leather, more leverage over the poll.

                        The mouthpiece, shank or lack of, chinstrap or none, all can be milder or severe in heavy hands. I would rather see a mild curb than a twisted wire or square mouth o ring snaffle.

                        I am not a scientist, and fulcrum I get, but I don't see the analogy of jointed vs solid for leverage. With jointed, swivels, etc, you change the movement of the bit, make the cheeks independent or not, different bar, sides of the mouth or tongue pressure but if it is a shanked bit with a chinstrap, you are going have some varying degrees of poll pressure...or leverage.

                        Not being argumentative, but I am not understanding what you are saying, I just can't see it when I look at my bits and headstalls. I am open to it, I just can't come up with the same result.
                        You are correct. There is still leverage. It gets mixed in with a bunch of other signals, but there is still leverage....on some of these bits, the bit will collapse first, but then you get the leverage anyway. The fulcrum is still the horses lips and bars, and while the lips can move some, the bars are stationary...

                        For those who say, let the "western" folks (I put western in quotes because I learned bitting from a western guy) use the term snaffle, and as one of the rabid "snaffle means action of the bit" people, I'll say again, my primary reason for objecting is the confusion it causes. Too many people associate snaffle with less severe, I see it all the time.....so terminology IS important. Just in the last week, I had to explain bit action to someone that was buying one becasue it was kinder than a "curb"......

                        Now, I will concede that some of these bits do have some potential snaffle action....because they have rings at the mouthpiece and if you put reins there, it would be snaffle action. The bit would them become analogous to the pelham with the combination action.....
                        Turn off the computer and go ride!

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          [QUOTE=foggybok;6484480] Too many people associate snaffle with less severe, I see it all the time.....so terminology IS important. Just in the last week, I had to explain bit action to someone that was buying one becasue it was kinder than a "curb"......QUOTE]

                          If one works in a tack shop, that I suppose it is reasonable to be explaining how things are, however, I believe the rest of us do best to live and let live (unless we are asked of course!).

                          and as we all know, it is the action of the hands, seat and legs (or as Gordon Wright said, the equilibrium) that guide the horse, the bit really doesn't matter that much.
                          A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            No bit

                            I am sure bits are great things, and I always used them on my uncle's horses when I rode all the time when I was young. But my horse is 17, and he has no clue as to what a bit is. In fact, we have done away with the saddle. Now, thanks to a special training I am deeply grateful to, my horse and I are completely comfortable together. I ride him with no saddle and only a halter and lead rope tied on both sides. For our birthdays, he was 17 and I 62, I didn't even put the halter on him. Just jumped on him and said, "Let's walk". Yes, he is voice trained. That night I let him go wherever he wanted....a bit difficult to get him to understand the idea, but he loved it once he did. Normally, he goes where I tell him, and it is usually by weight shift or voice. He is never commanded, only talked to as you would a person.....he picks out the important words, LOL. OK, so I had no idea how to train a horse from birth. But, he has turned out pretty well........even if he may think sometimes that he is a dog! So, I am trying again to let you know there is a new member here.......so far, I think three posts and no answers or welcomes. I think the person who told me about this board must have it mixed up with another. So, probably my last one unless I hear from someone. HAGO, NELL

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              And just to confuse the matter, this is what we call a Tom Thumb in Australia

                              http://www.horseland.com.au/korsteel...affle-bit.html

                              LOL

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by Catnipped View Post
                                And just to confuse the matter, this is what we call a Tom Thumb in Australia

                                http://www.horseland.com.au/korsteel...affle-bit.html

                                LOL
                                That snaffle looks somewhat like some driving bits we used many years ago.

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by Catnipped View Post
                                  And just to confuse the matter, this is what we call a Tom Thumb in Australia

                                  http://www.horseland.com.au/korsteel...affle-bit.html

                                  LOL
                                  I was just going to mention that!

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    Originally posted by Catnipped View Post
                                    And just to confuse the matter, this is what we call a Tom Thumb in Australia

                                    http://www.horseland.com.au/korsteel...affle-bit.html

                                    LOL
                                    I saw my trainer using one of those and had a major wth moment because I'd never seen one before. I'm glad to know what it is now!
                                    Southern Cross Guest Ranch
                                    An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia

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                                    • #58
                                      This kind of makes me think of the great cinch vs girth debate I had with a friend a while back. I'm in the cinch = western and girth = english camp, they were in the girth applies to all camp.

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by craz4crtrs View Post
                                        Any bit is only as mild or as severe as the hands using it.
                                        This is the truest statement posted. I too grew up calling a Tom Thumb a snaffle, because I was taught by old timers, and they based it on the mouthpiece. I know now that it is not, but does it really even matter what we call it?

                                        I get so sick of the fighting. Find a bit or hackamore or whatever that works for your horse and call it Dobbins bit for all that it matters. There are 14 different names for the same bit and it can be used 14 different ways. Light hands and good balance are must haves. The rest is just semantics.
                                        http://community.webshots.com/album/548368465RfewoU[/url]

                                        She may not have changed the stars from their courses, but she loved a good man, and she rode good horses….author unknown

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          "The world won't end if we use words differently." But Liz, it makes communication SO DAMN DIFFICULT!!!!

                                          And FINALLY someone got around to mentioning that part of the leverage in curb/shanked action involves the poll - especially when the curb is used harshly (pulling back on the reins to bring the shanks behind the straight line).

                                          As for snaffles being that soft, kind bit - I rode a sweet large pony a 'few' decades ago, whose jaw had been broken by the nutcracker action(and not set, so you could feel where the bone broke and dislocated) by some big ox who got pi$$ed off at him for who knows what.

                                          THANK you for a great (if occasionally contentious) discussion on (one of) my LEAST FAVORITE contraption(s) - the tom thumb.

                                          Carol
                                          www.ayliprod.com
                                          Equine Photography in the Northeast

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