The dreaded Ton Thumb, the US version

Discussion in 'Tack & Equipment' started by GotaDunQH, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. bsaz

    bsaz Senior Member

    Jan 2, 2012
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    No Manes, it is another one of your opinions that cannot be backed up by evidence. Which is why you insult instead of give reasons. After all, I ride that same horse bitless, in a snaffle, in a solid shank curb - and sometimes in a Tom Thumb. So unlike you, I know how he rides, both in the TT and in the O-ring snaffle and in the bitless bridle. He does a little better bitless, but shows no real difference when ridden in the O-ring snaffle versus the TT. Does slightly better in the TT than the Billy Allen, maybe because it fits his mouth slightly better.

    If you can't do it Manes, that is your problem. But it isn't hard.
  2. Lopinslow

    Lopinslow Senior Member

    Mar 21, 2008
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    Not that we "cabt" We just know better than to ride our horses in that crap bit.
  3. zomer

    zomer Senior Member

    Jan 10, 2006
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    I love learning about bits. It's such a science and I'm always finding out new things. I'm seeing that the true TT is crap, for the reasons well stated. But so are many snaffle bits, which I see more abused than curbs. Not that I haven't seen curbs horribly used - I shuddered watching some of the 4h kids at fair this year.... probably need to start a different thread about everyone's favorite bits and why (mechanically) because that's what I would love to hear about. I just bought a rockin s ported snaffle based on a trainers very detailed description of mechanics. Haven't tried it yet but to be honest, I can't tell if my horses 'love' any bit. I mostly trail ride with draped reins these days - so it could just be we don't really use that form of communication well but I'm also curious why and how people think their horses love their bits? I can change from a high port myler curb to a french link snaffle to a blah blah and my guys behave about the same. So honestly curious.
    JStorry likes this.
  4. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

    Dec 27, 2014
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    My mare is easy. She's a drama queen and it's painfully obvious when she's not happy. :rolleyes: She's fussy, her ears are back, she tosses her head, she sucks behind the bit or she clamps onto it. She also bucks, balks and flings one hind leg out periodically.

    Sparky is more normal. But it's also easy to tell with him. If he doesn't like a bit, his jaw is tight and he's not seeking contact but rather avoiding it. He'll respond because he's a good boy but he's not carrying the bit - he's putting up with it. When he's happy in a bit, his jaw and poll are relaxed, he has a light foam around his mouth, his mouth is very soft and supple on the bit, he's seeking contact and responding to a feather-light touch because the bit is carried by him and he can feel my cues almost before I send them.
    ginster and zomer like this.
  5. sherian

    sherian Senior Member

    Mar 12, 2011
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    @zomer most of mine the difference is pretty much as bellalou described. I do have one mare who you simply cannot get the bridle on if she thinks it's the wrong bit - she'll run you over without guilt, if it's her chosen bit she'll drop her head and a 5 yr child could bridle her.
    zomer and mooselady like this.
  6. mooselady

    mooselady Senior Member

    Sep 9, 2012
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    Let’s see, with Gibbs it was changing his bit, mid lesson, we had tried many on him, but put the ball link snaffle on, and he was immediately quiet, giving, happy.

    Fergies journey was more complicated, lots of different snaffles, where she was heavy in the hand and was difficult to ride. Put a curb on her and immediately she was light, and more importantly I was light. When we wanted to start riding in more contact she needed to go back to a snaffle, started with a single joint, she felt downright dangerous in that. Put her in a French link, and that was better. Put her in a loose ring snaffle that had the same mouthpiece as the curb she liked, and she was back to being soft and communication was restored! I thought that maybe she would like the brand new expensive Verbindend I had bought her...NOPE, a good solid no, gaping, leaning, just unhappy, swapped her mid ride back to the loose ring, and once again quiet, steady, just liked the bit.
    kodemiester and zomer like this.
  7. tlwidener

    tlwidener Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2008
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    We have and use a twisted wire junior cowhorse bit. It's a mild gag bit. We actually call it the "get off my hands bit" lol, but truly what it does very well is enable you to encourage a horse to lift the shoulders without lifting the head. We use it on our all around horses from time to time. It's not a daily bit. We switch things up depending on what we're working on. They go in snaffles, low port short shank "baby curb" bits, correction bits, and several different Mylers. A few of our bits are rigged up with bit hobbles to keep shanks from rotating. We've messed around with a bosal on our four year old.

    I've got a Billy Allen around somewhere. I've not had a horse like it. My theory is that it doesn't provide much tongue relief.
  8. reicheru

    reicheru Senior Member

    Jun 25, 2009
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    It had taken Dreamer a long time to ride in anything other than a French link snaffle after her previous owner rode and had crappy riders on her in a TT. She's just okay in a "colt starting" (that's what the seller called it but it reminds me of a butterfly bit) with a dogbone mouthpiece but prefers her FL snaffle and since she isn't showing, it's cool. You can jack up a horse in a hackamore too but there seriously isn't a single redeeming quality to a TT except maybe as a paper weight... and even then, there are better tools for the job.

    For what it's worth, that's my personal experience.
    Larkspade and manesntails like this.
  9. doublelranch

    doublelranch Senior Member

    Oct 13, 2014
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    We have and use a Martha Josey Million Dollar bit. Yes it does look scary and can be in the wrong hands. Using it to direct rein around a barrel, it has very little action and resembles a sidepull. Slowing down from a full gallop, the noseband acts before the bit is engaged giving the horse a pre-signal before the bit is engaged. It has helped tremendously training our young horse as he builds confidence in the barrel pen. Even though we have hauled and shown him since he was 2, he can still be distracted which is not good at high speed. I guess different disciplines have trouble accepting and understanding the uses for the mounds of equipment found in the horse world. An english rider who rides on contact may gasp in horror at a bit we western riders use on a loose rein. A western rider may gasp at constant contact or nosebands. The Million Dollar bit in 'action'.

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    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
  10. Blue-Roan

    Blue-Roan Senior Member

    Aug 31, 2016
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    To me, using a TT is a mark of either ignorance or inexperience. I have never seen any experienced rider or trainer use one. I think that’s for a reason. Sure, with a loose rein most of the time it might not be disastrous, but any contact at all and the terrible mechanics come into play. There are literally thousands of other bits... why choose one that’s so cheap and poorly designed? A three-piece Argentine or swivel port bit is a much better option.

    I used to ride my horse in a Billy Allen but I found a different bit that he much prefers, a Robert “Rafter” bit. It’s basically just a swivel port curb but the port is wider and slightly higher than most, so it gives lots of tongue relief. He’s also pretty good in a three-piece Argentine with short shanks and a copper roller.
    JStorry, tlwidener and kodemiester like this.

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