Tom thumb bit

HorsesRule2009

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Joined
8 September 2009
Messages
594
Hello,

I'm just wondering if you could offer me a bit of advice,
I'm currently working abroad on a yard and have a limited supply of bits.

Im riding a young horse who is a bit strong and un responsive in a snaffle, other than snaffles we have running gags or American gags and a tom thumb.
I don't want to over bit the youngster, is the tom thumb able to be used with the reins attached to the snaffle ring?
Thinking this would be only a small step up from the snaffle.

He's had all checks done and is mainly strong I to a fence, is very plesent the rest of the time.
I'm here to get him jumping so would just like a little bit more adjustment going into a fence.

Thank you for any help
 

Desert_rider

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22 September 2014
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111
I don't know much about Tom Thumbs, but think you can use it with 2 reins like a Pelham and only use the bottom rein when really needed.
 

Shay

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17 August 2008
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7,346
Two issues I can see. It will depend on the mouthpiece you use? Some tom thumbs have a twisted wire or waterford mouthpeice. Not all tom thumbs have a central ring - they are not actually designed to be used with the reins and the cheek piece onto the central ring at the same time and if there is one and you may struggle to have space for both. Even if you do this is not and cannot act as a snaffle bit does because it has shanks. When you apply single rein pressure the mouthpeice will squeeze together pressing the link, twist, roller or whatever into the roof of the horse's mouth and pinching the lips. Even if you can find a way to prevent the leverage action coming into play it is still a harsh bit. It is actually best used as designed with two reins and a sympathetic experienced rider. I wouldn't really want it on a youngster.

Is there no way to further his education so that he will respond better to a snaffle? If you are using rein aids only and not body / seat aids can you refine those - for you and him - to regain control and rideability? What about voice aids or indirect pressure (such as teaching him to come back to a neck strap or a whistle) ? If your supply of bits is limited does your snaffle actually fit him?
 

HorsesRule2009

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Joined
8 September 2009
Messages
594
Hello,
Thank you for the replies.

When just generally riding he comes back with the use of seat and leg and very little rein pressure.
I have been working on this a lot but as soon as he realises we're jumping it doesn't have as much of an effect.
Yes the snaffle his in fits well but is a single joint and I feel this is part of the problem.
The Tom thumb we have is like this
https://www.thehorsebitshop.co.uk/product.php?xProd=344
 

awelshandawarmblood

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Joined
15 December 2018
Messages
718
Location
Wales
I personally love nothing more than a good old snaffle & will always have something with a lozenge so it sits nicer in the mouth, could you try one of them maybe? Does he just get strong & tank? Cross his jaw? Throw his head? I don't know much about tom thumbs other than a friend uses one on her 17.2hh WB to stop him bolting :oops: Which suggests its a pretty strong bit of kit. Mine used to be strong to a jump but I took it back doing lots of pole work & circling around fences popping them occasionally in trot so that eventually he never expected when faced with a fence that he was jumping it, he's more patient now & waits to be told. The only thing I ever change now is it the noseband to a grackle when on fun rides & the like as he crossed his jaw when excited. Hopefully someone with more bitting experience can help.
 

alexomahony

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Joined
12 January 2015
Messages
700
Hi OP

I often use this bit for hunting and use it with double reins, rarely touching the bottom one. All the horses I try it in seem to do very well in it, it really helped me to encourage my Welsh Cob learn to balance more in the canter rather than run on. I think, for what you want to use it for it will work well.

You can give it a go, it won't ruin the horses mouth forever if it doesn't help - just stay aware of what's in it's mouth and have quiet hands :)
 
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