Trainer's Paddock- Tom Thumb Snaffle Is A Harsh Bit?
People will tell you that a Tom Thumb Snaffle is a very harsh bit because it is a leverage bit. They will tell you because of the broken mouth and the shanks it can be painful for the horse. They will tell you a horse will open their mouth to evade the pressure and pain. All of this is certainly
true, but if you have very soft quiet hands this is not a issue.
For many years people have told me that the Tom Thumb that I use is a harsh and serve bit, but I don't find that to be true. My gelding Omar never had any issues with his Tom Thumb Snaffle. I switch him to that bit from a curb and rode him Western with that bit for 20 years. That was the Western bit I chose for both of my Arabian mares that I trained neither one had any issues. I started both mares training with a plain snaffles of course, but transitioned them to the Tom Thumb. When my sister bought her Paso Fino gelding she found he didn't care for the bit he had been ridden with, so we tried the Tom Thumb and he has been happy with that bit for the last 16 years.
You might notice in the photos neither one of the horses are attempting to evade the bit by opening his or her mouth. They have a lovely head set and are collecting their gaits. Both horses have a pleasant expression on their faces not painful or worried expression.
The truth of the matter is any bit can be harsh in the wrong hands , even the most mild snaffle . The moral of this story is you need to have soft quite hands when you ride and you need to learn how to ride with your seat, legs and hips along with your hands. Remember what counts is what is on the other end of those reins-you.