bankaway asked in PetsHorses · 9 years ago

Looking for specific bit to fit my horse?

Have been looking online for hours

Need a specific style bit, 4 3/4" mouth, cooper, french link snaffle, 2 - 2 1/2" shank, tom thumb, suggestions? I have seen so many - nothing like the one I have found that works on my mare (borrowed to try). Suggestions of bit companies? have been through dover, stateline tack, snyders, other recommendations? Thank you


Dear Gallup: Can you suggest a bit for my very small mouth morab mare? She liked this bit (no french link, I added that I as not a fan of most snaffles as they will punch into the top of her smaller mouth at the top. She is not ready for a curb bit. Snaffle is OK but some leverage is good. I am looking for something of higher quality but now over $100. So many new bits do not have good machine and hand finishing. Thank You. You seem to be the right person to answer this question

4 Answers

  • gallop
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    A bit with shanks is not a snaffle. What you are describing is a 2-2 1/2 inch swivel shank french link jointed copper mouth curb bit.

    It is a misnomer to call the western cowboy Tom Thumb curb bit a snaffle. The designers thought that a jointed mouthpiece was what defined a bit as a snaffle, but that isn't the case. A snaffle bit aligns the corners of the mouth directly in line with with the rein attachment, and is the only design that can function correctly with a jointed mouthpiece.

    I've never seen a cowboy Tom Thumb ("snaffle") curb bit with a French link mouthpiece. Unfortunately, a French link isn't going to improve the confusing communication or allow proper function of the leverage of this bit. The shanks act as lever arms, and in order to function properly, they have to pivot on a solid fulcrum (mouthpiece). That function is not possible with this bit since the fulcrum collapses when the lever arms are rotated backward. It puts the horse's mouth into a vice and delivers uneven and pinching, painful signals that can only confuse the horse.


    Add........................ I think a full cheek snaffle might work well for you. Myler makes one with ergonomic design that your horse may find comfortable and respond well to.. Here it is, and it comes in a 4 3/4 inch mouth size.


    The hooks mentioned are slits in the dees that allow you to attach the reins in a fixed position which will provide some poll and mouth leverage, but I don't recommend using them.

    Used with bit keepers (bit loops) attaching the upper cheek arms to the bridle cheeks, the bit is stabilized to prevent forward rotation. Here is a photo of one being used with leather keepers..........

    You can use this bit with or without keepers, depending on what your horse does best with. The full cheeks provide lateral stability to prevent side to side movement of the mouthpiece as well as adding clear signal for direct lateral rein cues. For example, when the right rein is engaged, the left side of the muzzle receives pressure from the full cheek arm, "pushing" the nose to the right. Many horses prefer the stability and clear signal of a full cheek snaffle, and since there is no leverage, it is an appropriate bit for training and use of independent signal to either side of the mouth, and direct lateral rein cues.

    Jointed snaffles are designed to be used with independent, alternating signals delivered to one side of the mouth at a time, and both reins should never be engaged simultaneously which is what will cause a "nutcracker effect".


    Direct lateral rein cues can't be applied on leverage bits since the bit will twist in the mouth and the signal will be opposite to what is desired. A western horse has to be neck reined in a leverage bit, and an English horse requires a double bridle with both curb reins and snaffle reins for direct lateral reining.

    When a horse is correctly progressed from the snaffle to refined work in a leverage bit, the leverage is only engaged in the very beginning while the horse learns to respond to the vibratory signal delivered from the reins through the shanks. The longer and more curved back the shanks, the more advance signal there will be, allowing more time for the horse to respond BEFORE leverage force is engaged. An educated, finished horse never requires engaging of that force since the horse responds instantly to feather light vibrations delivered through the shanks.

    When a curb (leveraged) bit has short shanks such as those of the D bar on a Kimberwicke or a 2 inch Tom Thumb, there is almost no time for advance signal, so that leverage force is usually being engaged before the horse responds. If the horse is well trained to respond to body aids so that the bit is the last and least of the aids applied, then it is less of an issue.

    Source(s): 59 years with horses and lifetime study of bits and leverage devices
  • 9 years ago

    Yep...nothing with a shank can be called a snaffle. A snaffle bit is seen as the kindest because for every pound of pressure you assert with your hands, your horse only feels a pound of pressure in the mouth.

    With a 2 1/2 inch shank, for every pound of pressure you assert with your hands, the horse feels 2 1/2 pounds of pressure in its mouth, so the pressure can get very harsh very quickly...NOT something any snaffle is designed for.

    I would go to a decent saddler and discuss this with them and also a trainer if you can as they will be able to watch you ride and see better what the horse needs and will respond best to.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    If its any help, i was looking for something with a lozenge in it, like a french link made from copper to help them salivate!

    In the end, i heard about the Myler Bits and bought one which has D Rings to aid with steering without being too long and goofy on their face! It has a copper roller lozenge in the middle that moves and helps them to salivate etc. The actual D Rings twist aswell to help teach the horse to learn more obviously with the turning. The bit is also ported in the middle to help make room for horses with small mouths and big tongues!

    They are supposed to be brilliant for young horses with kind, soft mouths.

    Called a Myler Comfort Snaffle and there are many different types-mine being with the copper lozenge.

    Hope that helps you?

  • 9 years ago

    Go to a tack shop, explain what your horse is like, tell them what bit you've been told to get and ask for a bit they would recommend if they would recommend something else. They can find exactly what you need and order it for you.

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