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View Full Version : Pelhams in the Eq ring..why?



wcporter
Oct. 31, 2011, 10:42 PM
It seems that 90% of the eq horses I see in the showring wear pelhams and I have hard time believing that they all need that type of bit. Then again...I guess in retrospect, none of them seem unhappy in a pelham.

So, is this a trend or something else?

BTW, this isn't supposed to rile anyone up and is merely just my curiosity.

As always, you guys are my horse encyclopedia :)

Due's Mom
Oct. 31, 2011, 11:02 PM
Personally, unless a horse is absolutely perfect in a snaffle, I want them in a pelham. It is easier to collect them and there is no lugging or pulling by the sheer nature of the bit. In the right hands it can help keep a fussy horse a bit more rideable...jmho

It has been my bit of choice since I was 12 years old.

Mayaty02
Nov. 1, 2011, 07:14 AM
I think it's mostly a trend.... but there are people on here who will argue it's easier to collect the big warmblood type which is why they are so common now - I wouldn't know, haven't ridden in a pelham in about 30 yrs. I fully agree with you, I'm sure 75% of them don't need it, but it's the trend... and you will see those who do double duty in the hunters going great in a snaffle in hunters and then switch into a pelham for eq. It's part of the "look" nowadays.

SaturdayNightLive
Nov. 1, 2011, 07:32 AM
Personally, unless a horse is absolutely perfect in a snaffle, I want them in a pelham. It is easier to collect them and there is no lugging or pulling by the sheer nature of the bit. In the right hands it can help keep a fussy horse a bit more rideable...jmho

It has been my bit of choice since I was 12 years old.

Then you have been very poorly taught. Collection doesn't come from the bit.

As for the original question - I'm sure there are many reasons. It is probably partly a trend, but it is also about the subtlety of the ride. Watch this year's USEF Medal Final - that course was a beast. A pelham would have gone a long ways toward making that course just a little smoother.

Unless of course the pelham was in the mouth of a horse that wasn't perfectly taught in a snaffle. Correct carriage of the bridle is taught, not inherent, and slapping a bigger bit on a poorly trained horse doesn't improve the horse any.

MHM
Nov. 1, 2011, 08:55 AM
I think it's mostly a trend.... but there are people on here who will argue it's easier to collect the big warmblood type which is why they are so common now

Especially when you remember that many of those big, heavy, 1200 pound warmbloods are ridden by a little slip of a teenage girl who barely weighs 100 pounds dripping wet. Some of those kids might need a little leverage.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong. Just a fact.

Lucassb
Nov. 1, 2011, 09:46 AM
The pelham allows the rider to be a bit more subtle, usually. Having the bit of extra leverage with the curb can definitely make it a bit easier to keep the horse in the shape you want (obviously combined with the appropriate leg, etc... a pelham is just a bit, not a magic wand.)

My horse has brakes a reining horse would be proud of and is very well broke, but I often use a pelham in the eq because i like being able to wiggle my little pinky the tiniest bit if I need to make an adjustment to smoothly change his step. And I promise I am no "slip of a girl," LOL.

He goes great in a dee ring snaffle for the hunters where I can let him stay on one canter all the way around the course without needing to answer any question other than, "how pretty is his jump?"

Silk
Nov. 1, 2011, 09:46 AM
Trend? I think not. It has been a bit of choice in the eq ring fro decades, and until the 90's, the bit of choice in the hunter ring also. It is a lovely bit for many horses when used correctly. Many of the top eq horses have higher level dressage training, and were likely used to a double bridle. A pelham's action is most likely closest to the double bridle's action and quite useful in maneuvering a good eq course :)

findeight
Nov. 1, 2011, 09:58 AM
Trends are short term fads driven by appearance. The pelham has been a go to bit for bigger fences forever-or since they quit using a double bridle anyway.

I watched about 20 or 30 middle of the pack rounds of the Medal last week. At least half of them were in dee ring snaffles-who knows what was inside-but would have been greatly improved by more bit, specifically a pelham.

They were having problems keeping them packaged off the corners and after landing a spread or to a roll backs...and a few did not listen in the long to short and simply ate the short out fence.

Subtle use of more bit over big fences in small, spooky rings produces a much higher scoring trip then obvious use of too light a bit on a horse that does not want to listen. You can only do so much at home to prep them for somthing like this.

I don't know about anybody else but I don't see the Jumpers at anything over 3' rated levels doing it in plain snaffles either.

Due's Mom
Nov. 1, 2011, 12:33 PM
Then you have been very poorly taught. Collection doesn't come from the bit.

As for the original question - I'm sure there are many reasons. It is probably partly a trend, but it is also about the subtlety of the ride. Watch this year's USEF Medal Final - that course was a beast. A pelham would have gone a long ways toward making that course just a little smoother.

Unless of course the pelham was in the mouth of a horse that wasn't perfectly taught in a snaffle. Correct carriage of the bridle is taught, not inherent, and slapping a bigger bit on a poorly trained horse doesn't improve the horse any.

No I haven't been poorly taught and I am sorry that my rather short answer gave you that impression. I like to have a very light feel on a horse's mouth and I want them to be responsive without trying to pull through my hands. I prefer a much lighter contact than the average rider. I understand and do practice that it all comes from behind, so please do not assume that I am just "bitting my horse up"

A pelham is not a "bigger" bit it is merely a bit for a more educated hand. In the right hands a pelham can be a wonderful aid and I can get a horse to do more things in a pelham correctly than the average person can do in a snaffle. Many times I can work a horse in a pelham for a short while and then put it back into a snaffle and find a much more responsive and lighter horse. Most of the horses that I get have been ridden in snaffles and because of the way they have been ridden by their ex owners tend to be pretty dead in the mouth.

On this level of eq rider I am sure they utilize a pelham very much like I do and have found that if you learn how to use one properly that you can be amazed at the responsiveness of your horse.

Rel6
Nov. 1, 2011, 01:15 PM
I don't know about anybody else but I don't see the Jumpers at anything over 3' rated levels doing it in plain snaffles either.

I feel like I was seeing more snaffles in the GPs a year or two ago. I remember it was not that uncommon to see an upper level jumper in a magazine or article going in a loose ring/figure eight.

Now I'm seeing more and more of those long-shanked hackmore/eggbutt combos.

ponyjumper525
Nov. 1, 2011, 03:15 PM
I don't know about anybody else but I don't see the Jumpers at anything over 3' rated levels doing it in plain snaffles either.


My trainer is a big user of snaffles and our horses are shown in the 4' jumpers, hunter derbies, etc at AA shows in full cheek snaffles

:)

I think that it's not the bit, but how the horse is trained and the level of the rider. Señor McLain Ward was riding Antares F in a loose ring snaffle at the Pan Ams!

supershorty628
Nov. 1, 2011, 04:49 PM
I think that it's not the bit, but how the horse is trained and the level of the rider. Señor McLain Ward was riding Antares F in a loose ring snaffle at the Pan Ams!

I disagree, and can't stand when people say this. As an example, do you think Hickstead isn't trained well or that Eric Lamaze isn't an amazing rider? I would say a plain snaffle is the exception, not the norm, in the bigger jumpers.

There are a few people on here who know my mare personally and can back me up that while she is lovely on the flat and over fences, you would NOT want to jump her around a big track in a snaffle, no matter who you are! ;)

Back to the original topic, as Lucassb said, a pelham affords a degree of subtlety that may/not be there with a snaffle.

pm59
Nov. 1, 2011, 05:05 PM
I like the adjustability you get from a pelham. I love the fact that MY tiny( 45lb) daughter gets just that extra bit of leverage in the corners with her small pony in a pelham, I HATE that people tell us we will get knocked "HARD" for using it
:( but in the end if it is used correctly that is all that matters. Hunters are expected to maintain one pace around a course, Eq horses are asked to answer questions around a course, the pelham helps the rider and the horse answer the questions.

rabicon
Nov. 1, 2011, 05:17 PM
I believe that each horse is different and need different things in their mouth. My dressage horse goes in a snaffle, and my twh trail horse goes in more of a walking horse shank style bit. He's a great boy with great manners but my husband likes to ride with loose reins on the buckle and voice command, if needed its the lightest touch to the reins and the horse is responsive. I'm sure he could go in something lighter but this is what he was in when we got him and he was a little crazy, now that he is well trained and calm we haven't changed it just use a very light touch if needed. Also had a barrel horse that was amazing on the flat and on trails was great. Could go in a snaffle and usually did but put a barrel in front of him his job took over and I would use a 3 ring elevator gag on him. Sounds horrible but there was no fighting because a light touch and it just let him remember that its not all about how he wants to do it but I'm up here to and need the ride I ask for. I believe some horses brains just get so amped up that they could have amazing training but they know their job is to jump or do barrels etc... and that takes over. They don't care about the smoothness we want they just want to do it so some horses need a little extra so a light easy touch is all you need instead of ranking them in the mouth. In the right hands most bits are gentle enough, its the wrong hands that make the bad.

Ammy Owner
Nov. 1, 2011, 05:25 PM
I think that it's not the bit, but how the horse is trained and the level of the rider. Señor McLain Ward was riding Antares F in a loose ring snaffle at the Pan Ams!

That is actually not true at all. There are plenty of horses ridden by fantastic riders that need a different bit and it has nothing to do with the level of rider or how the horse is trained. You are doing your horses and yourself a disservice if EVERYTHING in your barn goes in the same bit (snaffle, pelham, or otherwise)

ToTheNines
Nov. 1, 2011, 05:47 PM
Because they will not allow a Myler with hooks? No kidding, on some horses, that is a really nice bit. I wish it were not considered "unconventional".

wcporter
Nov. 1, 2011, 08:37 PM
The pelham allows the rider to be a bit more subtle, usually. Having the bit of extra leverage with the curb can definitely make it a bit easier to keep the horse in the shape you want (obviously combined with the appropriate leg, etc... a pelham is just a bit, not a magic wand.)

My horse has brakes a reining horse would be proud of and is very well broke, but I often use a pelham in the eq because i like being able to wiggle my little pinky the tiniest bit if I need to make an adjustment to smoothly change his step. And I promise I am no "slip of a girl," LOL.

He goes great in a dee ring snaffle for the hunters where I can let him stay on one canter all the way around the course without needing to answer any question other than, "how pretty is his jump?"

This makes a lot of sense.

Thanks everyone, for your two cents; I always come away from threads like this considering things I hadn't before! :yes:

cadance
Nov. 1, 2011, 09:28 PM
there are some pretty crazy ideas posted here about using the lever action of a bit to help collect a horse, and make it a more manageable ride. proper movement and responsiveness to the aids shouldn't have much to do with bit choice.

supershorty628
Nov. 1, 2011, 10:09 PM
there are some pretty crazy ideas posted here about using the lever action of a bit to help collect a horse, and make it a more manageable ride. proper movement and responsiveness to the aids shouldn't have much to do with bit choice.

:lol: Responsiveness to the hands sure does. You really mean that you'll get the same reaction in the same amount of time using a rubber snaffle versus a double bridle? For some reason, I doubt it.

bascher
Nov. 1, 2011, 10:18 PM
That is actually not true at all. There are plenty of horses ridden by fantastic riders that need a different bit and it has nothing to do with the level of rider or how the horse is trained. You are doing your horses and yourself a disservice if EVERYTHING in your barn goes in the same bit (snaffle, pelham, or otherwise)

I agree with this completely. Part of training/riding a horse is knowing what makes them go best and knowing how to make their best attributes come forward.

Hauwse
Nov. 2, 2011, 08:30 AM
I personally think choosing bits is part science, part art, and those that are very bit knowledgeable will find the best bit for the horse and rider based on the circumstances they have to perform under.

I think on a certain level in the EQ less is or should be more. Bits can be used to mask some training issue's or rider failings short term, but at the same time a rider who does not know how to use a bit that demands more respect can be just as disadvantaged as a rider or horse that has training gaps.

I think if you went into an EQ class sans bridle and navigated the course flawlessly you would surely be rewarded, but I also think if you use a pelham, and exhibit that you understand the bit, can execute subtly, with soft hands, and the horse is comfortable and happy in the bit with you riding you should also be rewarded.

At the end of the day a bit is only as good as the person holding the reins, it is totally useless if you cannot use it properly, so in general there is not great advantage in using a bit that demands more respect of the horse if the rider does not understand, respect, and understand when, how, why to employ the special functions of the bit.

S A McKee
Nov. 2, 2011, 08:43 AM
Trend? I think not. It has been a bit of choice in the eq ring fro decades, and until the 90's, the bit of choice in the hunter ring also. It is a lovely bit for many horses when used correctly. Many of the top eq horses have higher level dressage training, and were likely used to a double bridle. A pelham's action is most likely closest to the double bridle's action and quite useful in maneuvering a good eq course :)

I went back, way back and looked at pics from the 60's.70's 80's. Most hunters went in a wing cheek snaffle. Same for the Eq.
But I think long ago people were more apt to choose bits for the horse instead of a fad because in those photos there are a few hunters and eq horse in pelhams and even full bridles.
Back then you even saw running martingales in the hunters.

It makes sense for the huge horses so popular today but people are also using them on anything in the eq ring. It's part fad. Stuff like this has always been 'trendy'.

findeight
Nov. 2, 2011, 10:37 AM
Mistake to assume that what you can see from the outside-the snaffle rings or dees mean there is just a plain old jointed snaffle between them that you can't see. You can get double and even triple twisted wires that fit into a sort of sleeve on each end of the mouthpiece where it joins the ring so they do not show. Studs or chain in the noseband or creative use of piano wire. Not everybody, of course. Just sayin...

Lets just say they ought to drop bridles like they do in the Reiners.:rolleyes:

As ridiculous to assume a rider going well in a pelham is incompetant and the horse poorply trained as it is to assume that snaffle is just a snaffle and the rider extremely talented.

rabicon
Nov. 2, 2011, 12:00 PM
Very true findeight. When I did barrel race before I went to hunters then dressage I saw some horses out with twisted wire and bike chains in their mouths running. Couldn't see it from the outside, just looked like a plain old O ring snaffle. Looks can be decieving ;) Really IMO who cares if its a fad or not. If the horse enjoys the work and goes well in the bit and is ridden from back to front nicely in right hands it really shouldn't matter. Maybe someone wants to put a pelham in their horses mouth because it is a fad, as long as they know how to use the bit and ride the horse correct and the horse is happy then it really doesn't matter. Of course if the horse is a nut about the bit, or the rider doesn't understand the mechanics of riding a horse properly and is yanking their head down with the bit to look collected then there is a problem, but most of the eq riders I see with them use them nicely. I have seen trainwrecks in them but most do a nice job.

cadance
Nov. 2, 2011, 12:10 PM
:lol: Responsiveness to the hands sure does. You really mean that you'll get the same reaction in the same amount of time using a rubber snaffle versus a double bridle? For some reason, I doubt it.

i never said that, i'm saying that you shouldn't have to use a 'harsher' bit to be able to control your horse, or get a certain 'reaction' or head/neck set (which achieves nothing without throughness). it can be used as a tool, but responsiveness to the hands is a result of throughness and suppleness in the body. if the horse isn't listening to your hands, its a sign the horse isn't through or on the aids.

bits shouldn't be used as a shortcut, its not going to help the rider or horse in the long run.

danceronice
Nov. 2, 2011, 12:36 PM
Considering my horse considers jointed metal bits instruments of torture, a rubber mullen pelham IS the gentler option. (If I want subtle control. If I'm just tooling around, rubber mullen dee is all right.)

findeight
Nov. 2, 2011, 12:40 PM
... if the horse isn't listening to your hands, its a sign the horse isn't through or on the aids...

bits shouldn't be used as a shortcut, its not going to help the rider or horse in the long run.


Or a sign of tent stall in a parking lot, no turn out for over a week, 10 minutes of main ring exposure at 2am, limited time in a not that big warm up ring, 30f temp drop in 10 hours, small, spooky ring with echos and a shadowy tunnel entrance from outside full of stout jumps with roll backs and combinations where the horse has to listen or miss?

A pelham properly used when appropriate is no shortcut. Most of these riders are not going to get another chance either-that's their 2 minutes and they need to make it count.

OveroHunter
Nov. 2, 2011, 12:58 PM
The pelham allows the rider to be a bit more subtle, usually. Having the bit of extra leverage with the curb can definitely make it a bit easier to keep the horse in the shape you want (obviously combined with the appropriate leg, etc... a pelham is just a bit, not a magic wand.)

My horse has brakes a reining horse would be proud of and is very well broke, but I often use a pelham in the eq because i like being able to wiggle my little pinky the tiniest bit if I need to make an adjustment to smoothly change his step. And I promise I am no "slip of a girl," LOL.

He goes great in a dee ring snaffle for the hunters where I can let him stay on one canter all the way around the course without needing to answer any question other than, "how pretty is his jump?"

Exactly this. A pelham lets you ask a nicely trained horse very subtly. If you watch a nice EQ round, it's as if their hands never move except to release.