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Pelham with Roundings - Curb Chain or Not?

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  • Pelham with Roundings - Curb Chain or Not?

    So, in my never ending search for the perfect bit, I've twice tried a mullen mouth Happy Mouth pelham. Both times I used roundings (converters) and a curb chain. Both times I really liked the bit - right up to the point where my guy started curling so much I couldn't see his ears (about 10 minutes into the schooling session). That's not good when galloping across country with jumps that don't fall down. But that's been our problem - curling. Could it be the curb chain leverage that he's trying to escape? Can one effectively use a pelham without the curb chain?

    As an aside, I'm moving on to a waterford full cheek or baucher. I have both but am not sure which, if either, will have a more lifting effect.

  • #2
    A pelham without the curb chain is also known as a mullen mouth snaffle. Nothing wrong with it, but it's vastly different in its effect.

    Horses that curl under with a pelham are trying to avoid the curb action. You can ride with the curb chain looser, or you can use the bit properly, with two reins, and just keep the curb rein quite loose and only "deploy" it when necessary. However, some horses become wise to the pelham, worry, and curl.

    IMO the use of bit converters with a pelham turns a reasonably good bit with lots of options and potential for subtlety into basically a Kimberwicke. And there's nothing WRONG with a Kimberwicke, but subtle they ain't.

    Have you tried a Myler combination bit? LOVE them, and I typically loathe "gadget" bits. I have a (pink!) plastic-mouthed pelham that gets pulled out about twice a year when Bonnie forgets that her big head is HER responsibility to carry around, but don't like how it makes her curl--a learned response that tells me it's too much for her. At first the pelham was MAGIC for her but she's more educated now and it's just more than she needs except in rare, remedial situations.

    I can ride her on the flat in a loose ring french-link snaffle, and also in SJ, but for XC I really like the Myler level 1 combination bit, the one with only two rings (found in the western section) because it acts just like a snaffle--no curb or nose action--unless SHE decides to pull.
    Click here before you buy.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by deltawave View Post

      IMO the use of bit converters with a pelham turns a reasonably good bit with lots of options and potential for subtlety into basically a Kimberwicke. And there's nothing WRONG with a Kimberwicke, but subtle they ain't.
      A little off topic, but does anyone run xc in a pelham with two reins? I thought about it for five seconds then imagined all the ways that could go wrong!
      The big guy: Lincoln

      Southern Maryland Equestrian

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Deltawave: Ever try a crescent nose band? It seems that it, too, creates pressure on the nose when they start to pull too hard. My worry with that is that with no flash there is nothing to keep the mouth closed. Wouldn't this allow the horse to evade the bit? I do like the concept of getting rid of the leverage. BTW, he does the same thing in a 3 ring when using the second ring.

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        • #5
          What about something like this? They come with different mouthpieces...

          http://www.bitofbritain.com/Wonder_B...ink_p/1060.htm
          Balanced Care Equine

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          • #6
            I don't really like the converters. The whole point is to have the curb when you need it and the snaffle when you don't. A converter makes the bit a lot less subtle and harsher.
            .

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            • #7
              I have found the step up to a 2 ring or a kimberwicke a big one. Which is why I like my in between steps, because not every horse that doesnt listen well enough to a snaffle on xc needs a big step up in bit. I hate the feeling of riding a horse in too much bit, at first Im all "yay he stops" but then I feel like I cant ride them into a contact and they arent looking for the fences.

              Cherry roller - horses who hate thick bits wont like it, but I like it for horses who grab the bit, but generally dont use their whole neck as a lever against you.

              Wonder bit - snaffle not enough, elevator too much, this is in between. Feels like a snaffle in your hands, but just with a little lift that doesnt seem to piss off the fussy ones and doesnt seem to curl the evasive ones. My curler goes really well in this bit.

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              • #8
                I have tried most of the gadget nosebands but much prefer not to use them--if they don't fit PERFECTLY they just don't seem to help.

                I have hunted in a pelham with two reins, ages ago, and not had problems. Would prefer not to go XC with two reins but I feel like I'm competent to do so if necessary.
                Click here before you buy.

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                • #9
                  If you can't use a pelham with two reins, then you can't use a pelham. Have you tried a Kineton noseband? They're the bees' knees.
                  Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                  Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                  VW sucks.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Duckz View Post
                    A little off topic, but does anyone run xc in a pelham with two reins? I thought about it for five seconds then imagined all the ways that could go wrong!
                    I have used two reins lots of times, both with a pelham (Happy Mouth mullen mouth....my FAVORITE "big" bit) and with ring bits. I PREFER two reins as I think, as dw said, it gives you lots of options. The best example was a young draft cross mare I was preparing to start hunting one summer. She was a pretty good girl 95% of the time, but had a big heavy shoulder and neck and could get a little heavy. When I would be out with her, especially on fast hunt trail rides, I could ride her almost completely on the snaffle rein, but if she got a little heavy and careless with her feet, I'd pick the curb rein up and "pop" her up with it to remind her how to carry herself, then drop it again. This made for MUCH more pleasant rides, as I'm not terribly big, and if I tried to use dressagey half halts on her while out with a whole herd of horses, galloping along, we'd just wear each other out. Two reins are EXCELLENT.
                    Amanda

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                    • #11
                      I was going to suggest a Kineton. I use mine with a figure-8 which solves the mouth opening issue as well.
                      The Evil Chem Prof

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by amastrike View Post
                        If you can't use a pelham with two reins, then you can't use a pelham.
                        You should probably let Mark Todd know he cant use a pelham then.

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          I have used the wonder/loop ring/wilkie with a french link and it is great except for the no breaks part. He won't tolerate a single joint, thus the link. Actually, that's probably where I'm going to end up but it would be nice to have an emergency break if I need it. Anyone ever seen this with a Dr. Bristol?
                          Last edited by tlw; May. 19, 2011, 11:37 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bobthehorse View Post
                            You should probably let Mark Todd know he cant use a pelham then.
                            Presumably he is able to use a pelham with two reins, but the action of one rein on roundings is right for the horse, in which case fine. There's a difference between being unable to use two reins and choosing not to.
                            Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                            Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                            VW sucks.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bobthehorse View Post
                              Wonder bit - snaffle not enough, elevator too much, this is in between. Feels like a snaffle in your hands, but just with a little lift that doesnt seem to piss off the fussy ones and doesnt seem to curl the evasive ones. My curler goes really well in this bit.
                              A "wonder bit" is an elevator.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                We tried out a full cheek waterford (with keepers) today and it seems like it may just fill the bill. He wasn't fussy and let me ride him into contact; so much so that we could almost canter in place coming into combinations (as long as I kept my leg on so he knew what I was asking) but if I softened a couple of strides out he found his own perfect spot and jumped right out of stride. I think we may have a winner!

                                BTW we used a figure 8 and not a crescent so there is always a little room left if I find out that we need an emergency brake. Today, though, he never got strong. Probably because he wasn't trying to run away from a bit he didn't like. Both of us are happy boys tonight.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Montanas_Girl View Post
                                  A "wonder bit" is an elevator.
                                  Well technically they are all gags. But no, a wonder bit/wilkie/beval is a a loosering with fixed rein and cheek. An elevator/3 ring/pessoa bit has external rings for a longer lever.

                                  ETA link http://www.bitofbritain.com/Wonder_B...ink_p/1060.htm

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