• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Talk to me about - Kimberwick, Pelham or Tom Thumb

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Talk to me about - Kimberwick, Pelham or Tom Thumb

    My riding instructor has told me to either get a jointed Kimberwick, Pelham or Tom Thumb bit for my gelding. I had been riding him in a plain jointed snaffle bit but he began to take off with me so last week my instructor brought over his jointed Pelham and my horse listened a lot better. Before anyone starts flaming me about harsh bits, etc. I want you to know my full intentions are to work thru his bolting right now with a different bit then my main goal is to go back to the snaffle bit and ideally a hackamore. I ride my mare exclusively in a hackamore so I really don't know a lot about the bits mentioned so any information on these would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    think one thing that you should be looking at BEFORE switching bits is why did he take off? A lot of times people automatically switch bits as an answer to a training issue that doesn't really have to do with the bit at all.

    If it is truly a bit issue there is usually a snaffle that can get you through it. If you don't know much about bits, then I would be cautious about putting a harsher curb in his mouth as you may do more damage than any good. You need to know how to properly use a Kimberwick or Pelham as they have curb chains which run under the chinstrap and if you don't know how to properly adjust them, then you could be asking for even more trouble.

    There is usually a snaffle for just about every use and I have always tried to use snaffles as opposed to curbs.

    You don't say what kind of snaffle you are using so it's hard to give advice as to which one to try but your trainer knows your horse obviously better than me in cyberspace so I'm not trying to say you're trainer is wrong by any means. I would say have a talk with your trainer about the benefits of using a curb as opposed to switching to another snaffle. They come on all sorts of weights and mouths so it could be that your trainer thinks that having the shanks like a pelham or tom thumb would benefit your horse by putting pressure on the outside of his mouth giving you a bit more steering control. If that's the case then there are full cheek snaffles that have shanks.

    Jointed bits are more severe than a straight bar bit or a ported bit because when the jointed bit is used, the two pieces end up creating a point in the horse's mouth that ends up pressing the tongue or roof of the mouth putting direct pressure to a certain spot whereas a straightbar bit has a more even pressure over the mouth. The ported bits are harsher than the starightbars because they also put direct pressure at a certain point but the pressure is less severe because the rest of the bit absorbs and distributes some of the pressure.

    Many people think incorrectly that a jointed bit is less severe because the joint makes it look forgiving but the truth is that unless you know how the joint piece actually works, it is a misconception. People will look at a straight bar bit and see just a solid piece of metal that isn't flexible like the jointed bits but what they don't understand is that when that joint is initiated, it becomes a poker and really, who wants a piece of metal jabbing them in their tongue or mouth?

    With that said, double jointed bits are less severe than the single jointed bits because the bit "breaks" in 2 places causing a more "rounded" action.

    Play with some jointed bits and think about how that would feel in your mouth. It truthfully could be that your horse does need a different bit because of the way your's is hitting him but I would try different snaffles first before switching to a curb, IMHO.

    Another thing to look at before switching bits is tack issues. If your saddle doesn't fit properly it may be causing him pain that he thinks he should run away from. Remember horses only know to run away from potential pain so really look at saddle and girth fit too. Also make sure your bridle has his bit sitting properly. a lot of times we tack up using the same stuff over and over again leaving it buckled at the same spots and we don't think about the changes their bodies go through. Is his bit sitting where it should? How many wrinkles does his buckled bit create? Is his noseband tight enough to slip only one finger through or can you stick your whole hand through it? Does the crownpiece sit comfortably behind his ears?

    Also, when was the last time you had his teeth done? It may be that he needs some dental stuff done too. That can cause all sort sof pain through his poll neck and back that you aren't aware of and could be an underlying cause of his bolting.

    And lastly, when he bolts, are you 100% positive that you aren't doing something to initiate his response? Perhaps your outside leg is swinging where your trainer can't see it- happens more than people realize because the trainer is usually inside the center of the ring and doesn't get to see what your outside body is doing so there is the possibility that you could be causing him to bolt in order to get away from what you are doing.

    These are all things that I would seriously look into before sticking a harsher bit in my horse's mouth. My goal as a rider is to keep my horse's mouth soft and sometimes people tend to over react when a horse does something and immediately think it's a bit issue when it's really more than that. Bits are usually the first thing that gets changed because everyone assumes its the horse's fault when actually it's a response to something that the rider has or has not done, including tack issues.

    Hope some of this helps. I'm sure others will have different opinions but I try to always ride in a snaffle and since your goal is a hackamore, I'd seriously look into other options before going the curb route.


    • #3
      kimberwick w/ curb chain and single rein on the bottom slot.

      I use a low port solid kimber with my guy when we go tot he beach. He thinks he's Secretariat when i let him run, and i have to stand straight up in the stirrups and crank his face to my knee to stop him.


      • #4
        I don't like Kimberwickes because they are pretty much a stop/go bit with nothing in between. Years ago, when I got a new "schoolmaster" type eventer who was VERY strong on cross country AND had a short, thick neck, I briefly used a Tom Thumb. Now...there are disagreements about what is a "Tom Thumb" and I do NOT mean the broken mouth short shanked semi-western versions. I used a short shanked rubber mullen mouthed pelham - pretty much what I always understood to be a "Tom Thumb." At least with a double-reined pelham you can modify the curb effect and use the snaffle rein when the horse behaves, leaving the curb rein for "emergency brakes" if necessary. You don't really have that option with the Kimberwicke, and a broken-mouth kimberwick is quite severe.


        • #5
          pelham, I have a mullen pelham that I need to try on my boy, he works great at home in his level 1 myler, and his other snaffles single and double jointed but at shows he can get cranky leaving his buddy and needs a bit of help to refocus on me and his job.

          after the last show where we were the ones that I am sure all other riders were trying to avoid due to his "need for speed" (we had steering but he did not want to settle down) I borrowed a jointed kimberwick from a friend since his antics "worked so well" at the show he decided to try it at home and all I needed to do was lightly touch him at the trot for him to decide that it was not a good idea. But the kimberwick was to much for him at the canter so I think that the pelham with two reins and a short shank would be so much better for him.

          nothing had changed tack wise from his schooling that week and he unloaded relaxed and he was calm and happy tied to the trailer but when he and his buddy went to the ring he got pissy.

          sorry for the novel, just pointing out that sometimes a horse that goes well in a snaffle at home might need a tad more at some times and to try new bits at home because a new bit might not seem like much but for the horse be more than they need.


          • #6
            I used to ride a very nice little mare whose main fault was that she like to pull, particularly in the great out of doors. We used to use a kimberwicke, which we liked because if I was quiet with my hands, it wasn't a big deal, but if she pulled, it was kind of self-enforcing. And we set it on the gentlest slot (sorry, my terminology is hopelessly wrong, I could show someone better than tell them.)
            I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
            I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


            • #7
              Get a new instructor. Both those bits are shortcuts and quite frankly crap bits. You need a trainer to TRAIN and TEACH suggest short cuts and quick fixes.


              • #8
                A Pelham can actually be a very useful bit on the right horse and in the right hands. If you are interested in learning about this, I would recommend Heather Moffett's book, "Enlightened Equitation". You can also check out her web site www.enlightenedequitation.com

                However, it does not sound like your hands are educated enough to use one correctly. In the wrong hands, this bit can be down right dangerous.

                I agree w/the poster(s) that say that it sounds like your trainer is just looking for a short cut.

                I too would recommend having you and your horse assessed by another trainer.
                Show me your horse and I will tell you who you are.


                • #9
                  I also agree w/the poster(s) that say that it sounds like your trainer is just looking for a short cut.

                  I too would recommend having you and your horse assessed by another trainer.

                  How much time do you devote to groundwork and helping your horse to listen to you on the ground? I've seen some great things happen between horses and humans when they both go back to square one on the ground. Makes for some changes in routine and gives ya both a firmer connection. JMHO.
                  Be kind to the animals for they are the True Innocents!
                  True Innocents Equine Rescue: www.tierrescue.org
                  Join us on Facebook!


                  • #10
                    I will respectfully disagree with the other posters who say don't go the way of the kimberwicke/pelham, etc. with the understanding that none of us have seen the OP ride her horse. At face value, if the trainer is decent and if the OP is a decent rider, a stronger bit to stop the bolting is a useful training tool. Why allow the horse to continue to get away from the rider in a snaffle and let a dangerous habit escalate? We can banter back and forth about the OP's legs and seat and why they aren't stopping the bolt but the bottom line is, we just don't know.

                    Back in 1979 at Foxcroft in Middleburg Mad Mags, the head instructor would NEVER allow a beginning student to ride in a snaffle. In her barn she wanted her school horses to have one tug on the rein and understand the riders que. Only the advanced students were allowed to ride the horses in snaffles because they rode on contact and would not deaden the horses mouths.

                    Just sharing some food for thought from one old school.....

                    To the OP- a Kimberwicke has one rein and if you purchase one w/ slots on the "D" ring you can keep the rein in the lower opening which gives you more leverage. Pelhams have two reins- one for the snaffle action on the horse's lips and one rein for leverage. The length of the shank determines how strong the pelham is. Adding a correctly fitted curb chain to either bit adds more power to the bit which requires sensitve hands on the riders part. An attachment for the pelham bit which allows you to use only one rein is available. The poster "onelove" did give you some excellent, excellent avenues to also explore.


                    • #11
                      I think you and your horse need to go back to the basics. This horse needs to be taught from the ground what whoa means all over again. Only then can you return to riding. And when you return to riding if the bolt is still there, then yes, I would agree with bitting up for a short time only. I'd prefer a metal mullen mouth pelham with a curb chain or a Dr. Bristol as I think a jointed pelham or tom thumb would hit the horse in the roof of the mouth. You would use a stronger bit to re-install the one-rein stop (one hand down on the neck, the other straight up and back towards your bicep), then gradually go back to the milder snaffles.


                      • #12
                        Do be prepared to ride with a bit looser rein if you move up in bit, I rode in the kimberwick exactly 3 times to make the point, twice just walk trot and once w/t/c, that was all he needed to decide that he better be a good boy.

                        I just like the pelham so that I can use the snaffle action and have the curb action as back up. I have an elevator that I am thinking of trying but since it is not show legal I am thinking of just sticking with the pelham (after I try it).


                        • #13
                          Of the three, I prefer a pelham simply because you have the option of riding on the direct rein (at least somewhat like your regular bit) and only using the curb rein when absolutely needed.

                          That said, a jointed-mouth pelham is not a particularly mild bit. A soft rubber mullen, thick ported mouth, and maybe even a regular mullen mouth might also be options. Or leaving the curb chain a little loose.