So my question is: what are the pros and cons of each and which is considered the less "harsh" bit? My pony goes very well in her tom thumb (english) pelham and has no issues with it, but sometimes I get negative remarks from people who only ride in snaffles with their horses.
I use the pelham when we're jumping because she and I are both still a little green and she can get pretty strong and just LEAN on the bit hard, so the pelham helps me as a training tool. In dressage I obviously can't use it, so I just use either an eggbutt french link or a single jointed Dee snaffle. But it takes a looooong time working her on the ground before she stops leaning on that bit, and she still leans on it for balance at the canter.
We're working on the balance issues a lot (with a trainer) but I hate using the snaffle because I feel like I have to make too much contact/get too busy on her mouth, whereas with the pelham I hardly have to ask her so the cues are much much lighter. And yes, whatever I take with the hands, I ask with the legs so I'm not just yanking her head to try to get it in a certain position, I'm just using the reins every now and again to ask her for flexion while I push her forward with seat and legs..I just feel like I have to ask her more often with the snaffle. I'm just afraid if I keep trying to train her in the snaffle she's going to get hard mouthed or something, I don't know...