As some of you know, I've been riding my mare in a ported Pelham as of late and I've been having fantastic results.
Basically, for those who don't know the back story, this mare would be 100% fine and dead calm 95% of the time. During the other 5%, she'd be trying to bolt with me and just basically be uncontrollable. So the Pelham has been a great choice for us since I can ride on the snaffle rein when she's behaving really well and just engage the curb when she's being a brat. She's been behaving better and better so this approach is definitely working.
However, I've been looking at my Pelham (it appears to be rather vintage, I found it at the summer camp I work for during the summer) and I'm kind of confused about how the snaffle/curb portion functions. Basically, unlike a lot of Pelhams I've seen, the shank is a solid, non-swiveling, shank with moving rings for reins to attach to and that concerns me just a bit because it seems like such a crude implementation of the bit, if you know what I mean. I wonder if the messages I'm sending her via the bit aren't as clear as they could be due to that construction. She does seem to really like this bit, no head tossing or any sort of evasive maneuvers.
Then, I have this western curb bit (which she also likes, I just stopped using it on her because I needed the option to direct rein more often than I wanted to in a curb) that I think I could put two sets of reins on, plus a curb chain, and treat it like a Pelham. The "rings" for the reins are swivel-y so I feel like whatever I'm telling her might be clearer...but I'm not totally sure.
Link to it: NP Sweet Iron Loose Cheek Western Curb Bit 5in - Horse.com
I'm inclined to go with the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" theory and just leave her in the bit she's in now (the Pelham), but at the same time, if the second bit is a better choice, I want to go with it.
The shanks are shorter on the second bit, which could be good since I don't actually use the curb part more than once a ride...
What do you all think?