Which bit is "better"?

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Which bit is "better"?

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    12-04-2011, 11:50 PM
Super Moderator
Which bit is "better"?

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?
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    12-04-2011, 11:58 PM
Your Pelham is old and unique, all right and I'll buy it off you if you decide to part with it! That said, all of the things you said are correct, yet I would still likely stick with the bit you're already using due to the loose rings. If you aren't direct reining laterally with the curb rein, then you don't really need a swivel shank. You do have a whole lot of leverage there, though, so be careful with it.
    12-05-2011, 12:25 AM
Super Moderator
Thanks! I really like it. It was just hanging up on the wall at camp, waiting to be discovered! I'm not sure what it's made of but it really makes Lacey salivate and all that good stuff.

That's kind of what I was thinking as well. However, I was thinking that, with a rein on the "snaffle" part of that second bit (the western curb), it might function more like a D-ring snaffle, due to the swivel shanks?

And yeah, scary amounts of leverage are possible. I try to have the curb rein really loose most of the time, unless she's starting to get excited and then I'll pick it up to be ready. I have a ten foot rein attached to it so I'll never accidentally catch it, I have to pick it up on purpose. After the first time I rode her in that bit as a Pelham and had to shut her down hard with that curb, she pretty much stopped trying to really mess with me.
    12-05-2011, 12:30 AM
The second one would be more like a Baucher than a D-ring. First one is like a Fulmer.
    12-05-2011, 12:32 AM
Super Moderator
Oh! That makes sense. Thanks!
    12-05-2011, 01:17 AM
If she likes it, leave it! Bubba speaks the truth as always.
    12-05-2011, 01:36 AM
Is your pelham jointed or a mullen mouth (no joint in the mouthpiece)?
    12-05-2011, 02:09 AM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
is your pelham jointed or a mullen mouth (no joint in the mouthpiece)?
It's not jointed...so I guess like a mullen mouth, but with a port? I think of a mullen mouth as being a straight bar across but this one isn't a perfectly straight bar, if that makes sense.
The mouth is pretty much like this:

I assume because of Miss Lacey's mouth melanoma situation, jointed bits make her crazy - crazier than usual!
    12-05-2011, 02:48 AM
I think your bit might be better than that one in your last illustartion because since yours has the rings move freely, when you direct rein to one side, the bit moves, but the side piece stays flush to the face. IN the example you just posted, if the bit ring angles out to one side , as when you direct reined to one side, the whole side piece roles over and could conceiveably gauge into the face, could it not?
I am NOT a bit expert at all.
    12-05-2011, 03:26 AM
If you started pulling pretty far to the side it could. Though if you think about it, start riding like that and you'll do the same thing with a Baucher:


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