Using a Pelham... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-13-2011, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Using a Pelham...

I've been using a Pelham on Lacey as of late (because of how I can use the snaffle rein most of the time when she's behaving and just kick in the curb when she needs a little extra wake up call).

Today while I was riding I realized that I really have no idea about how to properly use one of these bits and since I'm using it, I probably should know what's going on.
I know that I should be using 2 reins, one for the top ring and one for the bottom ring (which I am), intuitively I can guess that I probably only want to really have contact with the top/snaffle rein (which I'm doing), but other than that I'm kinda in the dark. I'm also holding the reins in my hands differently than I would if I just had one rein, the curb rein is between my ring and pinky finger while the snaffle is between my middle and ring fingers, I assume that's right?

I guess if someone could just give me a run down on the do's and don't with pelhams, I'd be highly appreciative. :)

It's a ported pelham if that makes any difference (Lacey can't have broken bits in her mouth due to her gray horse melanomas).

Lacey's going really really well in it, she's responsive to the snaffle 95% of the time and it's wonderful to have the option of getting stronger with her when she gets strong with me (the other 5% of the time).

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-13-2011, 04:45 PM
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I've actually been taught (while riding in pelhams and double bridles) to have the curb rein between your ring and middle finger and your snaffle rein between your pinkie and ring finger, just as you would when riding normally.

"You know, for as long as I can remember, I've had memories." ~Colin Mochrie
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-13-2011, 08:07 PM
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-13-2011, 08:32 PM
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I was always taught the way Arksley said.

I have ridden the way bubba posted a picture of but found it too confusing and ended up riding on the curb rein too often.

I putmy snaffle rein where my normal snaffle would sit and the curb rein one slot (so gap between fingers) higher

RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT

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post #5 of 11 Old 11-14-2011, 05:05 AM
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There are different methods of holding the two sets of reins. It can be hard to explain over text. So I would suggest if you could getting a knowledgeable horse person to show you how.
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-14-2011, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! This has been helpful and informative. I appreciate it. :)

I sure wish I knew some knowledgeable horse people! Everybody around here is like "Oh! You need brakes? Just throw a Tom Thumb (US version) in and direct rein away! It'll give you brakes and you can still direct rein! *does happy dance*" It's great.
A Pelham is basically like an alien around here. I actually had my previous riding instructor (I asked her about it to see if she knew anything) chastise me for using "such a harsh bit" and tell me that a Tom Thumb would be much more suitable. People. I love ignorance, don't you? Hahaha!

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-14-2011, 09:46 PM
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The fun thing about them saying it's a harsh bit is that a broken pelham is essentially a "Tom Thumb." Just shorter shanks, usually.

I remember someone teaching me that you put your snaffle rein under your pinky and your curb rein between your pinky and ring finger. That's probably wrong, considering the source. But their logic was that if you close your hand, your pinky closes first. Which is true. It seems like everyone has their own way, but some ways are more correct than others.

"The wise man thinks he knows nothing.
The fool thinks he knows everything."

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post #8 of 11 Old 11-14-2011, 10:18 PM
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There are several methods of holding the double reins, and all are acceptable. Use what works for you to be able to primarily contact the snaffle, and engage the curb by a little roll of your wrist. Use what works for you. YOu aren't showing, so who cares if it's textbook.

Have you ever read anything by Heather Moffat? She wrote some dressage books, one of which I remember is called "Enlightened Equitation" or "Enlightened Dressage", something like that. She swears by the Pelham.
you might like that book.
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-15-2011, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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True story, Tymer, true story! haha

I'll have to try out other ways of holding the reins and figure out the most comfortable/effective. In thinking about it, I'm not even sure if I do hold them like I said I do in the OP! haha I just pick them up in this way that's comfortable (but possible not the most effective since I've found myself having to scramble for the curb rein at points) and that's about it.

And thanks for the book reccomendation Tinyliny! I added it to my wishlist on Amazon for when I get a little extra cash. It looked very interesting.

I'm really enjoying the Pelham. I love how I can be gentle with her most of the time (which is all she really needs, most of the time) and then have back up if I need it. I feel like if I continue to mostly rely on the snaffle rein like I am, I won't be in danger of falling into the "bigger 'better' bit pit". It's just so great.
And she's loving it too. I have never seen her salivate on her bit until I started riding her in this. She's also literally is picking it out of my hand when I bridle her which she never would have considered doing when I was riding her in a snaffle (I was always basically jamming that thing in her mouth) before I knew better back in the day (or in the low port-short shank curb I rode her in for a few months this fall).
I'm crazy happy that I finally seem to have found "the ticket" as it were. :)

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-23-2011, 01:47 PM
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I'm glad you posted this because I'm thinking about getting a pelham( stupid question but how it that pronounced ?) for my mare, she is really good for me but every once in a while she gets fresh and runs through the bit. I've never used a double rein before so i was looking for some tips. I have the same problem with everything saying to bit her up only they advise corkscrews and twists instead of the TT
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