How harsh is a Kimberwick Bit?!?! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 01-27-2011, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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How harsh is a Kimberwick Bit?!?!

I have my horse in a french link bit right now and he seems to hate it he chews on it constantly, throws his head and will pull his head down like he's trying to avoid the bit. He didnt do this with a regular snaffle, but it was to small thats why I got the french link (which i thought he would like more).
My question is I have a kimberwick which I used on my old horse but I'm wondering how harsh of a bit is it?
Also do you have to use two reins with it or do you just use one?
and do you have to use the chain?
I've never been very informed about bits so any information would help thanks
This is the kinberwick I have 143181 Jointed Uxeter Kimberwick Bit 5 1/2 inch
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post #2 of 24 Old 01-27-2011, 12:07 PM
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Yes, you'd have to use the chain. A bit is only as harsh as the rider, but a kimberwick is a leverage bit and is much easier to be harsh with. If your horse goes fine in a regular jointed snaffle, I would just get a bigger jointed snaffle. You can find decent ones for a decent price everywhere.

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post #3 of 24 Old 01-27-2011, 12:08 PM
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I literally just read an article about this. How convenient. A Kimberwicke only uses one rein. On the top hole, it is just a snaffle. On the bottom hole it is a very mild curb. I'm not sure if you have to use the chain, but I would think you would.
If he liked the single joint, I would go back to that. Some horses simply do not like the lack of tongue relief that the french link gives.

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post #4 of 24 Old 01-27-2011, 12:11 PM
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Generally speaking a bit is only as harsh as the hands that hold the reins. If you have soft hands then the bit isn't harsh. If you use your hands to balance yourself or are always pulling then it is harsh. You can use just one set of reins on this bit and depending on how much leverage you want will depend on where you attach them to the bit. As for the chain I'm not sure if it is needed or not, every time I have ever used that type of bit I have used it (as far as I can recall) so I don't know if you can get away with not having it.

The reason your horse may not like the french link as apposed to the snaffle is because it uses different pressure points on the mouth. It uses pressure on the bars alone and doesn't hit the roof of the mouth the same as the plain snaffle. It really depends on your horse which type of mouth piece they will like, my horse like the french link style with a roller, my mom's horse likes the single break in the bit and doesn't like the double break.

Hope that helps.
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post #5 of 24 Old 01-28-2011, 02:26 AM
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If your horse goes fine in a snaffle and the Kimberwicke is the bit you already have, simply take the chain off, put your reins through the first hole on the dee and your bit becomes very similar to a snaffle. It rides a little differently in the mouth since the cheek piece of the bridle attachs to the upper ring on the bit.
Used with the chain, the Kimberwicke is a mild leverage bit. If you put the reins in the second hole down, there is a small amount of leverage (less than a short-shanked Pelham). It is not severe unless you adjust the chain tightly and/or ride in such a way that the chain is constantly engaged.
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post #6 of 24 Old 01-29-2011, 11:01 AM
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If your horse stops with the snaffle I wouldnt change to the kimberwick. I use a french link on the flat and a kimberwick when jumping. This is only because my horse gets very strong when jumping. When she was a lesson horse they used a kimberwick on her all the time and it made her mouth hard because people would pull on it the whole time. I do not think that you would do this but I am just saying it can be a strong bit depending on how you use it. try different kinds of snaffle bits first. There are lots of different kinds and materials that you could try out!
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post #7 of 24 Old 01-29-2011, 11:12 AM
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I don't think it's as harsh as a correction.. My friend uses one and her horse doesn't mind. I use a correction on mine because he doesn't bridle up with the twisted wire unless I pull on him hard, which I don't like to do at home, and especially not at a show.

I guess it all just depends on the kind of rider your are. But yes, always use a chain and one reign with a kimberwick!
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post #8 of 24 Old 01-29-2011, 11:20 AM
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I don't like the Kimberwick - and I think it's a gadget for the rider, not the horse. A quick fix bit, as I think of it.

Here's some information:

Bit Information (Snaffle and English-Type Bits)

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post #9 of 24 Old 01-29-2011, 11:37 AM
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Eventer, I would love to hear what you dislike so much about the Kimberwicke. Not to sabotage the post, but I have yet to find a suitable alternative in some situations.
I think ideally all horses should go in a snaffle. That being said, I have found that many hot horses who will go fine in a snaffle in the arena or a sedate trail ride will have difficulty being held back when they are out running in a group of excited horses. So what alternative is there besides a curb/pelham (which have much more leverage) or a harsher mouthpiece on a snaffle (which runs the risk of cutting a horse's mouth)? I find the Kimberwicke an acceptable "between" bit. I ride in mine with a fairly loose chain so it doesn't engage until the reins are pulled back on. Since it has a broken mouthpiece, it works like a snaffle and can be ridden in with light contact until the curb action is needed. My mare who needs the Kimberwicke is very light and anyone would say she has a soft mouth. When she is very hot she requires a slight amount of leverage to get her attention. I think many riders who have good hands would find the Kimberwicke a useful bit.
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post #10 of 24 Old 01-29-2011, 11:43 AM
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Don't get me wrong - I use a 3 Ring Elevator Bit when I Fox Hunt, I need a bit that is a "Quick Fix" for that particular situation because of the high static atmosphere - hounds, horns, galloping in large groups, jumps - the 3 Ring gives me that extra "omph" needed to keep Nelson in line and to keep me from spending my ride trying to get him to slow down.

That is the only time a 3 Ring gets put in his mouth - other than that, he goes in French Links.

As an everyday use - no. Like I said, bits like that are a quick fix. If you need it for a particular situation, then yes - but for everyday riding and training, I disagree.

I see many lesson horses at my barn in that blasted bit, and it's there for the rider, not the horse. Which I understand because the BO needs to keep her students safe - but no where is it teaching the horse.

If your horse is rushing or bolting while jumping - that's not a bit issue, that's a whole other story. My question - is why is the OP considering a Kimberwick if their horse goes just find in a Snaffle?

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