Kimberwicks - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 04-07-2009, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, so I've ridden Sammy twice now (whoo!) bareback. He needs work on neck reining and leg cues, other than that, he is very calm and responsive. I've used my simple, ported shank bit, and to be honest, it's just not the right bit for him. It's either to light (pays no attention), or to severe (tries to avoid it). I'm not to fond of the shank bits to begin with and would love to try something thats gentler, without being TO light. I will be trying a hackamore on him as well once I get my cinch and what-not from my old stable so I can ride with a saddle.

I've done some bit research and the Kimberwick's seem promising. Has anyone used these bits at all? If so, what type did you use and what bit did you use previously? Links are much appreciated as well ^^

My nine year old is also going to be re-trained soon. He was ridden in a low-port shank previously, but I feel that it's really to severe for him. I'm really not comfortable when riding with a port-shank either. I can't relax and constantly worry about being to heavy-handed with the reins.
He also needs work on neck reining and leg cues. I would also like him to lower and tuck his head. He carried himself beautifully when ridden in the port-shank, nose gently tucked and head slightly lowered, but the bit just bothers me to no end! Can that natural tuck-n'-lower be achieved with the Kimberwick?

I have tried shank bits with NO port, just a curve in the bit and didn't do well at all. Stopping, turning, and head carriage were all issues.

Any ideas?

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post #2 of 4 Old 04-07-2009, 10:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
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I've used kimblewicks in the past.

One had a jointed mouth piece, the other was unjointed. I generally used it on the middle slot and ocassionaly moved it to the lower one. It worked okay but wasn't brilliant on that particular pony.

I then used a jointed dutch gag (the one with the big snaffle ring and two smaller rings directly underneath it) and I found that to be really good on him. I used it as a straight snaffle most of the time, but when jumping dropped it a ring.

It suited that particular pony better and I liked the options it gave me.

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post #3 of 4 Old 04-09-2009, 09:36 PM
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I use a kimberwick on my TB. He plowed through every snaffle I put on him and he pulled like a freight train on the lunge line. It was completely different after I put the kimberwick on him. Now he responds to the lightest rein aid and puts slack on the lunge line. I use an uxeter kimberwick, by the way, on the bottom slot. It is a leverage bit and is harsh if you have heavy hands. You have to be really light on the reins with it. It's not like a pelham where you control the snaffle and curb reins separately. THe curb chain is activated whenever you put pressure on the reins. It's a very nice bit when used correctly and on the right horse. :) I don't know that it would be the best choice if you're teaching a horse to neck rein, though. It's meant to be used with direct reining since it's an English-type bit. Here's some more info:

Horse Bits Explained - Kimberwick and Uxeter Kimberwick Bit Explained

Hope this was helpful. And as for getting them to bring their nose in, lunging with side reins helps a lot. You can get them to do it with a leverage bit, too, but side reins condition a horse for it and builds their neck muscles. Once they get the idea that it's more comfortable to go with their nose in, they'll keep it that way because that's where it's comfortable for them. Self-carriage, in other words.

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Last edited by Jessabel; 04-09-2009 at 09:41 PM.
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post #4 of 4 Old 04-11-2009, 09:36 PM
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I'm confused by this post. You want to work on neck reining, so I am assuming you ride western, but you want to switch to a kimberwick? A kimberwick is a direct contact bit and therefore must be used with two hands, so you wouldn't be neck reining with a direct contact bit. Also, kimberwicks can be very severe if not used properly, so don't assume that they are less severe than a shank bit. And correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you're using two hands while riding in a shank bit. If this is the case, that is probably the reason you are not getting the results you want. Shank bits work by using leverage, which can only be acheived by using one hand and a loose rein. If you're using two hands and direct contact on a shank bit, it wont work properly. Many people believe that snaffle bits can have a shank (ex. the tom thumb is referred to as a 'cowboy snaffle'), and they use direct contact with them, but it's simply not the case. Any bit with a shank, regardless of the mouthpiece, is a curb bit, not a snaffle, and should only be used with a loose rein.

To answer your question, kimberwicks can be very effective in achieving a proper carriage. On the sides of the kimberwick there are two holes for rein attachment. If you connect your reins to the lower hole, you'll have a little more leverage which is helpful is helping your horse collect. On the other hand, if you do ride western and wanted to use a shank bit, I'd recommend a low port barrel bit. These bits are great at helping a horse collect himself and when used properly (ie. one hand, loose contact!) are very mild.

It's all a matter of preference. I ride western (team penning and barrel racing), but I ride with an eggbutt snaffle because I prefer to ride two handed and my horse collects himself beautifully in it. It just takes a little bit of training. Good luck with whatever you choose!
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