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equiniphile 11-22-2010 09:49 PM

What bit? Kimberwicke?
Hi, my mom just bought a Percheron for her trail horse. Her old owner says she needs something she'll respect a little more than the eggbutt she's currently in, and someone reccomended a Kimberwicke. Would this be a good choice, and what kind of Kimberwicke should I get?

Eolith 11-23-2010 12:26 AM


If you need the curb chain action, you need to know how to use it responsibly. A kimberwicke as far as I'm concerned is the dummie's version of a pelham. If you need that sort of power, you need to have a more finessed control over how and when that extra power is exerted.

How much do you understand about the curb versus the snaffle action? The snaffle is ideal for lateral flexion and communication while the curb is ideal for vertical flexion and "brakes". The kimberwicke is designed in such a way that when you're using one, you're using the other at the same time and that creates a lot of unnecessary confusion for the horse. It also results in the curb chain being engaged too frequently and the horse quickly become desensitized to it or displays other signs of evasion/frustration.

A pelham allows you to separate the signals much better, as you will have a set of reins for the snaffle action (which will be the reins you primarily use and have contact on) and a set of reins that engage the curb (which will be the reins you use primarily to ask the horse to round up a bit more or halt).

Something like this would probably work:
Dover Saddlery | Stübben Steeltec Pelham Bit .

The ultimate goal will be to have your horse going well on a snaffle alone. Avoid becoming too reliant on stronger bits and be sure to educate yourself very thoroughly when using them. Stronger bits like these do give you more power, but you also need to be certain that you are using that power responsibly and only as necessary.

Dreamcatcher Arabians 11-23-2010 12:31 AM

The more resistance encountered, the lighter the touch should be. If the horse is running through an eggbutt snaffle then maybe there needs to be some re-education done with an even lighter bit. And the Kimberwicke bit is an invention of the Devil, IMO! Either go snaffle or pelham but not that wicked combo bit called a Kimberwicke. Nasty nasty bit.

equiniphile 11-23-2010 12:39 AM

Thank you, that was very helpful. The plan was to ride her in her eggbutt until I'm positive she's not listening to my aids and is being disrespectful, but that's not the sense I got when I rode her. She seems to respect the rider quite a bit, 90% of the time, until she wants to go somewhere and I don't. Then she might push against the bit with her strength until I'm firm with her and give he the definite No, and then she'll respect me.

My ultimate goal is to have her riding compeltely off my seat like Molly does, and this till take time, but well worth it. I also have this bit, which is a size 6 1/2. Would this be a good choice?

tinyliny 11-23-2010 01:10 AM

lightness in a draft horse

I just remembered this ad I saw on Dreamhorse for this Clydesdale for sale and when I went to the sellers website and watched the sales video I was really impressed with how incredibly light this young horse was, and how well the woman rode him, FROM HER SEAT.

I will try to post the link if you are curious

C3 Jonathan's Benjamin

at Weber Equine and the horse for sale was "Jonathin's Benjamin"

Tell me what you think.

Eolith 11-23-2010 02:17 AM

I would not use the bit you've shown for lateral work, equiniphile. In other words, you would want to be relying on neck reining, your seat, and leg to "steer"... no direct reining with those shanks. It's essentially a curb bit.

WickedNag 11-23-2010 07:59 AM

The bit in the picture has a nutcracker effect. Hate Tom Thumbs personally.

Shimla101 11-23-2010 01:02 PM

Percherons have become quite popular riding horses here, especially among the weekend hackers, because of their divine nature.
Most people here ride in a portuguese gag with an eliptical link. Couldn't really find a decent picture, but the link gives an idea.
Please note, I don't agree with what the description says. This type of bit *does not* apply an excessive amount of pole pressure. Not to the same degree as something like a rope gag would.

Portuguese Gag Elliptical Link

Dreamcatcher Arabians 11-23-2010 01:53 PM

Look into Myler bits and go back to a level 1 bit and work up from there as the horse starts to respond. Maybe even use a bosal or mechanical hackamore to give the horse a different cue and then once the horse responds to that, go back to a bit, the lightest one possible. I am not a fan of "the bigger the horse the harsher the hands or bit" school of thinking.

Tom Thumbs and gag bits are another invention of the devil unless you have PERFECT hands. Obviously any bit can be a torture device in harsh hands, but the lighter the hand, the lighter the bit and the lighter the horse.

If stopping is a problem, work on using seat and leg cues instead of just hauling on the mouth.

trailhorserider 11-23-2010 10:12 PM

I guess it depends on how you were trained to ride. I come from the western riding world and you'll be hard pressed to find any other curb as mild as a kimberwicke! It is practically as mild a curb bit as you can find!

I own a couple of them and find them pretty mild. Of course, I ride on a loose rein too, and never give constant pressure on the reins. In other words, I touch and release and ride on a loose rein, and hardly ride with contact as many English style riders do (unless trotting or cantering, then I usually have a little contact).

I sometimes ride in bits with A LOT more leverage than a kimberwicke, similar to the one the original poster posted a picture of. It's a little long on the leverage, but not horrible by any means.

I don't find that riding in a leverage bit means you can never go back to a snaffle. As a matter of fact, if you use a leverage bit for a while and then go back to a snaffle, the horse is often lighter in the mouth. I flip flop around with my bit collection on my horses all the time. They are very light in the mouth and I haven't ruined one yet. I would venture to say that my horses are as light or lighter after I have been riding them for years then when I first bought them.

So I don't know why tom thumbs and kimberwickes have this reputation of being evil. :evil:

If a person rides with sensitive hands (and you should with ANY bit) then what is the big deal? Let the horse be the judge.

I consider a horse to do well in a bit if:

1. I have the control I need
2. The horse seems comfortable in the bit and gives to it without seeming uncomfortable or tossing it's head or mouthing it excessively
3. The horse and I can accomplish numbers 1 & 2 even if the horse is excitable for some reason, (such as riding down a dirt road and a pasture full of horses comes galloping up- then you quickly find out how your horse responds to your bit). In other words, I have a comfortable amount of control when I really need it, AND the horse seems comfortable in it.

If you "over bit" a horse they will let you know. You won't be able to make contact with the bit without them showing agitation.

I try out a lot of different bits when I trail ride, from snaffles to curbs to hackamores, and I have not found kimberwickes OR tom thumbs to be harsh bits.

By the way, there are two (or more) types of kimberwickes. You have the type with the solid mouthpiece and a port, and the type with the broken mouthpiece (like a snaffle). I don't consider either one evil!

Try out different bits and let the horse be the judge. See what gives you control AND is still comfortable for the horse.

I admit one of my pet peeves is blanket statements such as "bit XYZ is evil!" :roll:

One of the greatest joys of riding is having a powerful, energetic horse under you and being able to regulate that power with just the touch of your fingers! So I try to find the bit that gives me that feeling of collected power with my horse. I see a lot of people riding in snaffles because they are "kinder," but then they are constantly riding the brakes and pulling on the horse. I would rather use a little stronger bit and have the horse respect it, and have fingertip control than have to pull on the horse with a plain snaffle.

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