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KYHorseMama 05-24-2011 02:32 PM

Need bit recommendation
Hello everyone!

I have just acquired a 16 year old thoroughbred mare that is being retired from playing polo. Her previous owner used a jointed pelham bit - I have tried using a simple jointed snaffle with her, and she's not comfortable with it or responding the way I'd like to see. I'm not advanced enough to be comfortable with double reins that a pelham requires, however I'd like to use a bit she's more accustomed to and comfortable with. She rides well off leg/heel cues, however it feels like she's aggravated by the snaffle bit I'm using and is distracted/frustrated.

Any recommendations?

iridehorses 05-24-2011 02:50 PM

Welcome to the forum!

Like an OTTB, an ex polo pony needs to be retrained. I would go to a regular snaffle or a French link and allow her some time to acclimate.

bubba13 05-24-2011 08:48 PM

Did the polo player use two sets of reins on her Pelham, or just one on the bottom?

JustDressageIt 05-24-2011 09:03 PM

First off, I would start off by getting her teeth checked by a qualified dentist. That way you know you're starting with a clean slate, and you're not battling teeth that are irritating your lovely girl. The dentist will also be able to tell you her mouth conformation, and should be able to offer some bit recommendations as well.
Here is my thread regarding information on some of the more basic bit types that you might want to look into:
For an OTTB, I personally would look into either a full cheek or dee-ring french link or Myler bit.

KYHorseMama 05-24-2011 11:13 PM

Thank you for the input everyone! Awesome advice!

He used double reins.

I have the vet and farrier (both do teeth) coming next week. We have an elderly horse joining the family early next week, so I'm combining everyone's checkups and trimmings - might as well do everyone at once! ;) I'll remember to talk to them about her teeth affecting the bit's I have.

bubba13 05-24-2011 11:18 PM

What about a Pelham with roundings?

tinyliny 05-24-2011 11:34 PM

if you can learn to handle the two reins, a pelham can be a good bit and create a very responsive and light horse , used correctly.

Brighteyes 05-25-2011 12:00 AM

Double reins aren't near as hard to use as you would think. :wink: Don't be scared of them! Find someone to teach you to hold them or even search the web.

JustDressageIt 05-25-2011 12:07 AM

I HATE roundings. If you're going to use roundings, you may as well use a Kimberwicke.... and I greatly dislike those as well - they offer a very unrefined signal. I discuss them in this thread:


For experienced riders only. Uses a curb chain on the horse’s chin. The bridle attaches to the small vertical-type ring at the top, then the reins attach to either of the slots. This bit is much less refined than a Pelham, when it comes to discussing English curb bits. The problem with the kimberwicke is that you have no refinement, no snaffle rein, therefore no relief from the curb action of the bit. This can be quite bothersome to horses that don’t need the curb action on a bit. I much prefer a Pelham.

Kimberwickes offer no refinement, no snaffle rein.. the horse is on the curb all the time. A lot of horses can become resentful to such constant pressure.

I would strongly suggest you look into an Equine Dentist, and then start from square 1 with a snaffle and a good trainer :D

sarahver 05-25-2011 12:26 AM


Originally Posted by iridehorses (Post 1045246)
Welcome to the forum!

Like an OTTB, an ex polo pony needs to be retrained.

These were the EXACT first two thoughts than ran through my mind - first the welcome then the re-training suggestion :wink:

Which brings me to my next question for you OP: What do you wish to train your horse for? I noticed you mention leg cues but nothing more specific than that. My first inclination is to go back to a simple snaffle and develop a responsive supple horse, polo horses are extremely responsive (though perhaps not in the way you might want for flatwork) but they are prone to bracing against the bit, rather than accepting it.

How long was the horse playing polo for? Did she race previous to the polo career?

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