Pelham versus slow twist snaffle?
Ok, I heard someone mention on another thread that they use a slow twist snaffle rather than a pelham...
So my question is: what are the pros and cons of each and which is considered the less "harsh" bit? My pony goes very well in her tom thumb (english) pelham and has no issues with it, but sometimes I get negative remarks from people who only ride in snaffles with their horses.
I use the pelham when we're jumping because she and I are both still a little green and she can get pretty strong and just LEAN on the bit hard, so the pelham helps me as a training tool. In dressage I obviously can't use it, so I just use either an eggbutt french link or a single jointed Dee snaffle. But it takes a looooong time working her on the ground before she stops leaning on that bit, and she still leans on it for balance at the canter.
We're working on the balance issues a lot (with a trainer) but I hate using the snaffle because I feel like I have to make too much contact/get too busy on her mouth, whereas with the pelham I hardly have to ask her so the cues are much much lighter. And yes, whatever I take with the hands, I ask with the legs so I'm not just yanking her head to try to get it in a certain position, I'm just using the reins every now and again to ask her for flexion while I push her forward with seat and legs..I just feel like I have to ask her more often with the snaffle. I'm just afraid if I keep trying to train her in the snaffle she's going to get hard mouthed or something, I don't know...
My sticky on bits in the Tack and Equipment section might explain my position since I'm on my phone and typing isn't the easiest. I prefer smooth-mouthed bits, hands down. I actually like the pelham as a bit - you can ride on the snaffle rein 99% of the time, and engage the curb only when it's needed. Especially with English disciplines where contact is a must, I don't like bits with textured mouthpieces; the texture is designed to work on a more concentrated pressure point, and really works off a harsher feel for the horse.
Personally, I use smooth mouthpieces - if the horse suggests that something isn't working, I go back and find the hole in the training.
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If they think the D ring (or loose ring or whatever) is any indication of what is inside the mouth they are mistaken.
I agree with JDI.
Pelhams are great bits.
Here's a photo of the pelham I use currently...
And the snaffle...
But has anyone had any experience with a hard-mouthed "leaner" before and what dressage-legal bit has helped the most?
Your pelham acts like a snaffle much of the time.
Yes it does, I suppose that's a good thing, huh?! :) But I do find that I have to "ask" her with the curb several times before she really gets the idea and gives to the bit. Maybe I should just warm up in the pelham and then switch to the snaffle for dressage!! :) Then maybe it would take me 15 mins to warm up rather than 45 so she isn't utterly exhausted when we get into the arena!!
Weird question...are there any dressage-legal bits that you could attach a curb rein to for warmup and then just remove that rein for the arena? Or am I pretty much going to need to switch the whole bit out?
If you feel that you REALLY need the curb action, you could try a Buacher. They are dressage legal in Australia, a recent addition, not sure about O/S though.
Bauchers are often used as a stepping stone to get a horse used to a double without two bits. Rather than using two reins, the bit has an extra ring above the snaffle ring, which connects to the bridle. This creates slight poll pressure each time the rein is taken.
In saying this, I do think they are overused here now as the 'latest fashion' to get quick results. I know a girl that I used to teach has resorted to using a baucher on her mare as a quick fix/bandaid, I don't agree with this.
I have also seen bauchers used with a weymouth, again, very harsh and totally not needed.
BUT, if you have good, quiet hands and an excellent sense of timing for when to release pressure, then a baucher may be worth a go.
Sorry, Kayty, I have to disagree - there is no poll action on the Baucher. There is only one fixed point, not two, so there is nothing for the bit to get any sort of leverage on. It's more like a full cheek with bit keepers in that the upper, fixed ring is to keep the bit at the proper angle.
As for a heavy horse - back to basics and how to get off the forehand, sadly. Bits may make a horse evade backwards away from pressure, but that's not what you want - you want contact with self carriage.
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