Need instructions how to put pelham bit on bridle with snaffle and one set of reins - Page 9 - The Horse Forum
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post #81 of 129 Old 11-09-2014, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yogiwick View Post
I was definitely joking!! Sorry I felt that was obvious due to the sentence quoted being so obviously NOT those things and the rest of the post and previous posts.

Internet is hard sometimes :/. So's texting lol!

I felt some sarcasm (aka thing that is often impossible to tell in writing) was in order due to the.. "other posts" you were receiving :/

I have complete faith in you/your trainer :)
Phew! I'm glad. I respect your opinion and I didn't want to think you meant that literally. :)
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post #82 of 129 Old 11-09-2014, 09:56 AM
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In spite of what some people are saying, I would rather have a beginner on my horse in a well-fitted port-mouthed or mullen-mouthed pelham than a snaffle (or preferably bitless), as a pelham, like any levered curb bit, reduces direct shock to the bars of the mouth. It does this for two reasons: Because the lever has to turn as it engages, therefore spreading the rein effect through space and therefore time (giving a gentle aid that gets stronger only later in the piece, and a horse can learn to respond very quickly to the gentle beginning) and because the curb chain increases the contact area over which the force acts.

I would never use a jointed pelham: It has a nutcracker effect.

If riding in a pelham, I would use two reins, to be able to separate the curb and quasi-snaffle action. It's not difficult to learn to ride with two reins. You don't have to cross your reins over either: You can continue to ride with the "snaffle" rein running between ring and little finger, and run the narrower curb rein over your little finger and then back through your palm like the other rein, and out over the top of your index finger, with thumb over both reins to hold securely and lightly (which is how we were taught to hold reins in Europe way back).

To make two-rein riding easier, use an elastic band to connect the two rein pairs at the buckled section in the middle. That way, you won't have a muddle of reins to sort out etc.

I really wouldn't use a connector, I'd take it back to the store for a refund. The connector results in the horse being able to evade curb pressure by raising its head, rather than by lowering its head. This is because raising the head with a connector results in the rein sliding along the connector to a point where it is unable to engage the lever.

About (unjointed) curb bits being "harsh" bits compared to snaffles: This urban myth was throughly busted in "Horse Control and the Bit" by Tom Roberts, who runs through over a hundred pages on the physics of different bits and their effects on different mouth configurations (well worth reading this book). If a horse tends to respond better to a particular bit, like a curb compared to a snaffle, it's usually because the bit is milder than another on that particular horse's mouth configuration, not because it hurts more. Hurting a horse doesn't make it stop, it just makes a horse mad.

In Germany, where I began riding three decades ago, it's quite unremarkable to have children riding in pelhams. In Spain, South America etc curb bits are also widely used.

Arabian horses tend to have narrow mouths with little room and jointed snaffles aren't necessarily the most comfortable option for them (or horses in general). It's quite an art getting the most comfortable bit for a particular horse-rider combination.

My late Arabian mare really despised jointed snaffles and took wonderfully to a port-mouthed pelham. This was her competing in (and winning) a bending race when we were both young:



In Australia, pelhams are perfectly acceptable in the show ring, endurance, gymkhanas, etc. Nobody made any objections to my horse's pelham in any of these competitions in the two decades we used it. It's only in dressage you have to work in a snaffle (but you can graduate to a double bridle later). Thankfully you are no longer obliged to use a standard jointed snaffle, as they really don't suit some horses.

If you want to ride with a single rein and a curb, try a port-mouthed or mullen-mouthed Spanish Snaffle (not a snaffle despite the name) with slotted D-rings. You can then clip a single rein into the desired slot in the D-ring, and unlike the connector, or Spanish Snaffles without slots, this configuration doesn't encourage the horse to raise its head to avoid curb pressure. My current riding horse likes this bit better than snaffles - his great-grandmother, with her comparatively wide mouth, was very comfortable in a standard jointed snaffle, and obviously bitless as well (mild padded hackamore with short shanks). Here's a photo of my gelding in his bit, early on in the process of converting him from harness competition to ridden work:



Click to enlarge to see bit details up close. This horse was a stargazer in harness and I was very pleased with how nicely his head carriage improved with being ridden forward into a bit he found comfortable, with very light rein contact. He'd only had a few months of work under saddle there and it was a world of difference already. The rope across the front is useful to stop reins from being thrown over the head in case of a fall, and the horse then stepping on the reins and hurting its mouth.

When using a curb bit, please fit carefully so that you do not trap the corners of the lips or the skin on the chin in the curb chain - and make sure you use a nice flat smooth curb chain, in the groove of the chin, not too high or too low, not too tight or too loose. Check action is correct, from the ground first, by taking the lever all the way through the rotation and making necessary adjustment. Excellent fitting instructions with diagrams in the book I mentioned above!
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Last edited by SueC; 11-09-2014 at 10:01 AM.
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post #83 of 129 Old 11-09-2014, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecasey View Post
Phew! I'm glad. I respect your opinion and I didn't want to think you meant that literally. :)
Absolutely not! :)

The point was more how absolutely far fetched/absurd it would be to consider it abusive or any of those other things.
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post #84 of 129 Old 11-09-2014, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Update:

Saturday one of our trainers rode our horse in the pelham. Unfortunately I wasn't there to watch, but she told me she noticed no difference in the horse's behavior or performance.

She said the mare rode fine except for the first couple circles at a canter, which she resisted (standard procedure for this horse), and then after she was warmed up, she did them fine, just as she does with a regular D-ring snaffle or réléveur snaffle.

Today my daughter rode her in our lesson. She also noticed no difference, and in fact thought she rode better in the other bits. The mare fought the turns a little harder, or at least it looked that way to me as I watched from my horse.

At the end of our lesson, our trainer/instructor got on the horse and really rode her like she meant business. The horse resisted her even stronger in the turns than she did my daughter, although her stops were amazing. Usually her stops take a few strides longer than our instructor would like, but today, she actually bounced to a stop, like her legs stopped but the momentum had her bounce a couple times.

Honestly, I didn't like it. Maybe all this talk on the thread about the curb leverage action had me biased, but I hate to think the horse was in pain. Mind you, it was the instructor doing this, not my daughter, and she is an expert. She has trained countless horses, so she knows what she's doing, but I think she's more old school than I am.

So far, only two sessions in, it looks like the pelham is not doing anything for the cantering in a circle issue (maybe making it worse) but it is helping with more precise stopping.

I prefer better turning and not-perfect stopping with a not-as-strong bit, I think, but we'll see. I'm going to give it another few sessions before we decide, but I'm strongly considering going back to the regular D-ring snaffle and seeing what happens over the next month or so.

I'd like to ask for input on this data ^^ but I'm almost afraid to. :)

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #85 of 129 Old 11-09-2014, 06:28 PM
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I wouldn't worry about it hurting her at all. It DOESN'T sound like it was helping though. At least not at this time.

I missed that she resists only at first. I would just put her back in her basic regular bit (snaffle sounds good) and just keep on working. She may also just be very stiff. Sounds like a typical mare thing were the more you push YOUR idea the more she pushes back. "Tell a gelding, ask a stallion, reason with a mare". I've seen some very good well known trainers just not click with some mares with that personality. Soft and asking, letting her think it's her idea, that may help more.
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post #86 of 129 Old 11-09-2014, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Yogiwick, your post reminds me ....as I was mulling this situation over today, I was wondering something and thought I should post it somewhere on the forum, but maybe I'll just post it here.

I'm going to take the long way around telling what I want to tell, but bear with me...

My husband is not spontaneous. If I ask him out of the blue to do something, his first answer is always no. Then after he thinks about it for a while, he almost always says yes. When I ask him why he couldn't just say yes from the get-go, he can't tell me why. He just doesn't like being surprised. He likes to plan and think about things for a while before he's comfortable with them.

I get the impression that this mare is exactly like my husband. When she's in lessons, the first few times you ask her to run a pattern or do a series of things, she says, "No." She'll run off the track, refuse the jump, take a really huge turn instead of the small one you ask for, etc. But on the third attempt, she'll do it all perfect. It's almost like she has to see what you want, resist first, think about it, and then decide it's really not that big a deal to just do what you asked.

Is that possible? Are there some horses out there like this, or is she just poorly trained?

I know horses have different personalities, so it follows (in my non-expert mind) that there could be horses that are okay with spontaneity and others that need to know the plan and consider it first before they'll sign on to it.

I know there are people here who have said on other posts that the horse has to just do what you ask, no questions, no guff, no nothing. And I see that this would be the best case scenario, but so far I've never seen a horse personally that always does exactly what his rider asks. They sometimes don't understand, sometimes they're too scared, and sometimes they're just not in the mood ... or so it seems to me.
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“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #87 of 129 Old 11-09-2014, 07:08 PM
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Thank you for the update. Can you describe what your mare does when she resists in the turns? Does she bulge, refuse to turn, hollow out by throwing her head up? Is it both directions?
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post #88 of 129 Old 11-09-2014, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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@updownrider: I'm going to try and get a video of it tomorrow if I can. I'll try to describe it, but a video is worth a thousand words...

She lifts her head up and twists it the opposite direction you want her to go and then just tosses her head up and up and up, I think trying to avoid the pressure of the bit or just pull the rider off her face. She has done it strong enough to almost unseat an unsuspecting yet experienced rider.

She doesn't do this all the time. She does it more when going to the left and she does it more when it's the first few times you ask her. After she's been made to do it a few times, she stops resisting. I don't know if that's a function of being warmed up or finally giving in mentally.

To get her to do the turn at a canter when she's not yet warm or willing, the rider can do one of two things. (1) She can use a crop to wave next to the mare's face on that side. To avoid the crop the mare flexes her head properly and makes the turn. (no one hits her with it, they just wave it next to her face.) (2) Or, if my daughter slows the mare to a trot, she stops resisting and turns no problem, and after she's started the circle, my daughter brings her back up to a canter and she finishes it no problem. This is the "safer" method because it doesn't involve the horse yanking on the reins and pulling anyone out of the saddle.

No one has ever been thrown off her, but she has had people lose their balance. Experienced riders. That was when we first got her, before I sent her out for training. Now her resistance is not as strong and we're expecting it, so it's not a "problem" per se for safety, it's just a problem for proper riding.

I have posted elsewhere on the forum about her issues and have received some feedback, but no miracle cures. :)

And in case anyone's wondering, she always on the correct lead, so it's not a lead issue.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #89 of 129 Old 11-09-2014, 07:55 PM
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You've tried it and it didn't work - but at least you can cross it off and re-think the problem. That's how I always look at things
Honestly you shouldn't be thinking the horse was in pain because I doubt very much she was - younger children than yours are competing every weekend through the summer in doubles bridles and pelhams on 12.2 ponies and not ripping their jaws off or making them look like they're in agony
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCQ1b-R1tn8
Go back to the D-ring snaffle or a full cheek and look at other options.
Sometimes a few sessions with someone who does Equine physio or massage can be real help freeing up muscles that get 'stuck' when a horse has been consistently working in the wrong frame
Another thing to consider is lunging the horse in small circles to see how it bends when you remove the rider from the equation
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post #90 of 129 Old 11-09-2014, 08:10 PM
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I look forward to seeing a video. As for a réléveur bit, I'd guess that is what in English is commonly called an elevator bit or a gag.
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