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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My trusty mullen mouth Pelham is hitting its lifespan so I'm looking to replace it. While searching for new bits I came across this type.


Arch_Butterfly_WM_180861cd-4598-4743-a702-3793008f5557_1400x.jpg



I thought they looked much more elegant and less bulky than a Pelham, and look like they have a similar action. I've never used one or seen one in person, so I'm wondering how they compare according to people who have used both?

For the record, I rarely ride in a double rein, I just ride a lot of different horses of different training levels and background and I like the versatility of a Pelham to adjust leverage as needed. However I dislike the weight of the Pelham in a horse's mouth and the jangling of the curb rings when I'm only using the snaffle ring. The 2-ring butterfly looks like it would be lighter and milder than the Pelham, but I'd like to know your experiences.

(I realize these are traditionally driving bits, but I don't show, this would just be for training)
 

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If you were to switch from utilizing a pelham to using this bit, I would absolutely still carry a curb chain while utilizing this bit. You have a "snaffle" ring, a "leverage/poll pressure" ring, which also functions as a "curb pressure" ring. I would make sure that you can use all three functions to be able to really utilize this bit. Also, I think the ability to ride utilizing two reins is one thing that barely anyone knows how to do anymore, effectively at least. I would prioritize knowing how to use this skill.

I personally like pelhams, and don't see any huge pros to using this bit in their place.

I think the best thing you can have is a quick change bridle and a box full of bits to utilize with different horses. A pelham is a good one to have in that box, along with an assortment of basic snaffles with different cheekpieces - o-ring, eggbutt, full-cheek, baucher... I would even have a bit with a small bit of gag to it. Add some different mouth styles, single jointed, double jointed, waterford, mullen...And different mouth materials as well. Different horses like different things, beyond just leverage vs no leverage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I can ride with two reins, I just rarely have a need. I also have an oval link D ring, and honestly between those two I have yet to encounter a horse that can't ride in one or the other. The rescue barn I ride at has an arsenal of different bits to borrow if I needed them, but I never have.



I'm just hoping this bit can functionally replace my Pelham while being prettier and less annoying, but I have no way of testing one.

Have you had any specific experience with this particular bit?
 

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I don't like the look of that bit at all...
It is a glorified, in disguise.. gag bit.
Your bit is fixed side and rings...nothing moves independent.
All parts fused together, this is nothing more than something someone hopes to trick a eye to allow a gag bit thinking it a pelham...its not, it is a gag bit.
There is no place for a curb chain to be added nor hang properly to fit the chin groove at the correct angle.
If you were to hang this from a headstall and place reins...pivot this bit on your hand and watch the leverage force applied with how this bit is designed, no thanks.
This bit moves in one long unit of solid, in disguise a gag, a elevator bit is what you pictured.

This is a pelham bit...

The bit I showed has independent rings for snaffle and curb rein, those rings along with a swivel cheek piece is independent one side to the other and has a tiny amount of play to it also.
With ability to utilize a curb chain at varying tightness adjustments, and a lip chain to remove the play some get with a curb chain.
Although each part comes from a common cheek-piece, the fact the headstall, the snaffle ring and curb ring all work independent from each other and then each side has multiple swivel parts...big difference.


Please don't use this bit you showed in place of any pelham...
I'm also not understanding, "However I dislike the weight of the Pelham in a horse's mouth and the jangling of the curb rings when I'm only using the snaffle ring."
A true snaffle bit has headstall and reins all utilizing the same ring...
If you are only riding with direct reining which is what a snaffle bit is, then why are you using a pelham bit? :|
To be honest, most horses that I've ever ridden were softer and more responsive in a heavier weighted mouthpiece than today's fad of lightweight shiny junk.
Find yourself a old bit, not shiny.
Metal mouthpiece is some sort of German alloy blend and bet you will have a much happier horse.
It is also stamped "Germany" in/on the mouthpiece.
You thinking that "thing" above you presented is nice and sweet a bit....yea, no!
sorry...
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm also not understanding, "However I dislike the weight of the Pelham in a horse's mouth and the jangling of the curb rings when I'm only using the snaffle ring."
...

If you are only riding with direct reining which is what a snaffle bit is, then why are you using a pelham bit?

Thanks for the input.

To clarify here, I am familiar with how a Pelham works, in that you have snaffle ring (at the mouthpiece) from which you direct rein, and a lower ring for the curb rein. Unless I am riding a horse that needs to or can ride with the curb rein, I only use the snaffle rings (so it is effectively a plain mullen mouth bit), which is about 90% of the time. On rare occasion I have a horse that can and will pull through a plain snaffle (often result of poor training, generally blown up show horses) and so I use the curb rein instead of or in addition to the snaffle, or I use a rein splitter for an intermediate effect until the horse is remouthed and can ride safely in a snaffle. And I can make all these adjustments on a single bit, hence the convenience of the versatility of the Pelham. I get this question a lot, but not really the point of what I was asking about here.



I agree with you that when using the lower ring it would have a gag action (I will probably continue to snaffle ring 90% of the time as I currently do), but does using the curb ring of a Pelham not also? The only functional difference between this and a Pelham is that the lower ring is not loose, but I'm no expert. They have the same solid cheek pieces that swivel out, and curb chain/bridle attachment. What does the curb ring being loose affect about the action?



I've attached a side-by-side comparison of what my current bit looks like, and a butterfly bit. (not the exact one I would buy, but a representative example) for better comparison.





pelham1.jpg . butterfly 2.jpg
 

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Well, to start with your fulcrum point is going to get far stronger in leverage applying because the loop is that much higher above the bit mouthpiece itself...
Just know that what you think is a pelham is not.

You though know what you want, so I will keep my thoughts to myself on this at this point.
You seemed to take offense at my comment so I will just hush.
Good luck.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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I don't see anything "gag" at ALL about the bit the OP posted two pictures of. The mouthpiece is in a fixed position. Sure, your reins could slide a little, but that doesn't make it a gag bit. :shrug:

I have never used one (I ride western) but it looks like a really nice, short leverage option to me. Maybe a step up from a Kimberwicke. I actually really like the look of it. It would be a bit I would feel comfortable using.


If you ride it just on the snaffle ring, it is probably just going to be a pretty-looking full-cheek. Because I'm not even thinking the curb chain would tighten on that ring.



Yes, the purchase is a little higher on the butterfly bit, but is it really that much higher to make a difference? To my horse it wouldn't be. I have ridden in all sort of curb bits and while I am aware there is a difference in purchase among different bits, I honestly can't say I've noticed a difference when riding. I think the difference would be negligible.
 

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PS. If one were to decide they didn't like the higher purchase, how about a Kimberwicke with the slots? I would see three rein options on a Kimberwicke. Slot 1, Slot 2, or just have your reins through the ring without having them through a slot at all (not sure why you would want to do that, but you could).

I have ridden my western horse in a Kimberwicke and was surprised how great she did in it.




One thing about the butterfly bit that bothers me a little, the more I look at it, is it appears to be a little bottom heavy. I don't know if it really is or not, but the more I look at it, the more I wonder if I would like the balance of it. One thing that tainted my view is I googled "butterfly bit" and there are some monster versions of it with 3 rein rings. Those look quite strong and bottom heavy. I don't know if my looking at the 3 ring versions are tainting my thoughts of the 2 ring version.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, to start with your fulcrum point is going to get far stronger in leverage applying because the loop is that much higher above the bit mouthpiece itself...
Just know that what you think is a pelham is not.

You though know what you want, so I will keep my thoughts to myself on this at this point.
You seemed to take offense at my comment so I will just hush.
Good luck.
:runninghorse2:...

No offense taken lol, you just seemed confused about what I was asking. Also I see now we used the same picture of a Pelham bit? So I'm not sure why you think I don't know what a Pelham is or does.



Now the mention of the higher because of the higher bridle loop, that is helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
PS. If one were to decide they didn't like the higher purchase, how about a Kimberwicke with the slots? I would see three rein options on a Kimberwicke. Slot 1, Slot 2, or just have your reins through the ring without having them through a slot at all (not sure why you would want to do that, but you could).

I have ridden my western horse in a Kimberwicke and was surprised how great she did in it.




One thing about the butterfly bit that bothers me a little, the more I look at it, is it appears to be a little bottom heavy. I don't know if it really is or not, but the more I look at it, the more I wonder if I would like the balance of it. One thing that tainted my view is I googled "butterfly bit" and there are some monster versions of it with 3 rein rings. Those look quite strong and bottom heavy. I don't know if my looking at the 3 ring versions are tainting my thoughts of the 2 ring version.

Thanks! I agree it does look a bit bottom heavy, but I wonder if that balances with the higher cheek attachment? (And yeah that 3-ring one looks ridiculous lmao).


I hadn't thought of a kimberwick; they always seem to have harsh ported or broken mouth pieces, which is disappointing, but I bet I could find on with a plain mullen mouth.
 

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I hadn't thought of a kimberwick; they always seem to have harsh ported or broken mouth pieces, which is disappointing, but I bet I could find on with a plain mullen mouth.

That's a very mild mouthpiece, in my opinion. It's hardly a port at all. And the port is there to give a little room for the tongue (although this one is so small I doubt it does much).
 

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I can't see any way that butterfly bit could have any gag action. Gag action pulls the bit back in the mouth. It is not a rotating/curb/leverage action against the chin but amplifies the snaffle pressure against the lips/tongue/bars. In order for a bit to be a gag, it must slide on either a rope or ring. Gags are not used with curbs under the chin.




A Pelham is a curb bit (unless used with only a snaffle rein), which are a different classification of bit from gags.

If the Pelham has the same type of mouthpiece, I believe the butterfly would be a nearly identical bit for the horse.
I would choose a Kimberwicke if you do not require very much leverage at all, or a Pelham (or the butterfly bit) if you need a little more leverage.
 

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Gag bits don't use curb chains/straps. Once the curb strap engages, the bit can no longer rotate. You adjust when that happens with the curb chain, but it will happen long before any real gag action would take place.

Curbs are Class 2 levers:


The fulcrum is where the curb chain has stopped the rotation. The load applied is the mouthpiece of the bit. And the effort is applied to the end of the bit. As you increase D2 by increasing the distance between the curb chain and the mouthpiece, you increase the denominator and thus reduce the mechanical advantage. Contrary to what a lot of books show, the mechanical advantage is the TOTAL length of the shank or side divided by the TOP distance between the curb and the mouthpiece.

Most curb bits - Pelham and Billy Allen included - typically provide about 3:1 advantage.


Eyeballing that, I guess about 2:1 mechanical advantage. Mia's Billy Allen could, in theory, be ridden with the reins attached at the mouthpiece. I tried it a few times that way...not optimum. Ridden as a curb, it is actually very similar to the posted bit in function - about 2.5:1 mechanical advantage, but it allows each side to rotate independently:

 

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Yeahhhh I'm also not seeing how the butterfly qualifies as a gag? If the mouthpieces are similar or identical, the only difference between it and the Pelham is the length of the purchase (and I have seen examples of butterfly bits with less purchase than that, so I'm sure you could find one that acts nearly identical to your Pelham if you looked a bit). In my experience, butterfly bit shanks tend to swing a bit while moving at a lope or gallop, although I ride with loose reins so someone riding on contact would most likely not have this problem. I like butterfly bits in general, and I don't see any issue with you using one to replace your Pelham.

I also agree with @trailhorserider in that the Kimberwicke pictured does not have a 'harsh' mouthpiece. That is a very low and mild port. I've seen some nasties for sure, however. But for your uses, since you tend to ride with a simple direct pull action most of the time, perhaps a Kimberwicke would be the best option for you. It doesn't have as much curb action as a Pelham, of course, but if you don't need a lot a Kimberwicke is actually the better choice in my opinion.

-- Kai
 

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Lots of 'gag' variations here. The true action of a gag is to lift the horse's head and, as a consequence, the bridle cheeks run through the bit ring. The gag rein is attached below the bit so in use it lifts the whole bit in the horse's mouth. Most gags have two reins so they can be used as standard snaffles without the gag lift.

Modern so-called gags work more like a curb, except the (UK name) American Gag where the mouthpiece sort-of rises along a short section of the cheek.

The butterfly is a generic pelham with a little curb action, so stronger than a hanging cheek snaffle, but not a lot.

Can't remember who asked about slots on a Kimblewick (UK spelling - it's a village in Buckinghamshire) but the original version had no slots and the reins fitted loose around the ring. To get any curb action you had to lower your hands.
 

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The essence of a curb bit comes from the way the bit rotates around the top on the shank once the curb strap engages, thus applying pressure against the bars and tongue. The essence of the gag is that it moves the mouthpiece higher in the mouth, not against the bars.

 

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That first bit is a curb. Meant for a single rein that you can drive with or without leverage. The cheeks swivel and would be used for singles. Typically there is a curb chain. Don't know why there isn't on that one. I have driven horses in that bit with a chain but as I mostly drove a team or more I have military bits.
 
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