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Kimberwick and Pelham Bits

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Pelham Bits and Kimberwick Bits

Equestrian experts still have trouble agreeing whether the curb bit or snaffle bit is superior. Fortunately, with the Pelham bit and Kimberwick bit, riders can enjoy the benefits of both types of bits. These hybrid bits are two of the most popular horse supplies around and a worthy investment for any equestrian sportsman.

The Pelham horse bit is considered a hybrid bit because it has both the bit shanks and curb chain characteristic of a curb bit and the bit rings associated with snaffle bits. Like the double bridle, it is generally used with two sets of reins. One rein activates the mouthpiece of the bit to exert pressure on the horse’s lips and jaw like a regular snaffle bit. The second rein exerts pressure on the horse’s poll, similar to the action found in curb bits or gag bits. As such, the former rein is known as the “snaffle rein” while the latter is referred to as the “curb rein”. The Pelham bit often has an unfair reputation for being severe. In reality, the severity of a Pelham bit can be adjusted by the rider and depends on two factors – the position of the mouthpiece and the tightness of the curb chain. Snaffle bit users will know that the lower the mouthpiece, the stronger the bit pressure and the same rule applies with the Pelham bit. Curb bit users should be aware that the tighter the curb chain, the less forewarning the horse has before the curb action kicks in and the more severe the bit. As you can see, making the transition from a snaffle or curb horse bit to a Pelham horse bit is very easy.

The Kimberwick bit is less commonly seen and is often referred to as an unorthodox bit. It is used primarily by riders who would like the option of initiating a curb action, but prefer that the curb action be mild rather than severe. Like the Pelham bit, it is comprised of shanks, a curb chain and two bit rings, usually of the D-shaped variety. Riders seeking greater curb action will usually opt for the slotted Kimberwick. The more common type of Kimberwick bit, however, is the unslotted Kimberwick which most closely resembles the traditional snaffle horse bit. Which type of Kimberwick horse bit you opt for largely depends on the personality of your horse. The more defiant and ill-tempered your horse, the more likely you should be to include the more severe slotted Kimberwick bit among your horse supplies.