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HorseChannel's Online Bit Guide: Pelham

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Pelham Bit
The Pelham gives greater control to the rider than a snaffle
Pelham: There are rings for two reins on a Pelham bit. One is near the mouthpiece and is meant to function somewhat like a snaffle, using direct rein aids. The other is at the end of the shank, which employs the leverage action of a curb. Always use a curb chain with a Pelham, and make sure it lies flat against the horse’s lower jaw, in the groove just above the chin.

  • A Pelham with a very short shank is often referred to as a Tom Thumb.
  • Though not many hunters are shown in a Pelham, it is a popular bit in hunt seat equitation and medal classes because it gives the rider more precise control than a snaffle.
  • Short leather straps called bit converters can be buckled to both bit rings on each side of the mouthpiece, so that the rider can use only one rein, however, this eliminates the snaffle effect entirely.

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Reader Comments

Kathy    Prescott, AZ

7/10/2009 6:42:08 PM

Be very careful using any English bit with a curb chain. My horse once stepped on his reins so hard that he pulled the bit into his mouth where the hook holding the chain wrapped around the edge of his tongue and almost sliced the tongue off. Try and find a vet at 8PM on a Sunday! Horrible experience!

Katie    Clarington, OH

6/26/2009 8:31:51 AM

Thanks for the tips!

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