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The Pelham Bit. Multi-purpose horse bits.

The majority of horse bits follow the principle of either direct pressure or leverage pressure.  The Pelham bit somewhat like the Swiss Army Knife tries to put these features into one .  However the Pelham is not necessarily having all your Christmases at once, and like all horse bit choices it requires some careful evaluation of what the problem actually is that you are trying to solve, and what type of bit or attribute of a bit might help address that problem.

Bascially horse bits are split into two main categories. Snaffles are what are called direct pressure bits where force is applied directly to the bit and on to the horse. Curbs bits are leverage bits where the force is applied via reins to cheek pieces that act as levers so a stronger horse can in theory be controlled by the same forces used with a Snaffle. It is much more preferable to think of the horse bit as a signaling mechanism rather than a controlling mechanism . In other words the horse does what you want him to do happily because during your training together your have instilled in your horse that specific signals created by specific rein control require that the horse does specific things.  Going with the principle of signals therefore, sometimes one needs to switch to a stronger signaling mechanism for certain situations.  The vast majority of the time good snaffle use is sufficient to keep the horse in line but now and again the extra leverage of a Curb would just bring the horse back on track.  

Once you decide you need to tweek your snaffle work with a bit of curb action, the solution often is to fit a double bridal such as a weymouth and bradoon, where the weymouth provides the Curb mechanism and the bradoon is the Snaffle part.  The bits are truly used independently so require a good degree of horsemanship to work with two sets of reins .

There can be an obvious problem here with the sheer amount of metal or rubber you are expecting the horse to comfortably accommodate in their mouth.  Do not go down the road of sourcing these two bits with very narrow wire mouthpieces just to force the issue of getting this to work . This is potentially cruel. Don't to it.  

The solution to this issue can be the Pelham bit. It provides in one unit the features of a snaffle and a curb bit.  The direct force of a snaffle can be achieved with one set of reins via the single mouth piece and the occassional stronger signalling achieved via the curb rein again via the single mouth piece.

All the features that one may look for in a snaffle and curb can be obtained in a pelham such as high port pelham, rubber or vulcanite mouth pieces or longer cheek lengths.  If you are migrating from a Snaffle try going for one similar to the Snaffle you currently use.  Consider also going for a slightly softer mouth piece to begin with as don't forget the Pelham will be curbing the horse and the force may be a lot more than he is currently used to . However don't necessarily expect the Pelham to work identically to the equivalent double bridal as the Pelham is a slight compromise. 

As usual we make our final point.  Apply a liberal amount of common sense when considering your need for something like the Pelham and the needs of the horse must be paramount according to its individual circumstances.  Be the best rider you can be first and don't try and address lack of your own riding ability with a silver bullet horse bit!

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