Leverage Bits- Lift me ups part 1 March 9, 2015 07:31


The Pelham applies pressure to the poll, which encourages the horse to bend into a frame. When used with two reins, Pelhams have leverage. The longer the shank of a Pelham, the more strong and severe the bit. Pelhams are available in many lengths. The Pelham with the shortest shank (about four inches) is known as a Tom Thumb or a Baby Pelham. The longer shanks are usually five to six inches in length. The Pelham also applies pressure to the horse’s lower jaw in their curb groves and the mouth.

The Pelham works well with either one or two reins. Many would argue this bit should only be used with two reins but it would be very dangerous to make an inexperienced rider use two reins if they were not comfortable doing so. Pelham straps, otherwise known as Pelham convertors, have been used successfully by both professional and beginner riders for several years. When activated the top rein works similar to a snaffle by applying pressure to the horse’s mouth (differently depending on the mouth-piece of the Pelham). The lower rein, when activated, rotates and applies downward pressure.


Kimberwicke also called Kimblewicke

The Kimberwicke works similar to a Pelham but is significantly less severe. The Kimberwicke’s cheek is shaped like a Dee bit but with slots in the cheeks. The slots put the reins in a fixed position so they cannot move around the bit ring. When the reins are fixed, they engage the curb action of the bit. If the cheek slots of the curb rein were not used to fix the rein, the Kimberwicke would work as a Dee Snaffle. 


Weymouth Sets (Double Bridles)

Weymouth Sets should only be used by advanced riders and on horses that have been trained to understand a simple snaffle bit and a Pelham. Using a double bridle allows you to get extremely clear reins instructions to your horse because you are able to give directions using two bits. This bit set gives an advanced rider the tools to engage their horse’s entire body, especially the horse’s back end.

The Bradoon bit is fixed to your top rein. The Bradoon acts as a snaffle by applying pressure to the mouth, tongue and bars (depending on which type of Bradoon you use). The Bradoon gives your horse a lift but does not give your horse directions to bend into a frame or to stop.

Your Curb rein (bottom rein) is attached to the Weymouth bit. The Weymouth, when activated, applies pressure to the horse’s poll, encouraging the horse to lower their head into a frame. The Weymouth is also used to stop and slow the horse. The Weymouth also applies pressure to the lower jaw (chin groves) by activating the curb chain. The Weymouth should fit your horse’s mouth snuggly. The Bradoon will be slightly wider (by a quarter inch) than the Weymouth.



Curb Chains and Curb Straps

If a steel curb chain is too much pressure for your horse and your horse starts backing off, try wrapping the curb chain. There are many curb chain pads on the market such as gel or memory foam pads. To wrap the curb chain more economically, you can cut cotton gauze (Gamgee), wrap it around the middle of your curb chain and cover this with black vet wrap. You can also try using different curb chains; they are available in leather, nylon and elastic, etc.


The curb chain must be smooth, flat and adjusted correctly for the Pelham to work properly. Pelham and Weymouth bits often have a small lip strap ring above the curb ring.  The lip strap is a small leather strap, which prevents the horse from grabbing the shank of the bit with his lips. A lip strap is not usually necessary for most Pelham bits. The lip strap is useful when using a Weymouth set.


*Curb Chain details apply to the three types of bits described above: The Pelham, The Kimberwicke and Weymouth Sets Although they weren’t mentioned in the sections about these bits.