A rather old fashioned bit I think now, as I see it so infrequently. I think the development of so many different gag type bits mean riders are tending to go down this route instead of the double reins or roundings on a Pelham.
I find it interesting reading back on my opinions in these older blog posts, and while I still don’t mind seeing the Pelham used correctly; I used to show Matt in one because he has a very small mouth and was more comfortable in that then the double bridle, I don’t like it being used by riders with poor hands, or stiff arms as it makes the horse engage it’s brachiocephalic muscles (those on the underside of their neck) and fix against the straight mouthpiece.
When used with the same intent as a double bridle, a horse can work correctly and come through from behind, which is why they’re useful for transitioning horses from the snaffle to the double bridle. I think I still prefer the more explicit action of a gag, severity depending on the type of mouthpiece and cheeks, when looking to improve control at speed – although equally I’d want to go back to basics if that was a problem!
I schooled a horse today who wore a Pelham, so I thought it was a good excuse to revise my knowledge of this bit and educate my readers.
As kids Pelhams were commonly seen, along with Kimblewicks, on strong and fast ponies. It isn`t dressage legal though, which is a great limitation of it`s use. Even when I was a bit older most of us used Pelhams instead of double bridles in the show ring. My pony has a tiny mouth so found two bits too much for his mouth. I always used two reins though so that it most mimicked the action of the double.
That`s where the Pelham comes from; it was developed in an attempt to replicate the action of the double bridle with only one mouthpiece. This bit also has a curb chain. For some people, it is a useful halfway house in the training of…
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