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Pelham question: What would you do?
14

dappleton · 22/09/2011 10:50

Ok apologies as this is a bit long, but here goes....

Pony 14hh, 8ys, teeth checked 3months ago, ridden by lots of riders aged 8ys to small adults.
Was ridden in a french link, cheek piece snaffle - was ok but not perfect, could hack with breaks, could jump with control 'ish' could do a prelim dressage test, was fine. Would pull children around a bit and would always manage to get tongue over the bit, had a flash noseband that helped a little.

End of last year/early this year I had to stop riding him (because i was pregnant), he became a bit of a nightmare, started tanking off on hacks, running out at jumps, getting REALLY stubborn in the school. Really got to the end of my teather with him and changed his bit - I don't have access to a bit bank and the only thing I had that fit him was a pelham - he improved over night, even better than he ever was in the snaffle.

So, my question, if he was your pony would you:
a) leave him in the pelham even though not all his riders have steady hands (children/novices a lot of the time)
b) try something else, and if so what? keeping in mind he now has a harder mouth than before (so can't go back to old bit) and still has the tongue-over-bit problem (even though less with the pelham as it's vulcanated so less space IYSWIM).

Schooling, IMO, is not going to really help as I can still ride him in a halter - just seems that he's a bit of a one-person-horse and would have most other people off if they even tried!

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olderyetwider · 22/09/2011 10:59

I wouldn't let anyone without quiet hands ride in anything strong. Maybe he just isn't a child's pony/novice ride? If he was my pony I'd put him back in a snaffle and wouldn't let anyone ride him if they couldn't manage him

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marialuisa · 22/09/2011 11:04

Hmmm, are you using roundings on the pelham? If so you might get a similar effect from a wilkie (I know everyone loves to hate them but dpony is much happier in one than any of the softer bits Confused) and you'd then have a more normal level of worry about other people's hands.

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AlpinePony · 22/09/2011 17:28

Tbh I think a pelham is way lighter than many modern-used bits and/or noseband combinations.

I do see your problem though as I can mostly ride my mare in anything but others have hysterics. The easiest solution I found was to stop inexperienced/confident people riding.

Fwiw, you could go with roundings or for the curb rein you could get those coloured rubber reins for example and say 'I never want to see your fingers on the blue bit'.

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dappleton · 23/09/2011 10:16

Hi all, thanks for your advice.
Unfortunately he has to be ridden by different people to pay his keep.
I do use roundings.
I just feel sorry for him, he seems happy enough, I think its just me, when I see heavy hands I wince (and then get angry with whoever is riding) and wish I could think of another solution for him, but he is going so well i don't want to buy another bit just to find it's no good!

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AlpinePony · 23/09/2011 15:52

But I think you'd feel bad seeing heavy hands no matter if he was in an eggbut snaffle and cavesson noseband.

Don't watch? Only suggestion I have I'm afraid.

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frostyfingers · 24/09/2011 20:03

Can you try a rubber pelham, I believe they're not as strong and if you use a curb chain as well, keep it loose.

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AlpinePony · 24/09/2011 20:21

Trouble with rubber bits is that they don't encourage salvation so the horse is left dry-mouthed, not so great really. A good stainless steel bit will keep the mouth nice and wet so the bit will slip against the lips rather than pull skin.

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AlpinePony · 24/09/2011 20:22

Er, salvation = salIvation!

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Booboostoo · 24/09/2011 21:22

If this was a sudden change in behaviour I would be making sure there is no physical cause behind it first rather than changing the bit. Are his teeth up to date? A sore back or hind leg lameness can cause problems with tanking off so that's also worth discounting by having a vet examine him.

Personally I would not like to use a pelham as it is a strong bit and if he is ridden by many people some of whom might jab him in the mouth it might only be a temporary solution. I would try to sort out the tongue over the snaffle problem because a horse who gets his tongue over will tank off with no control. Have you tried a Sprenger Tornado? It's quite good for keeping the tongue where it should be!

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frostyfingers · 25/09/2011 15:40

Have his teeth been checked recently?

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dappleton · 27/09/2011 16:51

Yes his teeth are up to date, had them checked and filed about 3months ago, there was apparently nothing majorly wrong. He is in every way very healthy, never been lame in the 2yrs i've had him, he's young and supple and he has a strong back as he naturally works long and low.
I'll look into the Sprenger Tornado, never heard of it before but I do think that if I could solve the tongue-over-bit issue I could reduce the severity of the bit.
Thanks

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Loika · 20/10/2011 13:39

I tend to go the noseband route first before I change the bit to something stronger, so why not try a proper grackle if you have already got him in a flash? Half the time its evasion anyway. Then his riders will feel more control and not haul him about so much, rather than him set himself against the pelham? Just make sure it is fitted correctly and that should sort him out. Worked on my girl, although she did have a spectacular tantrum when she realised she couldn't cross her jaw anymore! Fine now! :o

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Callisto · 21/10/2011 13:14

If he is getting his tongue over the bit regularly have you thought of using an Aussie noseband? Otherwise, I second the suggestion of a grackle. I would far rather have a mild bit and a noseband that ensures the horse can't evade it, than a strong bit and a cavesson.

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Thistledew · 01/11/2011 21:35

I would disagree with frostyfingers re the tightness of the curb chain.

Fitting it loosely can actually make the bit more severe, as it allows more lever action on the poll before the chain comes into play. IMO, a curb bit should always be fitted with the chain flat, a lip strap, and no more than two fingers space between the horses chin and the curb chain.

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