Pelham Bits (Mullen, Jointed, Multi-Link, Ported, Horse rugby, Kimblewick, Roller, Twisted, Rubber, Happy Mouth, etc.) for Horses
The pelham bit is best described as an all in one double bridle that offers the action of a snaffle bit combined with the leverage action of the curb bit, but with less control and fine-tuning than a double bridle would allow.
Horses who have small mouths or large tongues often prefer a pelham to a double bridle due to less room being taken up in their mouths.
Most pelham bits are designed to be used with a snaffle rein and a curb rein which combined with the curb chain offers all-round pressure points. For riders who are not keen on riding with two sets of horse reins, there are pelhams such as the Kimblewick which are only used with one rein, alternatively, the pelham can also have roundings attached to the bit from which one set of horse reins can then attached, however, the bit’s action will not be as effective as when using two separate sets of horse reins.
Pelham Points Of Pressure
- Chin Groove
- Horse bits Corners
If a horse bit has a port the roof of the mouth will also be affected to the horse mouth.
The pelham like so many bits today has many sub-varieties with different mouthpieces and shank length available:
The shanks of Pelham bits have several rings for attachment, the upper ring is used for the bridle cheek pieces and it is on these rings that two hooks are found from which the horse curb chain is positioned. There is then a much smaller Pelham ring for the lip strap and below that is the ring for the curb rein. As a guide, the longer the Pelham shank the more leverage action the pelham bit will have.
There are several different mouthpieces available and each applies slightly different amounts of pressure depending on the type of mouthpiece chosen. It is worth knowing that thinner bits tend to be more severe than thicker ones whose pressure is more evenly distributed, however, there are exceptions to this rule, for example, some horses who have particularly large tongues and small mouths may find a thinner mouthpiece more comfortable than a thick one so the choice will, as usual, be down to your horses individual requirements.
Pelhams that are used with two horse reins offer the rider far more control and allow a more sensitive approach due to being able to use the curb and snaffle rein independently from each other.
Different types of Pelham Tack Bits
Straight Bar/ Mullen Mouth Pelham – The straight bars offer even pressure across the tongue and act against the corners and bars of the mouth, the poll and chin groove.
Jointed Pelham – Jointed pelhams produce a nutcracker effect when the horse reins are used causing pressure to the area of the link or links as well as upon the corners, poll, chin groove and bars of the mouth, an example of a jointed pelham is one that has a lozenge in the center.
Multi-Link – mouthpieces with multiple links offer several pressure points across the mouthpiece and often help to relax the horse’s jaw as the bit is more mobile, the shanks will also provide leverage action on the poll and chin groove, a type of multi-link includes the Waterford.
Ported Pelham – Pelhams with high ports act against the roof of the mouth, those with low ports often allow more room for the tongue and help to spread the pressure of the bit evenly across the tongue.
Horse rugby Pelham – The horse rugby pelham has an independent ring attached to the shanks for the snaffle rein attachment, this can help the bits action to more independently used by the rider.
Kimblewick bits – The kimblewick horse bits is a mild pelham bit in that it has a shorter bit shanks than a traditional horse Pelham bits and is only used with one rein in combination with the horse curb chain.
Roller Mouthpieces of horse bits – Roller mouthpieces on horse bits contain several moveable sections that roll against the horse’s tongue and help prevent the horse from taking hold of the bit helping to relax the horse jaw. Example mouthpieces include a copper roller with a single central link in a horse bit.
Twisted pelhams bits with twisted mouthpieces are a more severe mouthpiece
Pelham Bit Sizes
Horse Bits are measured from between the mouthpiece rings and are usually available in sizes ranging from 3, 3.5, 4, 4 1/4, 4.5, 4 3/4, 5, 5 1/4, 5.5, 5 3/4 and 6 inches.
Pelham Bit Materials
There are a variety of materials used such as:
Copper – copper bits can help encourage salivation.
Sweet Iron – sweet iron also encourages salivation due to its sweet taste.
Rubber – Rubber bits although soft on the horse’s mouth, some bits especially vulcanite can be a little bit on the chunky side and so may not suit every horse. Rubber bits are often used on youngsters due to their softer nature
SS – stainless steel horse bits are very durable bits famous and the majority of horses go very well in horse tack.
Fitting A Pelham
Horse bit pelham mouthpiece will rest in the corners of the horse’s mouth with 1/4 inch protruding either side of the mouth. The curb chain should be fitted so that when the lower arm of the pelham is at a 45-degree angle to the horse’s mouth then the curb chain will come into action within the chin groove.