Bits and ponies

Con mom

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Aug 12, 2020
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Hi all

I have a 4 year old cob who was broken to ride back in September. She’s going well and isn’t spooky or silly. Schooling wise she will do pretty much everything I ask of her, however when my 9 year old daughter rides she gets very nappy and will stick to the outside of the school eg refuses to even walk a circle let alone trot. She throws her head down to the ground, even with a daisy rein she pulls her head as far forward as possible and generally makes it impossible to turn her. We lunge her and long rein regularly and she’s fine with this.
A friend and daughters instructor has suggested a Pelham bit to give my daughter more control, which I’m happy to do. Any other suggestions or tips? I really don’t want to give up on her as I know she’s capable in the school but just need to get my daughters confidence back.

thanks
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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Hi, and welcome to the forum.

My understanding of a pelham is its a strong bit. Do you really want to put a strong bit in a freshly broken horse. You might make the horse too hard in the mouth at a very young age. I was told that a pelham in the wrong hands can cause a horse to go up and over if pulled to hard. I would ensure that you get proper guidance from your instructor if using the pelham.
Im not very experienced in bits, there are others on here that have far more knowledge and advice, but i would be a little hesitant.
 
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Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Hi welcome 🙂

In my opinion a Pelham should be ridden with double reins as it was intended which might be a challenge for small hands, roundings are often used to allow a single rein to be used but by doing so you loose refinement.
I’m not anti Pelham, I use one myself, but it’s a big jump up from a snaffle and I think there’s lots of other options out there that might be better suited to a young horse and rider, a Pelham is a strong bit. Perhaps investing in a session with a bit consultant might be best to ensure you find the best solution for both 🙂
 
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carthorse

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Jan 6, 2006
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I hate to say it but I think the problem is your daughter rather than the pony. It sounds like your youngster is looking for more guidance and support than your daughter can provide and changing the bit isn't going to change that and my in fact cause new problems. Does your daughter have to ride her, or is there something else she could ride for now? She could go back and try again when your cob is more established in her work, more balanced and not so reliant on the rider because she knows more about the job herself.

Re the pelham, it's a bit I like if used properly with double reins and educated hands. I do not like them used as a blunt instrument which I'm afraid is what's being suggested here. The fact that your daughter's instructor has suggested this for a young rider on a young cob that hasn't been broken long makes me question the quality of teaching that you're paying for.
 

Con mom

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Aug 12, 2020
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Thank you, happy to experiment with bits, I’ve only ever had to use a happy mouth snaffle and i ride her in one quite easily! It seems pony knows my daughter isn’t as strong and can get away with doing as she pleases! I just wondered if there was any other things other than changing the bit that I could try just to break this habit, which I’m pretty sure once she starts listening to my daughter she will continue to do so. My daughters instructor will always be there when trying anything new things

thanks
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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The fact that she’s easy in her current bit for you, I think @carthorse hit the nail on the head really, your daughter needs to learn to be more effective with her aids and to instil confidence in the pony, it should not be a question of strength. If she’s not at a stage in her riding that she’s capable of teaching a young horse good manners then unfortunately she is teaching bad habits every time it doesn’t work out. It’s really difficult, but the old saying of green on green = black and blue unfortunately so often stands true. Getting a really good instructor on the case to work with your daughter to improve her riding, possibly on another pony would be ideal.
 
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