bitting - the action of a liverpool (driving) bit?


Jan 3, 2003
Just curious.....does any knowledgeable bitting type person want to explain the action of a Liverpool...relative to a pelham or similar? Obviously it depends on what setting it is on - I am talking about on first bar (the first slot) or rough cheek (rein fastened around the bar within the ring, as indicated on the diagram) which is the most common driving setting. I know that it will have poll action as a curb, but any further explanations - you never see driving bits explained like riding bits!


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New Member
Mar 27, 2001
on the rough cheek, i'd say similar to a kimblewick/hanging cheek, dependin ong how tight the curb is - you've got the curb action, but no real way for the poll or curb to come into play, since you don't have any way to make the top bit rotate forwards. so polll and curb would be limited.

then as you go down the slots, you've got more scope for the bit to pivot round the mouthpiece, the top bit to move forwards and the curb and poll action to come into play - so there, similar to a pelham with reins on the bottom ring only, or a plain weymouth with no bridoon.

what i'm not sure about is how the action changes because of the bit down the middle of the main ring that the mouthpiece is on, as opposed to a pelham where the mouthpiece is on one side of the ring...

with all of it, and any curb bit, the relative actions of the curbn and poll pressure depend how tight you have the curb chain. if it's tight, the bit can only rotate forward a little , so limited poll and curb quite soon. if it's loose, the top bit can go a longer way forward (poll pressure) before the curb chain comes into contact.
so how tight you have it would depend on whether you want poll or curb to be the primary extra action.


Active Member
Oct 23, 2001
isn't it a circle rather than a D simply so its the same design as a "reversible" ?

i.e. the "front" part of the circle is a bit of a red herring or may give slight cheek pressure. Other than that it is like a Kimblewick if you are on the "rough cheek"

The bit also seems to have some sliding action up and down, which will allow a bit more movement in the mouth (but may pinch).


Jan 3, 2003
yes it is a reversible bit :) and yes most liverpools have some sliding up and down of the mouthpiece too. You can also get them in jointed, french link, rubber etc (if you are prepared to pay £70+ per bit :rolleyes: ).

then as you go down the slots, you've got more scope for the bit to pivot round the mouthpiece, the top bit to move forwards and the curb and poll action to come into play - so there, similar to a pelham with reins on the bottom ring only, or a plain weymouth with no bridoon.

The bottom slot (in a 3 slot liverpool) is traditionally known as the 'duffers hole' as only 'duffers', or people who couldn't drive, need to put the rein there! It is very severe as you would guess.

Thanks, was just idly wondering (when I should have been working, I know:( ) what the variations in action were. So is there much difference do you think then between the rough cheek and top bar settings?

I can see I will have to go home and play with my Liverpools :)


New Member
Jul 20, 2002
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Not knowing anything about it I'll add my tuppence worth. I drive on first bar purely because I was informed that rough cheek gives very little curb action and first bar gives a fraction more. She's a big girl and probably needed it initially as being rather green and inclined to become a bit set. Second bar gives a lot more and of course third bar is very severe. Don't use either.
Funnily enough I was contemplating this the other day and had decided that I'll put her on rough cheek now as we both know a bit more about what we are doing. L


Jun 24, 2000
I was told that the rings acts as snaffle. So why cant I ride Rhi in a snaffle :confused: The first bar is for better control (cant get my reins in them) and the second is for out of control horses :D If you have to use the last I was told then you should not be driving that horse :D

Insidently I don't use a curb chain at all as you know Esther. Should I be. Ihave to say however since changing her Liverpool bit to he one Wally sent me has been brill. Wehter its more control or Rhi getting better I'm not sue as I do know my old driving bit does not have the grooves which Wally's does. I've got the groove side in her mouth so maybe its that that she likes. (everyone wiht me so far cause I've confused myslef whihc isnothard to do at the moment :)eek:)


Well-Known Member
Apr 16, 2000
Kina likes her Liverpool, smooth side to tongue, plain or rough cheek depending on how bouncy she is on the day.

I have found that there is a marked difference in rough and first hole.

Mind you all the Shetlands have demonstrated clearly that they hate a Liverpool and I use a Wilson Snaffle.

Have you tried a Butterfly Pelham?
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