Bit advice, please!

I have a young WB gelding that I am trying to train for the Hunter ring. He has a HUGE canter stride. I have been working to teach him to collect and slow down, but my trainer decided that the French link snaffle I had him in wasn’t enough bit for me (he is 17+ hands, I am 5’2" [I bred him myself and he was supposed to stop at 16.2hh, but I guess no one told him]).

I have been riding him in a Mullen mouth Pelham with long shanks, at my trainers advice, and it has done wonders…he has learned to flex and has figured out how to shorten and slow his canter (mostly…still a work in progress).

Last week, I switched him back to his French link snaffle, and all he did was constantly chew it really hard and throw his head up. My trainer suggested that I try a single jointed Pelham with short shanks…he loved it.

I know I can’t use a Pelham in the Hunter ring. He now seems unhappy with his French link (maybe too much tongue pressure?). I have to buy him a new bit and don’t want to spend a fortune trying bits. Any suggestions to narrow it down? Do I just try a plain snaffle? Straight or curved (like the JP Korsteels)? Or maybe a Myler? :confused:

Any ideas or suggestions from anyone who has experienced a similar situation would be appreciated!! Thanks!

Pelhams are perfectly acceptable in the hunter ring.


  1. Bridle: The bridle may be double, pelham, single (snaffle) or kimberwick. It must be leather (not rubber covered), rolled or plain and may be buckled, sewn or studded (not snapped).
  2. Bits: All bits must be humane in nature. Snaffle bits may be with or without cheeks. Wire snaffle bits, either single or double are permissible. It is permissible to use a snaffle with fixed slots for cheek pieces and/or reins. Bit guards are not permissible.

If he’s done nicely in a mullen mouth Pelham or the single jointed Pelham, why don’t you try a mullen snaffle or a single-jointed snaffle?

Forgive me if I don’t know if those bits are legal for showing :smiley: (I too thought you COULD show in a Pelham) but I would try to match the mouthpiece of the snaffle to the mouthpiece of the Pelham that he goes well with, and see how he likes it.


I know I can’t use a Pelham in the Hunter ring. [/QUOTE]

I’m a USEF and Equine Canada hunter judge. Pelhams are perfectly legal and acceptable in the hunter ring. If your horse is in a great training program and that’s what he likes and goes well in…that’s what I would show him in. At 17+ hands and yourself only being 5’2", he just may not be a “snaffle ride” for you. There’s nothing wrong with that.

They are fine in the Hunter ring, Ive shown in them many times if thats what they go best in. Stuff like this is generally not to blame for poor placings in Hunters, just a convenient excuse for poor performance.

I love everything you just said