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March 03, 2021 2 min read

Pelhams are a versatile bit used in many horse disciplines.

We recommend the Bomber Polo Pelham for horses that will not stop using a polo gag, and especially if you have tried and failed using a Barry Gag. 

Barry Gags (also known as Barrie Gags) create an enormous amount of tongue pressure (and pain) which many horses will fight against, by throwing their heads up or down, sticking out their tongues, and, frustratingly, by running through the bit. The bit can also tend to cut the side of their mouths.  

Pelhams exert strong pressure on the horse's jaw, in the form of a curb chain under the chin and two reins - one direct rein, and another rein on the shank which acts to curb the horse's head under.

Sometimes in a pelham you can lose a bit of lateral movement (compared to a gag), but you gain check and stopping power. 

Where gags tend to raise the horse's head, pelhams pull the horse's down and under, often creating more acceptace of the bit. 

Many horses that do not respect the tongue pressure exerted by a Barry Gag will respond better to the pelham, which exerts pressure across the jaw of the horse. The pelham pressure is spread over a wider area, so is more comfortable/less painful but also stronger and harder to pull against. 

There are different mouthpieces available in the pelham - the strongest being the Coscojero. We stock the McHardy (a strong three-piece jointed bit with a roller on top of the tongue), Happy Tongue (a curved solid mouthpiece with a port over the tongue) and the Bomber Blue(the same as a Happy Tongue with light nylon composite material which is slightly softer on the bars of the jaw).

A Bomber Polo Pelham has a shank of 75mm which will have a strong curb effect. A smaller 55mm shank can also be requested as a custom order.  

A connector piece can be used if you want to use only one rein on the pelham, but this is not recommended for polo. 

A pelham is an indispensible bit to have in your collection - you can use it to tune horses up for a few weeks, and then switch back to a gag if you prefer. 

With a 75mm shank, the chain should be tight enough to allow at least 2-3 men's fingers to fit underneath it, between the chain and the horse's jaw. This will be enough space for the chain to release when you release the reins, and tight enough to engage when you pull back. The curb chain must always sit flat and never be twisted.

A rubber cover can be used over the chain for the horse's comfort. Bomber Polo Pelhams are all supplied with wide flat curb chains that are comfortable but strong on the horse's jaw. Important to check the bars of the horse's mouth regularly under the tongue to ensure no lesions or bruising. 

 Happy checking. 

 



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