View Full Version : Kimblewick Bit
19th May 2002, 08:04 PM
I was thinking of using a Kimblewick bit on my horse, she is a 16hh throughbred mare. I have just started Dressage and was marked down for her not being properly on the bit. When I ride her she puts her head in the air and waves her head about, I am now using a running martingale on her, she has brought her head down a bit but still waves it in the air. Do you think that a Kimblewick would help and can you use curb chains on throughbreds, as I read somewhere that thoughbreds have long jaws and curb chains aren't recomended.
19th May 2002, 09:24 PM
I use a kimberwick on my TB, although I wish I didn't have to. It is terribly ugly. The curb chain works fine; I haven't had any problems with it, but she has more of a QH head and most people think she is an Apendix, not fullbred. I don't see why there would be a problem as I do see several TB using kimberwicks although they are not really preferred. I think I am actually going to be switching to a waterford because it looks more tradition yet still gives me addition control. That won't help you if your problem is the head throwing. The kimberwick helps if your horse pokes her nose out in front of the vertical, not really if they throw their head around. I would talk to some instructors and start taking some lessons to teach you how to get rid of the problem.
19th May 2002, 09:52 PM
what bit is she in at the minute? a stronger bit isn't usually the answer to head tossing, as it's normally caused by discomfort of some kind. i'd be inclined to get her checked out by a vet to eliminate teeth, back, tack etc problems, then go for some lessons to see if there's anything an "eye on the ground" can see that you aren't noticing from on top. i'd also try different variations of the bit she's in at the minute before trying anything stronger, like changing the type of mouthpiece, or loosering/eggbutt first.
has she just started the head tossing, or is it a long term thing? if it's a recent development, i'd strongly suspect teeth problems or other physical discomfort - if you've just started doing dressage she may have changed shape as she's gotten more muscly and be uncomfortable in her saddle.
19th May 2002, 10:03 PM
trouble is that "on the bit" is a misnomer, because it is about the whole horse not the bit. I know you know that, but the only way a kimblewick would help is if it also got her hindquarters engaged, back working, etc etc.
And if you could do all this, you would not need the kimblewick !
You may end up with a "fake" set of head and jaw with the rest of the body still doing weird and terrible things. And actually this would be quite uncomfortable for you and horse and would probably result in more problems.
The martingale would seem to be limiting the head waving as long as you have it in place. But if she reverts when you take it off, then it is not simply that she does not understand. It could be a question of either education or fitness.
I'd go for checking out the obvious culprits - back, teeth, saddle etc. Then if given the all clear go for a "back to basics" education going for long low and relaxed to start off, working straight and forward, helping your horse re-establich how to balance without throwing the head up, then gradually work at building a more advanced outline.
(I have a one sided horse myself and though its dead tempting to cut straight to the chase with more advanced stuff, as she has quite a nice basic outline, I know I will regret it later if I don't get the basics right now. So are working on straight, forward, relaxed. Even though we could "fake" a good attempt, I'd rather wait for the real thing !)
20th May 2002, 10:34 AM
Kimblewicks are not legal for dressage, has to be a snaffle at lower levels, double bridle is allowed from elementary upwards. You don't say what sort of bit she is currently wearing. TBs often have a very small mouth and resent the nutcracker action of ordinary snaffles. The two types of bit I've found that work best in TBs are either a JP eggbutt snaffle or a french link snaffle. I train someone who had exactly this problem with her TB event mare and she settled happily in one of my JP eggbutts (she is still wearing it 6 years on) for dressage and wore a kimblewick for the jumping and cross-country phases
20th May 2002, 11:40 AM
My ex-racehorse used to fling his head about when I got him. It was just a combination of exitement and temper for being made to do as he was told. It was tempting to put a stronger bit in him (I use a french link) but he has a big lump under his jaw, just where curb chain would go, and I suspect that in his track days (he was a hurdler) someone tried to steady him with a curb and caused this permanent lump.
After a teeth check, and a visit from the chiropractor to get his back sorted, one of my trainers suggested a german device - an elasticated chambon. It is like a bungee that goes round the poll, through the bit on either side, then clips round the girth. You can ride in it, but not jump. I got mine from Inches saddlery - they do mail order and have a web site, though I can't find their catalogue just now to post them. (sorry) Basically, it makes it harder work for the horse to fling its head up, but it doesn't restrict it. So it can still raise its head, but it takes more effort, and the horse soon figures that its easier to lower its head, after which you can then work on engaging quarters and rounding. I liked it, because it doesn't have the on/off action of a martingale - the action is progressive according to how much the horse raises its head. Once my chap got in the habit of accepting his bit, and stopped throwing wobblies when he got told to walk, then I stopped using it. But for a couple of months it helped enormously ecouraging him to be a bit more sensible learning to hack out.
I would endorse what the others have said, and not use a curb. I much prefer the elasticated chambon to a martingale for training purposes (with the aim of not needing either long term) and would recommend it, once you have checked all other potential problems. It may be that you just need to spend more time building up the correct muscles for your horse, so I'd also endorse going back to basics for a while, and spending more time schooling and hacking in a good rounded outline. I'm at the stage with my chap of doing a little shoulder in, and working on lots of transitions to engage quarters and get his forehand up. I know if I've done too much for one session because he becomes uncooperative and starts resisting and hollowing. I don't beat him up and bully him when that happens - I just do something he finds easy to end on a good note, and then make a note to myself not to work for so long next time.
Hope this rambling gives you some ideas, and some hope. Good luck with your horse, and don't be too impatient to advance too quickly.
20th May 2002, 05:14 PM
Thanks for all your replies, at the moment I ride her in a jointed eggbut snaffle, she goes all right in it apart from the headshaking.
I have had a new saddle fitted, a wintec with changable gullets, so is she changes shape i can fit it to her size.
She works from behind really well and has alot of impulsion, she does turns etc well. I think the problem is that she gets too excited and because she is stuborn (being a tb this is easy to understand) she says 'just let me have fun mom, i don't want any of this boring Dressage'. She hates double jointed bits, she goes mad if i use one on her, I need something that will say, 'hey, listen to me' and i thought a kimblewick would be it, as you can take the curb off and it has the same action as a snaffle.
If anyone knows of anything that will have this effect, as i don't really want to go back to basics with her because i'm going to college soon and i want to do loads of competition etc and do Poney Club.
20th May 2002, 09:28 PM
This is a bit of a contraversial method, but it worked for me and also Bailey who posts here too.
Kally did the same thing with me-head tossing. Nothing worng with teeth back or tack, so I was advised to fit a standing martingale. (What I actually did was fit the running m/gale as a standing one) Anyway, after 2 weeks the headshaking was gone. I took the m/gale back to a running one, and things have been fine since then.
However, I was told (after I had fitted the standing!!) that the first time a horse feels one, it is likely to rear up and fall over backwards due to feeling restricted. And as Kally obviously didn't do this, she is likely to have had one on in the past. Because of this, you may want to lunge in it first.
22nd May 2002, 09:34 AM
isn't it nweird that no one seems to do a D ring straight/mullen mouth snaffle ?
After thats all a kimbleiwck without the curb would be. And I know someone else who is looking for one too.
Anyone out there seen such a mythical bit - please post where !
22nd May 2002, 02:55 PM
I've seen them before. And that isn't how the action of a kimblewick would be with the curb chain-you'd still get poll action, if only slightly, from the kimblewick.
23rd May 2002, 09:05 AM
Our pony doesn't like jointed bits either. We use a Kimblewick for hacking and cross country so the kids have brakes. For showing and dressage we found she went very well in something called a 'magic mouth' which is a stainless steel loose ring bit with a straight bar and a small port. Works well for us and the judges can't tell your're not using a snaffle!
24th May 2002, 06:39 AM
If you go to www.tackswaps.co.uk and look through the auction items they have a rubber mullen mouth Kimblewick. It's the only place I've seen a rubber one, all the others I've seen are metal and/or have ports.
24th May 2002, 03:14 PM
I've bought a kimblewick now to try on my horse. I went to fit it last night and it says in all the books i have read that a pelham and straight bar bits, (i suppose a kimblewick is the same thing), should be fit so that there are no wrinkles in the corner of the mouth. Well, I tried this last night and when she was getting used to it she chewed it, the cheekpieces of the bridle were sticking out the side, do you think the bit is too low in her mouth or not? I'm not sure how it should fit, her other bit fit in her mouth fine.
25th May 2002, 05:43 AM
Is your bridle leather? If it is it might just be that it's a bit stiff and that's why it sticks out.
My horse wears every bit so that there are no wrinkles in her lipse've been through a few trying to find the right one, she's in a rubber mullen mouth now with a mullen mouth pelham if we go somewhere new and/or exciting). She's much happier with it this way, quieter in her mouth, softer and isn't afraid of reaching for it.
Of course, there's always someone who will tell you it's too low but I tend to just smile and say I'll try raising it, then walk off and forget about their "advice".
25th May 2002, 10:47 AM
I've seen this happen too - not because the cheek pieces were stiff, but because the horse was lifting the bit in their mouth.
I'm not a Parelli expert, but I know they tend to have bits lower, partly to encourage the horse to take responsibility for where it sits (obviously not so low that it bangs their teeth).
If the bit is "comfy" at rest, I don't really see that it is a problem. But you might want to get an observer to watch while you ride and check its ok at work as well.
I think the basis for having the bit higher is to prevent the horse from putting its tongue over the bit. If your horse is not doing this, and seems comfortable as things are, why change ?
25th May 2002, 04:11 PM
I tried the bit on her today, when we are standing still she raises it in her mouth, but when we are moving she works on it really well, I think she is just testing it. Thanks everyone for your suggestions, I've found a bit she works well in, hurrah. Tasha
28th May 2002, 01:06 PM
Originally posted by Tina J
After a teeth check, and a visit from the chiropractor to get his back sorted, one of my trainers suggested a german device - an elasticated chambon. It is like a bungee that goes round the poll, through the bit on either side, then clips round the girth. You can ride in it, but not jump. I got mine from Inches saddlery - they do mail order and have a web site, though I can't find their catalogue just now to post them. (sorry) Basically, it makes it harder work for the horse to fling its head up, but it doesn't restrict it. So it can still raise its head, but it takes more effort, and the horse soon figures that its easier to lower its head, after which you can then work on engaging quarters and rounding. ingale for training purposes (with the aim of not needing either long term) and would recommend it, once you have checked all other potential problems. It may be that you just need to spend more time building up the correct muscles for your horse, so I'd also endorse going back to basics for a while, and spending more time schooling and hacking in a good rounded outline.
Excellent advice. The device is called a neck stretcher in the U.S. and can be found at Tack in the Box and I think StateLine Tack. Both have websites... http://statelinetack.com/ and http://www.tackinthebox.com/ although it seems to take a long time for them to get shipped to you. It is a terrific, gentle training aid. It teaches the horse to self-correct, so you can work on other things. The only other thing I would advise is to do as above with lots of work on engaging and also trying to get the horse on the bit with aided means. Sponging the inside rein while doing circles and serpentines works wonders.
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