OUR cover image of Louise Bell and Out of Sight provoked one reader to write in to tell us her surprise at seeing a Pelham bit used with a flash noseband. We find out why Louise uses the two together, and if it’s permissible in other disciplines, as well as working hunter

Is it permissible to use both a Pelham and a flash?

EVIDENTLY so, as Louise and Out of Sight have been prolific winners wearing this bit and noseband combination, including in the 2006 working hunter championship at the Royal International Horse Show.

However, in showing, it is allowed in working hunter classes only.

Pelhams are not allowed under dressage rules, and double bridles may be used with cavesson nosebands only. In show jumping and the jumping phases of eventing, a Pelham can be combined with a flash or grakle noseband.

Why not use a plain cavesson instead?

“IN an ideal world, all horses would go in snaffles and cavessons,” says Louise. “I started using a flash noseband on Out of Sight to stop him putting his tongue over the bit — if he can get his mouth open, he tends to lean. He’s gone well in a Pelham and flash noseband since.”

Who else uses them?

“IT’S quite commonly seen in working hunter classes, as are Pelhams used with grakle nosebands,” explains Louise.

Several other riders were spotted with flash/Pelham or grakle/Pelham combinations in the workers at the Royal International, including Sophie Hooper-Smith on Classic Gold III.

“You can also see double bridles used with a flash or grakle, but I believe the noseband can then stop the bits working in the way they are meant to,” adds Louise.

This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (1 March, ’07)