COBS and hunters can sometimes be heavy in the hand and, for some showing riders, the Sam Marsh Pelham helps lighten the load. We find out who uses it, and why.

What is a Sam Marsh Pelham?

AS a pelham, this bit applies pressure to the poll and chin groove, where the curb chain lies, and also works on several points of control within the mouth. As it has a flat mouthpiece, the Sam Marsh predominantly applies pressure to the tongue, and has a port. The mouthpiece lays flat in the horse’s mouth.

What horses does it suit?

THE Sam Marsh is known for being useful for strong horses that lean on the bit. It promotes lightness in the hand, and is therefore popular for horses with fleshy mouths and tongues, such as cobs or hunters.

It is designed to give a clear signal to the horse, so must be used by someone who understands its action.

Who uses it?

SHOW horse producer Magnus Nicholson, who is joint-master of Scotland’s Kingdom Draghounds and is now based in Bedale, Yorks, uses the Sam Marsh Pelham on One For The Road, placed second in the small hunter class at HOYS in 2006.

“The bit isn’t as severe as people think,” says Magnus. “In my opinion, it is actually a relatively mild bit, as the sides work independently of the mouthpiece — this means the horse can’t ‘fix’ against the bit.”

Producer Heather Cook also used the Sam Marsh last year with her small hunter, Colorado, who was placed in the small hunter class at the Royal International.

Where can I buy one?

A Sam Marsh Pelham costs around £85. Contact Equiport, Tel: 01606 351685 www.equiport.com

This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (19 April, ’07)