Q&A: Alternatives to double bridles

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  • Q: I want to show my horse but I’m reluctant to use a double bridle because I don’t think he is ready for two bits. Can you recommend any alternatives?

    Hilary Vernon BHSAI replies: The Rugby pelham, which comes in a variety of mouthpieces, is a good alternative to a double bridle for the showring.

    Tobe used correctly it should be fitted onto a double bridle so the “bridoon” ring is attached to the slip head on the bridle. This stablises the floating bridoon ring and gives the overall appearance of a double bridle, before close inspection.

    Fitting a rugby pelham

    The bit should fit comfortably into the corners of the horse’s mouth, so there is about one wrinkle on each side. The horse’s lips should not be uncomfortably drawn up andthe bit should not drop down if your horse opens his mouth.

    The pelham should be a little wider than the horse’s mouth to prevent rubbing or pinching, but not so wide that it can be pulled from side to side. It should be fitted with a lipstrap to stablise the curb chain.

    The buckle on the sliphead of the double bridle should always be fastened on the horse’s off side so there are an even number of buckles on each side.

    Practise riding your horse in the bridle at home before going to a show. In adult showing classes the judge will normally ride your horse so get him used to being ridden by different people in the rugby pelham before your first competition.

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