Since the ground was still a little squishy, rather than getting to go out an do hillwork, I decided to try something else. In our discussions of bitting for jumping, pelhams and elevators had some up, but I’d been reluctant to try one, because she can be so fussy about poll pressure, and I didn’t want to freak her out. But I finally figured what the hey, a plain single-jointed tom thumb pelham isn’t a bad bit to have in my bit box, and on just the snaffle rein, is no different in action than the baucher she happily does dressage in. Which is really the point–she CAN jump around nicely in a plain snaffle, but it would be much smoother if I didn’t have to occasionally use such dramatic half-halts to get her paying attention to me, rather than what she thinks she should be doing. And this gives me this by essentially letting me use a little leverage in addition to a plain snaffle. So it seemed well worth a try for us.
I don’t have a pelham rein, and didn’t bother picking one up when I bought the bit, as I didn’t want to spend money on an extra set of reins I’d use once. So I pulled out my hunter show reins, the laced reins that actually came with the bridle. Worked well enough, though it was a lot of rein. The bigger problem was the curb chain–it’s ENORMOUS. Like, I had to took it on the little ring in the middle that you can put a lip strap through, on the hook on the left side, and could still fit three fingers in it. I need to figure out how to pry apart the hook on the right side enough to adjust it, because Cally was a bit offended by half the curb chain thwacking her in the face.
BUT, she overall seemed pretty happy in the bit. I was able to ride her forward into contact in it, which is a big improvement over any of the other step-up-from-a-plain-snaffle bits I’ve tried. I didn’t actually jump in it, just rode a few circles and (trot) serpentines over a pole. No rushing, though she seemed really perturbed by the curb chain swinging and banging her as she cantered. So I need to figure out how to fix that better, and we’ll try it out for our jumping lesson on Friday and see what Kelley has to say, and how she goes when actually jumping something with it. Cross your fingers!