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Kimberwicke's

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PLEASE NOTE- I don't intend to USE a kimberwicke

I'm looking for a new bit (which will be cleared with my trainer before it gets anywhere near my horse!) and i ran across a kimberwicke. Now, I don't plan to use one but I've heard they're fairly severe and i'm kinda wondering why. It looks like a ported version of a snaffle? Can anybody explain this for me?

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I think so many people frown on them because they can be used as an "instead" As in..."Instead of training my horse to slow down off of my seat and body language, and instead of teaching her to give nicely at the poll in a snaffle, I'll put this kimberwicke in and have lots of stop from the mouth, and 'bending at the poll' (which is pretty much evading unless used right...)"

I use a Kimberwicke in my mare a few times a year...I normally use a myler d-ring or a copper eggbutt french link. I can put a kimberwicke in her mouth and ride her on the buckle and get such pleasant results from her...but I would never let anyone else ride her with that bit...it's all about misuse in the hands.

didn't really answer your question...haha. I'm from the arab circuit where kimberwickes are quite popular (and legal) but if you compare how an arab hunter goes to how an open hunter goes...you see the difference, right?

Edited by Serah Rose

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My issue with kimberwickes is that they are usually used like a snaffle, but they're not snaffles as they function off of leverage. So riders typically ride on contact with them, despite the fact that contact with a kimberwicke means jaw pressure *all* the time.

It is often used instead of proper training, or for kids who can't control strong horses. I don't really see a need or use for it in educated hands, because a well educated rider or trainer would probably never need one.

Out of every 100 people using a kimberwicke, there may be only 1 or 2 cases where it's really the best bit for the particular horse, IMO.

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The only time I had to use a kimberwick (other than on lesson horses... where it was not my choice) was on a horse who was a former A circuit jumper, whose old owner had strong hands... thusly he ended up with a mouth that was hard as a rock. Hacking in the ring I would just keep the kimberwick in his mouth, but instead of attaching the reins the the bottom hole of the bit, you can just ignore the holes and attach it to the bit as if you would a normal snaffle... and then thats what it becomes... a normal snaffle. He was great in the ring just listening to my seat but, there were times where I would need a bit more control. I would have to use it on him at shows... he would get frisky and it would take more effort to stop him with my seat... so I had the kimberwick if i needed it.

I don't think it is quite as harsh as you think... The PORTED kimberwicks are, thats for sure. But you can get a jointed, french link or straight bar kimberwick. These just add some extra jaw pressure when you need it, there are MUCH worse bits out there. If you are looking for that extra bit of control, then I would go with a jointed kimberwick.

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I occasionally use a kimberwicke on my tbx gelding when trail riding. However, he is very well trained/broke. Even though he is occasionally he gets a little strong on the trail.

With that said i use it for trail riding where most of my riding is done in a relaxed manner on a lose rein. It is not there to keep him from running off or spooking-there are better methods for that then pulling back on the reins. He is older and very old horse wise. I also dont use a ported on. He just knows that the chain is there and that is enough for him.

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The problem comes from the direct contact used in english riding - and then riding in a kimberwick with direct contact.

Bits that work off of leverage, as the kimberwick does, are not meant to be used with full contact, but rather light educated hands.

But putting pressed on Pookie's poll and getting the curb chain up into her chin work's to slow Pookie down with the 8 yr old bouncing around on her back - so people use them.

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My issue with kimberwickes is that they are usually used like a snaffle, but they're not snaffles as they function off of leverage. So riders typically ride on contact with them, despite the fact that contact with a kimberwicke means jaw pressure *all* the time.

It is often used instead of proper training, or for kids who can't control strong horses. I don't really see a need or use for it in educated hands, because a well educated rider or trainer would probably never need one.

Out of every 100 people using a kimberwicke, there may be only 1 or 2 cases where it's really the best bit for the particular horse, IMO.

Riders ride with contact in leverage bits all the time. You say it like it's a crime. I don't like the kimberwicke as it's not very adjustable, but you talk about riding with leverage contact like it's a bad thing. Riding a pelham, elevator, gag, mikmar or baucher without contact makes them rather useless. Contact is different than pulling, and floppy reins on a bit can mean it wiggles/bounces in the horse's mouth.

I agree that it requires educated hands, and any rider with enough education to have the hands for it probably would choose something more adjustable.

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\Hacking in the ring I would just keep the kimberwick in his mouth, but instead of attaching the reins the the bottom hole of the bit, you can just ignore the holes and attach it to the bit as if you would a normal snaffle... and then thats what it becomes... a normal snaffle.

No it doesn't. In a snaffle the cheek pieces attach to the same ring as the reins. With a kimberwicke the cheek pieces still attach to a loop at the top. The useage you describe is what the original kimberwicke was designed for. The slots were added later and the bit was then called an uxeter. (slotted uxeter, kimberwicke uxeter)

A lot of people, you included, are confusing a kimberwicke with a slotted uxeter. A kimberwicke does not have slots for reins. It can only be used as you describe.

This is a kimberwicke.

kimberwicke

This is what many people call a kimberwicke, but it's an uxeter. Where I'm from we call this a slotted uxeter. Some people also call this a kimberwicke uxeter. (hence the confusion) Notice that the mouthpiece is the same as the kimberwicke I posted above. It's just the slots on the side that make it a different bit.

slotted uxeter

A kimberwicke that's jointed or french link isn't really different from a baucher. Bauchers are acceptable dressage bits in french link or single jointed (and I believe in mullen mouth as well).

Ported kimberwickes or uxeters are more similar to curb/weymoth bits with short shanks.

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They are very similar to a pelham, but have a D-ring with slots in it to make them look more like snaffles and are designed to be used with just one rein. This makes them attractive to beginners and those too lazy to learn how to work 2 reins. :rolleye0014: They can be somewhat severe, and with any leverage bit with a curb chain, they should be used sparingly and in good hands in the right circumstance.

I have a kimberwicke in my barn as a tune up once in a while in case a horse starts leaning on the snaffle, but I wouldn't want to use one all the time.

Kimberwickes are the most severe when the rein is placed in the bottom slot. The leverage effect is lessened when the rein is placed on the top slot, and even less when allowed to slide on the D-ring.

It is best to keep at least 2 fingers' width between the horse's chin and the chain, otherwise even light contact will cause the chain to come into effect and essentially, your emergency brake is on all the time. I prefer a little more than 2 fingers' width.

A pelham (used with two reins) is a better choice because the snaffle and curb reins can be used independently. With a converter, a pelham is just a fancy looking kimberwicke. :winking:

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i dont much like the kimberwicks cause you are using the curb action ALL the time

i am a fan of (at the risk of being flamed) pelhams because you can use the curb seperately so you dont have to use it if you dont need it and i leave my chain long enough so that it only comes in effect when the bit comes at more than a 45 degree angle from vertical (so 2-3 fingers)

I also like it for the fact that my horse likes it, he goes in a baucher dressage and a pelham jumping becacuse he likes bits that hang more than rest on his tounge, and they dont wiggle around as much. and he likes a little more to not lean on but balance over his poll.

putting a converter on a pelham totally defeats the purpose of a pelham.

i am not a fan of either bit in the hands of an inexperienced person, or someone that doesnt have good hands and good feel, or someone who just slams one in a horses mouth cause they dont want to work through training

heather moffit wrote a really good book about riding in a pelham its called "enlightened equitation"

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i dont much like the kimberwicks cause you are using the curb action ALL the time

i am a fan of (at the risk of being flamed) pelhams because you can use the curb seperately so you dont have to use it if you dont need it and i leave my chain long enough so that it only comes in effect when the bit comes at more than a 45 degree angle from vertical (so 2-3 fingers)

I also like it for the fact that my horse likes it, he goes in a baucher dressage and a pelham jumping becacuse he likes bits that hang more than rest on his tounge, and they dont wiggle around as much. and he likes a little more to not lean on but balance over his poll.

putting a converter on a pelham totally defeats the purpose of a pelham.

i am not a fan of either bit in the hands of an inexperienced person, or someone that doesnt have good hands and good feel, or someone who just slams one in a horses mouth cause they dont want to work through training

heather moffit wrote a really good book about riding in a pelham its called "enlightened equitation"

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I ride my TB gelding at home 90% of the time is a loose ring french link snaffle...the other 10% I ride in a Kimberwicke and that's because I show him in a Kimberwicke and you have to practice in what you plan to show in. My gelding has a very educated light mouth, I like to show in the Kimberwicke because it minimizes the amount of movement I have to create to get a response and it's refines my rein aids so that I get a more flawless looking execution. I could get the same results in my snaffle but the judge would notice my hand movements a bit more and I just like looking perfect. It's just like using spurs, I can ride my horse without them, but I use them because it helps me refine and make clear my cues, especially since he has so many buttons that without them it would be easy for him to get confused.

So the Kimberwicke is not a severe bit because even a snaffle in uneducated hard hands can be severe, it's never the bit...always the hands at the other end of the reins :)

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Riders ride with contact in leverage bits all the time. You say it like it's a crime. I don't like the kimberwicke as it's not very adjustable, but you talk about riding with leverage contact like it's a bad thing. Riding a pelham, elevator, gag, mikmar or baucher without contact makes them rather useless. Contact is different than pulling, and floppy reins on a bit can mean it wiggles/bounces in the horse's mouth.

True, but all these bits act in different ways.

A pelham gives you control with two reins, so that the curb chain is not active all the time.

Elevators and gags don't have a curb chain at all, and operate off direct contact but also by squeezing at the poll. I don't much like having that action going on all the time either, but again, you can ride in those types of bits with two reins as well.

A baucher acts on the poll but not nearly as much as a gag or elevator, so I don't care much about them either way.

Mikmar bits - depends on which one you're talking about. But the combination bits, honestly I wouldn't ride on contact with those either.

I stand by my point that one needs to be very skilled and educated to use bits like these properly.

The biggest issue with the kimberwicke that I have is that it is a bit that is often used by riders who aren't there yet.

I personally do not like curb pressure on a horse all the time. Other people may have different preferences, but I find it too much bit for the majority of people who use it.

Leverage can be a helpful thing, and a horse and rider trained properly to it can be beautiful to watch. I'm an old fart inside, who likes seeing a nice hunter turned out in a double bridle, which you hardly ever see at all in the US.

I still think of kimberwickes as bits used by kids on headstrong ponies they can't control otherwise, or by people trying to put their horses in false headsets. The bit probably does have some use beyond that, but it seems 99% of the time I see them being used, it's in those two scenarios.

As far as riding a leverage bit on contact - I actually have the same issue with some designs of bitless bridles. :)

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Bauchers don't actually have leverage. Heck, they are legal in lower level dressage tests, which comfirms that!

A port doesn't make a bit severe, either. As long as it isn't tall enough that it acts on the roof of the mouth, a port can be a very mild bit to many horses. A single jointed mouthpeice has a lot of nutcracker when used with a leverage bit, making it a more severe choice.

I don't think it is a crime to ride on a leverage bit with some contact, with a very educated horse and rider pair. Think double bridles, where the snaffle is used and the curb is there to use on an as needed basis. Still, most people don't go around with the curb rein flapping, there is some contact on it.

I do think it is quite sad when I see people slapping a kimberwick or a pelham with a converter on a horse they can't control, or a horse whose mouth they have ruined. I most commonly see it locally with 4-h type kids who decide they want to ride huntseat on their WP horses they always ride in a curb.

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We use a kimberwicke on a pony at my barn.. We had a girl that is about 11 and the pony just took her for a run.. He didnt spook or bolt he just felt like running... So we put a kimberwicke on him and I have been riding him to work on slowing him down.

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I used to use a Kimberwicke on my old barrel racing mare. It worked great!!! I also used it when I showed HUS with her too! The Kimberwicke I used had a broken snaffle mouth piece( so not a curb, or Ive seen them broken in three pieces too). I liked the leverage on it and all the horses I have used it on respond very well, Its good for teaching a horse collection too!

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The Kimberwicke I used had a broken snaffle mouth piece( so not a curb, or Ive seen them broken in three pieces too).

Just as a random point, any bit that works off of leverage under the jaw, like a kimberwicke, is a curb, *regardless* of the mouthpiece.

The mouthpiece is not what makes a bit a snaffle either - snaffles can have a single, straight or curved mouthpiece (called a mullen), a single joint, two joints (KK, French link, dr. bristol) or many joints (waterford). A "snaffle" is a bit that works only from direct pressure on the mouth.

Just semantics, but it's good to know one's definitions.

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I never showed at any large shows I stuck to schooling shows when I wanted to go have fun with my mare. When I showed she was a western pleasure horse and was used to having the leverage, with that all said i rode her somewhat loose and with soft hands, she loved it! Not to mention it was prety cool to go out on a ranch horse and kick a** :) Like everyone said it kinda depends on the horse and the rider.

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