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Description, Action and Uses of a Kimberwick

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Uxeter Kimblewick

An Uxeter Kimberwick. A plain Kimberwick bit would not have the slots along the sides of the D rings.

Image: K. Blocksdorf

Kimberwick or Kimblewick?

Both the names Kimberwick and Kimblewick refer to the same bit. The Uxeter Kimblewick or Kimberwick is a variation, with a slightly different action when the reins are pulled. You might not be able to show your horse in this bit, so check the show rules before arriving. The bit is named after the town, Kimblewick in Britain, where it first was introduced.

Appearance:

The mouth piece of the Kimberwick terminates at the top of ‘D’ shaped rings. The rings of the Uxeter Kimberwick have slots in them. Kimberwicks can have straight mouthpieces, jointed or a straight mouthpiece with a port. There is a small ring to attach the curb strap or chain. A Kimblewick should always be used with a curb strap or chain to prevent the bit rotating back too far in the horse's mouth. The mouth peice may be of copper, or

Uses:

This is a bit commonly used in general riding and provides more curb action to a horse that may be a strong puller or needs slight curb action to lower its head. It can not be used in dressage and many hunter classes, although you may see it on field hunters. For trail riding it may be useful or in any situation where a curb bit might be handy, but the shanks of a traditional curb bit might get caught up in things. It is occasionally used for driving. It is quite common to see ponies wearing these bits. This is a bit commonly used in general riding and provides more control on a horse that may be a strong puller or needs slight curb action to lower its head. It is quite common to see ponies wearing these bits.

How It Works:

A Kimberwick is a curb (leverage) bit. The further the reins slide down the D ring, the more leverage is applied. On the Uxeter Kimblewick the reins can be attached through the slots to keep them from sliding. If the reins are placed in the lower slot the bit will have more curb action than the upper slot. If the rider holds their hands a bit higher, the reins will stay high on the rings of bits with no slots in the rings. Lowering the hands will cause the reins to slide down the ring, and cause more curb action.

With either type of Kimberwicke, the curb chain or strap prevents the bit from rotating too far in the horse’s mouth. When the reins are pulled back, the bit applies pressure to the bars of the mouth, the chin and the poll. If there is a port, there may be pressure on the roof of the mouth. Because the bit has the equivalent of very short shanks, the curb action is relatively mild.

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