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File:Kimberwicke bit.JPG
An Uxeter or slotted kimberwicke, with the rein on the lower slot, making the action harsher

A Kimberwicke, Kimberwick or kimblewicke is a type of bit used on a horse. The bit has bit shanks, D-shaped rings, and a curb chain. Due to its shanks, it is regarded as a type of curb bit. The curb action is minimal to mild, however, because the shanks have short purchase arms and no lever arms (see Lever). Some variations increase the curb action. A kimberwicke is used with one set of reins.


The "D" ring is offset, so the mouthpiece is on the upper part of the flat side of the D, creating a small amount of leverage, supported by a curb chain. This allows the kimberwicke to have a mild curb bit effect and it keeps the bit from moving too far in the mouth, which does not occur with a snaffle bit (a direct pressure bit).

Like the pelham and curb bits in general, the kimberwicke has bit shanks with purchase arms. However, unlike these other bits, its shanks have no lever arm. Due to the purchase arm and geometry of the rings, the rings may function as very short lever arms and create a small amount of leverage, which puts this type of bit into the curb bit "family." The curb function varies with the style of bit: slotted kimberwickes provide the option of more curb action, whereas unslotted kimberwickes are very close in function to the Baucher bit, which most users regard as a snaffle bit, and to the pelham bit when the snaffle rein is used.

Depending on the position of the rider's hands, the standard kimberwicke has very mild curb effect when the rein is allowed to slide freely along the curved portion of the D-ring. However, one popular design, the Uxeter kimberwicke, has slots in the curved portion of the ring, so that the rein may be fixed into one position. This increases the curb effect, especially when the rein is placed on the lower of the two slots.

Kimberwickes have a variety of bit mouthpieces, including a solid, unjointed "mullen" mouth, a single-jointed mouthpiece, and a solid, ported mouth.


Kimberwickes are not as widely used as snaffles and pelhams, and are illegal in some horse show competition classes, notably dressage and show hunter. Kimberwickes are regarded by some people as unconventional or non-"classic", and the compromise design[citation needed] may lead some horses to either overflex in the bit or learn to lean on it. However, they do offer the rider a slight curb effect without the risk of a shank getting caught on something, which is useful for contact sports, such as polocrosse, and provide a bit more control than a snaffle, which can be helpful for smaller riders on strong horses. They are seen commonly on ponies.

References and external links


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