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The Million Dollar Bit

Jenna Albarado & Nike


FAQs on Bits

Do you have Bit questions?

We've got it covered!!

The bit that you choose is directly related to the results that you are trying to achieve. That's why there are so many different types of bits. Here we will explore three different categories of bits; training bits, bits for both competition and tuning, and finally, competition bits.

Martha using the Josey Western Store Equipment

"The proper bit can make the difference between winning and losing."
Martha Josey

Training Bits

I begin training a horse for barrel racing by teaching fundamental body movement. This horse must understand and respond to the basic rein aids. He should stop, back and move literally. The training bit I choose depends upon how this horse uses his body and how sensitive he is to the bit. Another factor affecting this selection is the speed at which I will be working the horse. I may use more bit when speed is increased during training.

The O'Ring and D-Ring Snaffle Bits are the most commonly used to start young horses. If I am starting a young horse from scratch, I'll definitely use one of these bits. For the older or more experienced horse, I use a Draw Bit or O'Ring Combination. An important thing to remember is to start with the lightest bit possible and progress from there. It is difficult to move backwards, as a horse that had been roughly handled with a severe bit will develop a "hard mouth" and becomes non-responsive to bit pressure. This is characterized by a horse that leans into the bit, stiffens his jaw and neck or runs off out of control.

Draw Bit and D-Ring Gag
Has a broken mouthpiece with the headstall running through the bit and directly connected to the reins. When the rein is pulled, the bit slides upwards, and the headstall applies pressure behind the ears, making the horse flex and collect at the poll.

O'Ring Combination
w/Mullen Mouthpiece

ORing Combination w/Mullen Mouthpiece

Working the same was as the three-piece version, the straight mouthpiece works well on a horse that already has a lot of bend. It also helps make a snappier turn.

 

O'Ring Combination
w/Three-Piece Snaffle

ORing Horse Riding Bits

Good for both training and competition, the broken mouthpiece offers a lot of bend, and the rope noseband works on the horse's face for more even distribution of bit pressure. These bits work for heavy-handed riders since the pressure isn't directly on the horse's mouth.

 

"Bits for Training and Competition

When making the transition from schooling to competition, I like to move into a little more bit. By this time, I know my horse's strengths and weaknesses. I know his style of turning and how much help he needs on the pattern. During this phase, I really like the O'Ring Combination. This type of bit has the direct pull that the horse is accustomed to from a regular snaffle, but also has a little gag action, plus the addition of a rope noseband which enables me to gain control of the horse's nose and keep his body in correct alignment. I also like the Banana Bit during this phase. With its gag action and the option of the short or long shank, I can get just the right feel of my horse.

Banana Bit

bits for horses

This is a great bit for getting a lot of bend in your horse. Available in long or short shank depending on the amount of leverage you need on your horse. The sliding action of the gag gets your horse bending at the poll, encouraging him to be supple.

 

 

 

 

Short-Shank Combination

Short Shank Riding Combination

The three-way action of this bit makes it work well on a variety of horses. The rope noseband brings the nose around in the turn, the broken three-piece mouth has a lot of bend, and the chain under the chin works to rate your horse at the barrel.

 

Competition and Training Bits

 

Long Shank Combination

long shank bits

Same as the Short-Shank version, the shanks are longer to provide the rider with more leverage and more "Whoa".

 

Combination with Steel Noseband

steel noseband

Available in a Short or Long Shank, the steel noseband allows for more control and "Whoa".

 

Olympic Bit
(shown w/three piece twisted mouth)

olympics

Ideal for the various stages of training. The reins can be hooked to the upper ring for an O'Ring effect or snapped to the lower rings for more leverage.

 

Go-Around Gag

1

A stiffer type of bit with a Mullen Mouthpiece, it provides excellent handling qualities. Notice the "stops" on the shanks to minimize the sliding action of the gag and keep the mouthpiece in place.

 

Go-Around Gag w/Rope Noseband

1

The rope works over the nose to help collect the horse and bring his face around for the turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifter Bit

2

In addition to offering a lot of "Whoa", this bit allows the rider to pick up on the shouldering horse and straighten him, correctly align his body and allow more room for the turn.

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