Danyelle Campbell on Barrel Racing Bits
Hi, I am Danyelle Campbell, and I want to talk to you today about barrel racing bits, what I like to use what works for me, their functions, and why I use them.
So, we’re going to start out here with the basic O-ring snaffle. Pretty much I ride all my young horses in this and actually do a lot of my groundwork, dry work on my older horses in this bit as well. Dave Elliott makes a nice typical smooth O-ring snaffle bit. I run a lot of horses in this bit, also my style of training tends to keep a horse really round in their turns, and I don’t like a lot of leverage to bind one up, and this takes away all of the leverage.
Another bit that I like to do a lot of training in is a rope draw gag. This bit gives a little more power. You can really get a horse to break at the pole and bend a lot. It gives you a lot of power with a bit without scaring a horse.
Another thing I’d like to talk about with bits are mouthpieces. So, the general rule of thumb is the more breaks that a mouthpiece has, the more bend you’re going to get. For example a chain mouthpiece is accepted very well by most horses, it will put a lot of bend in a horse.
The opposite side of the spectrum is a Mullen mouthpiece, it’s a nice short shank stabilizer bit and I use this to stiffen a horse up a little bit. This bit can be used when you’re on a horse that’s halfway through their turn and their too bendy, they don’t have their body under them moving forward, their shoulders are thrown to the outside. This is an awesome bit to put on that’s going to help bring the shoulders back under them, and get that snap on the backside of a turn. A lot of time I don’t train and run in this bit, I’ll do one or the other. So, for example if I have a horse I feel needs to run in this I’m going to work in a bit that has a little more bend maybe the O-ring snaffle or draw gag, so I even it out. I don’t want to promote my horse to get so stiff that he’s cutting off the backside of his turns.
A step up from the Mullen mouthpiece, that has just a little more bend is this Billy Allen mouthpiece. It looks like a normal 3-piece mouthpiece, but your shank and bit can come up, but the mouthpiece itself won’t bend back, so it keeps it stiffer. You have your lateral pick up and bend, but when you pull straight back on a rein the bit doesn’t break like a typical three-piece mouthpiece which will break and fold. The Billy Allen mouthpiece you’re going to get a little stiffer reaction in this, but not as severe as the straight Mullen one.
One of my favorite bits to run in, train in, and everything is the Goostree Short Shank Double Gag. I prefer the one with the curve because it’s a little softer on the horse. I always use it with a leather curb strap. I don’t train my horses to respond to a chain under their chin because a lot of what I ride is off the track, and they’ve never had a chain under their chin. They weren’t broke that way to respond to the corners of their mouth, so that’s why I always use a leather chin strap on a horse.
One other thing I want to talk about is a bit that has gag slide vs no slide. Bit slide is when you pull it’s going to go up their mouth. That gives a little slower reaction, a lot of people believe it’s going to put more bend in a horse, but the reaction of when you touch the reins is a little slower because it doesn’t have a stopping point right away. Whereas a no slide, fixed mouthpiece the minute you make contact the bit mouthpiece is stopped, and it’s not sliding up to hit a point before you make full contact. So, no slide you’re going to get a quicker reaction with versus a sliding gag.
Check out the full interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mXQt0Sz-1Q&t=169s
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