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Ask Sharon

Equipment

Robyn from Florida, writes:

Dear Sharon,

I have a horse that is about six years old. He has been worked on cows, but I want to start training him for barrels. He is very easy on the mouth, but he is not good about bending. What kind of bit should I use?

Dear Robyn,

Thank you for writing. I am not sure I have enough information to answer your question specifically. What I can share with you are some guidelines about selecting a bit for a horse that needs help with bending. 

Bits with solid shanks and mouthpieces are generally described to produce a “stiffer” feel. So for your horse, you would probably not select a bit from this category. In my Reinsman bit collection, the Short Lifter, Long Lifter or Pelham are examples.

A bit with a limited amount of gag is generally found to assist with bend. Bits to look at in my Reinsman collection would be the 3x3 Lite Gag and the Tender Touch. 

Another choice would be the Ultra, either the short or long shank. This bit offers the additional control of a noseband, a small amount of slip for increased bend, and the leverage of the shank to assist with control.

Remember to have your horse checked to make sure he doesn't have any issues with his teeth. Always introduce new equipment carefully and allow the horse time to adjust to the new feel. These are general comments. Bits and biting are covered extensively in my Books and DVDs.

Visit the BarrelRacingSuperstore.com for more product-specific information on bits.

Best of success,

Sharon