Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: I was born in Germany, raised in Texas.
This bit is really not as severe as it looks IF used on a FINISHED horse other than maybe the twist. The dog bone in the center does make it slightly milder than others. But the twist on it is pretty thin and tight. I am not totally against a thicker, slow twist depending on the level of the horse. And the reason you want to use a gag on a western pleasure or barrel horse is so they have the opportunity to feel you before you actually need to do any major pulling. They should be able to feel you as lightly as picking up your reins an inch. But this is a trained reaction. You can not teach a horse to give to a gag if it hasn't learned to give to a basic snaffle first. In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with upgrading to this type of bit later though. Personally I would introduce a gag to my barrel horse with a sweet six or something in that neighborhood. Short shanks. My barrel mare is a 10 year old barrel horse who even gives to the nose band of her halter with me standing on the ground. I love using gags on her. I NEVER have reason to be in her mouth. But I've also been working with a greenie for the last year and a half and he's still in a snaffle. Until I have him exactly where I want him, he won't be in anything else. And I've even used a french link D ring on him thinking it would be even milder, but he does better in a regular single jointed O ring. You don't want them giving in to pain. Rewarding with release to pressure is how you'll get the results you're looking for. Anyway, not trying to step on any toes. Just think a newbie is not ready for a gag of any type. That being said, I did see that exact same bit in the Valley Vet catalog today for 59.95. They do have the same bit with shorter shanks for 49.95. Both are Charmayne James. Jeffers has it for 54.95.