Barry Allan bits?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Barry Allan bits??

I read good things about a Barry Allan mouth piece so I went looking for one this past Saturday. I found one, not cheap at $90 but well made, hand made from stainless with a mouthpiece of iron. It had the 8 inch shanks which I wasn't crazy about but that is the only size I could find.
I tried it Sunday morning and found it too agressive, a 8 inch curb with a Barry Allan mouthpiece.
I found I had to back the curb off 3 or 4 holes and I still found just picking the heavy reins up caused him to move his head up. I also found sliding down a slick bank that the least touch of the reins caused him to sit right down hard.
I did not like it or rather I didn't like the mechanical advantage it gave me.
I also didn't like the fact that the curb extened quite a bit below his muzzle. We will go down over the years, not if, when, we will wipe out and his muzzle will slam into the ground and I don't want to inflict any more damage then I possibley can. I seem to wipe out badly as least once a year. Once 2 saturdays in a row we did a complete head over heals whip out.
Trust me I have experience on going down.

I now own a 5 inch Bary Allan bit. I cut the shanks down 3 inches and being stainless and hand built in the first place a little tig welding, a little grinding and polishing and it is as good as new, looks stock and cuts down on the mechanical advantage. Hopefully he is less sensive to the reins
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post #2 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 02:51 PM
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Are you sure you don't mean Billy Allen? This is the bit I've used for the past 12 or 14 years. It's a hand made, sweet iron, bit by Craig Darnell:

Bit 001.jpg

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.


It's not always what you say but what they hear.
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post #3 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iridehorses View Post
Are you sure you don't mean Billy Allen? This is the bit I've used for the past 12 or 14 years. It's a hand made, sweet iron, bit by Craig Darnell:

Attachment 26400
You are right and I am wrong. It is a Billy Allen bit. I'm bad. It is like yours only I didn't want the long shanks and the mechanical advantage.
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post #4 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 03:13 PM
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In all the time I've spent in tack stores I don't think I've ever seen any style of curb with an 8 inch shank. Yikes! No wonder your guy sat down hard! I'd love to try a snaffle with a Billy Allen mouth on my guy, and if I ever decide to branch back into western riding with him I'll probably trade my American TT for a Billy Allen curb, albeit with a shorter shank.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #5 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Scoutrider View Post
In all the time I've spent in tack stores I don't think I've ever seen any style of curb with an 8 inch shank. Yikes! No wonder your guy sat down hard! I'd love to try a snaffle with a Billy Allen mouth on my guy, and if I ever decide to branch back into western riding with him I'll probably trade my American TT for a Billy Allen curb, albeit with a shorter shank.
they don't come any shorter then 7 inches. I bought the 8 inch because that is all the store stocked. After trying it sunday I cut it down today to 5 inches, the same as a tom thumb. I installed it back in the head stall a few minutes ago and grabbed a lighter pair of reins. I keep 6 pair oiled and hanging , ready for use so I choose a set of 5/8th reins over my normal 3/4 inch pair. I ride with loose reins and the reins can start swaying side to side with the sway of the horse and I don't want the weight rocking on his mouth. I also don't want to ride with contact.
I must be going soft because I also changed out the curb chain for a soft light leather curb strap.
That month off has made me soft
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post #6 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 03:50 PM
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Mine is 6" and the swept back curve lessens the advantage which is why I like it.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.


It's not always what you say but what they hear.
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post #7 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 03:57 PM
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By gum the name brand Billy Allen's don't come any shorter than 7 inches! I found a Myler brand just now with what seemed to be a comparable mouthpiece design that claimed a 5 inch shank, but a 7 inch "cheek". I'm assuming they're adding the shank and purchase lengths to get that number, I've never heard it combined into a cheek measurement before. I've always heard that the shank and purchase lengths are important in and of themselves in determining the "oomph" level of the bit, in which case it seems silly to me to lump those numbers together. I'm glad my old eggbutt snaffle still does the job for me... if I ever swap its going to be a while of studying, testing, and shopping. $80+ is a little deep for my pockets! Now I have to measure my sister's curb bits... maybe my eyeballing needs adjusted, but 7-8 inches sounds huge to me.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #8 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Scoutrider View Post
By gum the name brand Billy Allen's don't come any shorter than 7 inches! . Maybe my eyeballing needs adjusted, but 7-8 inches sounds huge to me.

I don't like the looks of all that bit hanging below his jaw. It can also be dangerous if he falls. I also don't need the leverage so it was simple to cut it down to anything I wanted. Being stainless it can easily be cut and rewelded back together without showing it was modified.
I can also hook the reins directly to the mouthpiece creating a snaffle.
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post #9 of 18 Old 03-02-2010, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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I tested the cut down bit and light reins today. I cut the curb down to 5 inch shanks total and my mechanical advantage is less then 2 to 1. I also dropped the tight chain curb and went to a loose leather strap. I dropped the 3/4 inch reins and went to lighter 5/8's leather reins.
He was full of run tonight, the weather was warm, the snowmobiles were empty of snowmobiles and the footing was great.
I liked the cut down bit but not the light reins. I feel a heavier rein signals the horse that something is about to happen while he can't feel me pick up the lighter reins. The horse was not as sensitive with this modified bit, kept his head low, no head tossing when checked but again I came home and reinstalled the heavier reins.
I am not convinced this bit is any better then my older cheap tom thumb.
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post #10 of 18 Old 03-02-2010, 09:18 PM
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Hey but at least you're not abusing your horse with that "evil tom" thumb!!

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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