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hfhopper 11-10-2012 09:03 PM

What bit to use for drills & how much contact??
I'm new to barrel racing with most of my previous riding experience being in dressage. That being said, I have found a good trainer to work with. We've finally found a bit that my horse likes. It's a 3 piece smooth mouth lifter bit. We are still doing a lot of slow work, but have loped the pattern a few times. I'm wondering if I should keep using the same bit when doing slow, training work. I've read that a lot of you here use a basic snaffle when doing slow work. My experience when riding in a snaffle is to have the horse working "through" and "on the bit". Again, my dressage past. Is this the same amount of contact I should have now when doing drills, etc? Or should I just keep working him in the lifter bit every ride?

BarrelRacingLvr 11-10-2012 09:42 PM

First why did you switch to a lifter bit? Pics of the bit?

hfhopper 11-10-2012 11:07 PM


Originally Posted by BarrelRacingLvr (Post 1752867)
First why did you switch to a lifter bit? Pics of the bit?

L & W Bits - Lift Bits #182 is the cheek style that I'm currently using. Mouthpiece is a smooth 3 piece (dog bone).

My horse has a moderate club foot, which my farrier has done wonders with. But he still has some assymetry in his shoulders (high left/low right). He also ran on the track for 5 years. He has a tendency to drop his inside shoulder in turns and is also very good at bracing the right shoulder up during the lope to the right. He does ok in a Myler comfort snaffle, but carries himself much better in the little bit. He also is very adimit in his dislike of single joint snaffles (braces above the bit, crosses his jaws, and sticks his tongue out constantly).

beau159 11-10-2012 11:45 PM

Typically, when you actually get to doing the pattern with some speed, you'll want a separate bit for competition, and a separate bit for "regular riding" and tuning (and maybe even more separate bits for specific purposes). Or, some horses will go fine in the same bit for everything. It really will vary for each individual horse and your competition level.

I personally like switching up bits every once in a while anyway on the horse, because it is one of those things that helps keep things fresh and keep the horse responding well to a bit.

What does your trainer say about using a different bit for drills?

SorrelHorse 11-10-2012 11:51 PM

I like to use a lot of differant bits and remain rounded during slow work. Builds the right muscles for when you go fast. IMO Dressage and reining are the two best things you can do for your barrel horse. I would go ahead and stick him in a snaffle for slow work; Even a french link or lifesaver snaffle or that myler one. If he doesn't do well, maybe a light shank or gag like a sweet six or jr. cowhorse.

BarrelRacingLvr 11-10-2012 11:52 PM

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BarrelRacingLvr 11-10-2012 11:52 PM

Ok my phone is now posting blank posts lol!
Posted via Mobile Device

BarrelRacingLvr 11-11-2012 12:09 AM

I don't ride in the same bits, I have different bits for everything. For riding and training I prefer snaffles, I may use some light bits like Easy 5, Half Wonder, Jr. Cowhorse, Tender Touch and a nice little dutton bit that I just bought (fell off the BHA bandwagon! UGH).

Each horse has a specific bit for running, and some horses have a bit for warming up and tuning aswell.

I find that when I switch bits up it keeps the horses on their toes and responding well.

hfhopper 11-11-2012 10:58 AM


Originally Posted by beau159 (Post 1752979)
What does your trainer say about using a different bit for drills?

She keeps all her young/green horses in the same bit for everything, including trailer riding. But then again, bone if them are in anything overly aggressive (combinations with a snaffle, o rings, and d rings). She said to switch back and forth if I wanted to, but really didn't feel it was necessary. I guess in my mind I find it hard to understand working him round in a bit with a curb and shank, especially 2 handed. Too many years in the dressage arena I guess. That mindset is hard to lose.

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