Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #98 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
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As I was getting warmed up to post this week’s video, I was glad to come across some timeless barrel racing wisdom from Ed Wright.
Recently I witnessed and was especially impressed by one of his students as she won the All American Finals in Waco, TX, and again it confirmed that while competition continues to get tougher as breeding programs, tools and techniques are always evolving – certain principles never change.
One such principle is that bits are secondary to education.
And yet, while education is a critical priority – just because we’ve instilled knowledge in our horse’s mind doesn’t necessarily mean there still aren’t blocks in the way physically and emotionally.
Even if we can influence and yield our horse’s body parts relatively quick and effectively doesn’t mean they feel good about it, that they want to do it, and that they aren’t dealing with physical restrictions that make it difficult for them.
This is why I also love learning about and sharing the importance of horse health, anatomy, therapeutic bodywork and biomechanics, as well as what we as trainers, riders and jockeys can do to actually build desire and try in our horses.
It’s all so much more within our reach and under our influence that we think!
The physical, emotional and mental (educational) aspects of horse development is where it’s at, and we’ll never have the whole package if we neglect any of these areas.
The right tools are very important for complementing the process but are not entirely dependent on it. When we’re thoroughly educated and practiced at providing this interconnected trio, then bit selection for competition becomes something to carefully consider.
If you’re ready for that, the video below will offer guidance as I casually talked through a selection of bits in our tack room.
There was even more discussion that didn’t make the video cut (due to length) about combination bits, the Loomis Gag, more on lifter bits and the different feel swept back vs. straight shanks provide, etc.
To ask questions about anything I did (or didn’t) cover above, ask away in the comments below!
The halter and lead rope combo I use is available here.
If I were to purchase a new snaffle bit, I’d go with a quality, decked out version from The Mad Cow Co.
As for transition bit, I have the Tender Touch and Touch Plus from Sharon Camarillo.
If I were to seek out a new, custom made competition bit I’d turn to the expertise from master bit maker, Dave Elliott.
Another good resource is the bit selection designed by NFR barrel racer, Molly Powell.
What are YOUR favorite bits? Let’s here it in the comments below!
For more on bits, bitting and communicating effectively, visit: