Trainer Audra Masterson explains why she likes the Dave Elliott Spur Up 02 with a floating port and cricket roller for both colts and finished horses.

About the Bit

“I use this a lot when I get out of a snaffle and move them up to something more, maybe a little stronger horse that needs more bit. I like the front gag—it has a little quicker reaction. It’s not a lot of bit if you don’t want it to be, but if you need some more ‘come here,’ it’s got that right in the middle [with the port].”

Mouthpiece: Twisted Copper Wire with Floating Port and Cricket Roller

“The floating port is a little softer across the tongue [than a three-piece with a dog-bone], so it’s got more movement to it. The softer your hands are, the softer the bit is going to be. The harsher your hands are, there’s a lot of bit there, but if you don’t want it to be, it’s not going to bite them near as hard as a solid-port mouth. I get along a lot better with these floating ports, because I tend to be a little heavier-handed, and this one is more forgiving whereas a solid mouthpiece can get horses a little too scared.”

Dave Elliott bit shank

Shank: Spur Up 02 with Some Gag Action

“This is not a lot of shank—it’s a medium shank. I don’t like a lot of shank, because I feel like it gets horses a little stiffer. I like the front gag because of the quicker reaction. It doesn’t take as long whereas other bits that have the gag behind, it takes a little longer for it to engage.”

Curb Strap: Loose Chain

“I usually ride the chain loose. If you want to make it snugger, it makes the bit a little harsher. I like to have two or three fingers [between] so it doesn’t bite them, especially if you’re riding a colt that’s just out of a snaffle.”

Using the Bit

“I like using this bit for horses that need to get ridden around at the house and broke loose a little more, and then you can go run them in something lighter if you don’t want to keep the same bit on them all the time, because they get numb and dull in the same bit.”

This article was originally published in the March 2019 issue of Barrel Horse News.


Blanche Schaefer is an avid barrel racer and managing editor of Barrel Horse News. Email comments or questions to [email protected]

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