About the Bit
“It’s a little more than a ring bit, and most of my horses I start off with a Loomis. I don’t get along with a ring bit great, so with a Loomis I can pick the front end up and get a lot of drive from behind, but it’s tough to run one in a Loomis. This clover bit is a good one to go to from a Loomis, because you can still get that lift similar to a Loomis or a ring bit where you can tuck the nose and elevate the front end, but you get more pull across without pulling it through their mouth or getting in their face. I like it on a horse that really sets their butt and pulls with their front end, because I can keep them square between the reins and then if I need to help them on the backside I can get their cheek and bring their shoulders with it, instead of just getting the corner of their mouth [like with a Loomis or ring bit].”
“I only use it on the bottom ring; that gives me the feel almost like a shank. I might stick one up [on the middle ring] if I’m in the middle of a ride and feel like I need a ring bit right then, but otherwise I’d just use a ring bit from the start.”
Mouthpiece: Smooth Square
“I’ll use the square mostly, and this one’s been taped. I like the square because I feel like it’s not as rough on the horse’s mouth, but they won’t lay on it either. I never thought of this until I talked to Kassie [Mowry] one time, because I used to use the twisted a lot. She was saying if you run your hand across the twisted, the ridges keep hitting you when you pull it side-to-side and it can roughen their mouth up, whereas the square is a lot smoother [with lateral pull] and it’s just that one sharp edge [on a backwards pull], so it’s not dragging all those bumps across their mouth.”
“I don’t use a curb with this bit, and it doesn’t come with one. Boyce [Wilson with Shallow Creek] makes the bit, and I was talking to him and he said he never really uses it with a curb either. If I’m going to use a shank with a curb, I’ll use something else. The horses that run the best in the clover are already setting their hind end and I just need to change their direction, so I don’t want to slow them down any more with a curb by slowing their front feet down.”
This article was originally published in the December 2019 issue of Barrel Horse News.