Trainer DaCota Monk discusses the L&W Mikey three-piece lifter he used on two-time futurity and slot race champion Famous Lemon Drop and how he transitioned into that bridle.

Barbie’s Bits

Cindy Wright Jr. Cowhorse hanging on headstall
DaCota trained “Barbie” in the handmade Cindy and Tim Wright three-piece Jr. Cowhorse. Photo by DaCota Monk

“I trained her in a Cindy and Tim Wright bit—they handmake them. They’re really cool bits; I use them on all my babies when I’m bitting them up and anything that stays light. It’s a light bit and doesn’t have a curb chain or anything. That’s what she stayed in for a long time; I even ran her in the juvenile in that bit. Now she’s in an L&W Mikey medium shank with a dog bone roller. During the week I keep a bosal loping hack on her because she gets so sensitive, so I just lope her in that at home.”

Transitioning to the Bit

“I’ve always been an L&W fan; most all of my bits are L&W. The reason I went to this particular bit is because on Cindy’s bits, and I love all of her bits, but she knows you have to put them on like a draw bit so they have to crinkle up on the cheek, and it was making Barbie sore. With the L&W, I felt like it was pretty close to Cindy’s bits, and I like the feel of L&W bits—I always have.”

Mouthpiece: Three-Piece Twist with Cooper Inlay and Copper Roller

“I like the rollers, because I feel like if a horse ever needs something to do or if they’re nervous, it keeps them occupied and they can play with it if they want. I like the dog bones on bits, because I don’t like the bits going up and hitting the roof of their mouth [like a two-piece does]. I never have liked any bits like that. The copper, I don’t know that it helps as much as I think it does in my head, but it helps them produce saliva and with blood flow, and copper is good for anybody.”

Shank: Medium Shank with Small Gag

“This bit has about a 2-inch gag, and I usually don’t like very much gag when I run a horse because I don’t like to be messing with them too much. She can obviously turn a little too sharp on the backside, so I needed a little [delay] on the bit. It fits her and it fits my hands.”

Curb: Loose Rope

“The curb chain is just a makeshift rope. I took the chain off, because she’s super sensitive and light, and it only comes in contact when I have two hands on the reins. It’s pretty loose.”

Read more from our Bits of Success series here.

This article was originally published in the April 2020 issue of Barrel Horse NewsSubscribe to the monthly print magazine here.


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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