In 2018, Kerry Kelley Bits and Spurs released the Danyelle Campbell line of barrel racing bits. We caught up with Danyelle to discuss one of her most popular bits—the Glider with a smooth three-piece bumpy mouthpiece.
About the Kerry Kelley Glider Bit
“There’s a lot of ways you can use the bit. I can ride a 2-year-old in this bit, and I can compete on a strong open horse in this bit. That’s the glory of it; it truly does work for both. The gag is a smooth gag action, because it’s set on rings with the loop in front. It doesn’t scare a horse and it’s short, so it’s smooth and fluid when you’re asking them to give, but it doesn’t have much gag so the stopping point is quick—that’s when you get your response. You pick up on the reins and get them soft, and you hit the end of the gag quickly so that’s when you get them to come with your hand.”
Read more about Kerry Kelley’s work here.
Mouthpiece: Smooth Three-Piece Bumpy
“It’s probably the mildest we have in the horse’s mouth, yet it’s still enough to get their attention because they truly do feel the bumps. With the three-piece, you don’t have to worry about it hitting the roof of their mouth like a two-piece can. The mouthpiece is so fat that it cannot tear up the corners of the mouth or intimidate or scare them, yet you still get the reaction of a mouthpiece that would have more bite on the corners because of the bumps and how it works off their tongue. You get the feel, you get them backed off, you get the softness, but without it ever intimidating them.”
Shank: 7-inch Medium Shank with 2 1/4-inch Gag
“It’s not a 1:1 ratio, which means it’s longer on one end [of the shank above and below the mouthpiece] than the other, so you can turn it upside down and have more purchase one way or a shorter purchase with a longer shank on the bottom the other way. A taller purchase is supposed to give you more lift and more shoulder control. For my hands, it will get a horse to break at the poll more, whereas if you turned it upside down and have the shorter purchase with more shank underneath, you’re going to have more whoa and more bend laterally without as much lift. It’s a minimal difference, but there is indeed a difference.”
Check out Danyelle’s popular circular tire drill here.
Curb Strap: Leather (preferred)
“I’m a flat leather curb-strap person. I rarely use a chain. I’ll use nylon cord some, but I like leather because it keeps the bit more stable. You can adjust it however for each horse—there’s no set rule. A looser curb strap will give you more bend, a tighter curb strap is going to give you more whoa.”
Using the Kerry Kelley Glider Bit
“I ride this bit with two wrinkles in the corners of the mouth. That’s how most of these bits are designed to be ridden. You dang sure want it to make contact—I don’t like these bits to be hanging in the horse’s mouth, because they have a lot of weight and a lot of feel. If they’re hanging in the mouth, you lose the whole function of what the bit is supposed to do.”
This article was originally published in the February 2019 issue of Barrel Horse News.