National Finals Rodeo qualifier and multiple pro rodeo champion Dona Kay Rule’s go-to bit is a simple D-ring snaffle with a smooth mouthpiece and Don Dodge cheek.
Using the Bit
“I like a D-ring over an O-ring for a horse that’s started and has some saddle time, because you get more of a pull on the corner of the mouth and you get a direct pull straight back—it doesn’t allow that little bit of slide you get with an O-ring. [With a D-ring], if you’re going to do a lateral move, only one part of the snaffle will bend and give a clear message to the left or right. You can also tap them with your hands and tuck their chin and release with a snaffle.”
Mouthpiece: Two-Piece Smooth
“[A smooth mouthpiece] tells me where I’m at. If it’s enough, then I never change from it. If it’s not enough and they’re pulling on me, then either A) I haven’t done my job; or b) I need to go to a twisted to get more attention. Typically, I haven’t done my job well enough in communicating clearly. I would stay with this for a little longer if I was having trouble, maybe a 10-day span, before I moved on to anything else.”
Curb: Any Kind of Strap or String
“The curb can be a basic piece of string or leather on a snaffle—a snaffle is anything without a shank or leverage. If you got in a jam and had to really drag one’s head around if they’re bucking or running off with you, [a strap makes sure the] bit won’t slide all the way through their mouth. that is the only function of a curb strap on a plain O-ring or D-ring snaffle.”
This article was originally published in the September 2019 issue of Barrel Horse News.