Trained by Janna (Beam) Brown and now ridden by Hailey Kinsel, DH Jess Stellar runs best in the Troy Flaharty Duke medium shank two-piece twist. Kinsel explains why this bit fits a high-strung horse like “Jules.”

Shank: Duke Medium Shank with Minimal Gag

“It’s a whole lot of control, and it helps me get her to break over. She’ll want to root a little and put her head up high and wants to ewe her neck, so when she’s tense she raises her head. I can get a lot of control and pull on her nose by asking her to break over and put her head down, and when she does she relaxes and takes a breath—it’s kind of hard to breathe when her neck is arched like that. It’s a good bit of whoa, it’s a good bit of flexion, so it’s a nice mix of both. It gives them something to feel and position themselves around.”

Flaharty Duke bit hanging on barn wall
Photo by Janna Brown

Mouthpiece: Two-Piece Twisted

“It’s what Janna has run her in at least since she was a 5-year-old, so she’s really well-versed in it. Janna said to change or do whatever you want to do, but she liked it, and I’ve learned to ride it and it feels great now.”

Curb: Chain

“It’s not loose by any means. It is a gag concept just with not much movement, so you want it kind of tight. I have two fingers on the curb chain, so it still functions more like a curb bit than a gag bit, but I like a little bit of room there.”

Find more Bits of Success from your favorite barrel racers here.

This article was originally published in the March 2021 issue of Barrel Horse News. Find hard copies of any issue 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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