The Kathy James two-piece twisted mouthpiece helps trainer Ivy Hurst keep her horses soft for everyday training.
Using the Bit
“I like to use a Kathy James bit on a daily basis. It really keeps my horses soft; it allows me to lift their shoulders up and bring them through their turns. I don’t run a lot of horses in it unless it feels like the perfect thing for them. It’s just a great tuning bit for me, and I can’t stress how soft it makes my horses.”
Mouthpiece: Two-Piece Twisted
“It seems to be something I can put on everything. It’s not intimidating, it’s probably a medium to large twist, so it doesn’t sore up their mouths. I seem to be a twisted fan, so this is my go-to.”
Shank: Medium Length, Straight with Reverse Gag
“When I first got the bit I wasn’t sure about it, but the more I used it the more I understood it. I like that it has a bit of a delayed reaction so if my hands aren’t in the right place it’s more forgiving. The horses tend to react really well, and the softness I get is unbelievable.”
Curb Strap: Loose Chain
“It works best with a looser curb strap. I didn’t think it was supposed to be that way when I first got it, which is probably why I didn’t like it as much—I had it tight. I asked some other trainers and they said no, loosen it up. It gives the bit a little more feel, more flexibility, not so scary on the colts, and it doesn’t react quite as fast. It just feels better loose, and I like a tight curb strap, but it works really good that way.”
This article was originally published in the August 2019 issue of Barrel Horse News.