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.


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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