Photo by Blanche Schaefer

Bit maker Troy Flaharty added a floating port to spice up a smooth mouthpiece, making this bit trainer Jordon Briggs’ go-to medium-shank lifter for a horse with a sensitive mouth.

About the Bit

“This shank is my staple shank in my barn. This is a Troy Flaharty, and I have four or five different bit makers who make this shank. I change it up with different mouthpieces. This is One First Class Lady’s bit, and she is pretty thin-skinned mouth-wise, so I have this smooth mouthpiece so it doesn’t make her mouth sore but I added this port so it still has a little bite. I have all the lift and pull-around that I need with the shank.”

Shank: Medium with Minimal Gag

“It’s a medium shank, so I have a lot of lift. It has 1/2-inch of gag, and I’m not a big gag person so that’s about as much as I like. I like an instant reaction type of bit. It has just the right amount of lift, but you can still pull it on the backside [of the turn] without scaring them.”

Mouthpiece: Smooth with Floating Port and Copper Roller

“The port adds a little more bite than [a three-piece with a dog-bone]. When they start getting pushy, you can grab ahold of it and it hits the top of their mouth and gives you that extra bite so they don’t keep running through the bridle.”

Curb: Chain with Leather at One to Two Fingers

“Since this bit has gag, I [adjust it on the headstall] a little tighter in their mouth—I like one wrinkle. I like the chinstrap to be tightened to fit one or two fingers or even touching their chin a little, so when you let go of the reins there’s release, but when you pick up on the reins the front of the bit doesn’t go forward.”

This article was originally published in the October 2019 issue of Barrel Horse News.

Author

Blanche Schaefer is an avid barrel racer and associate editor of Barrel Horse News. Email comments or questions to [email protected]

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