EquiStat $5 million rider Kassie Mowry adjusts a long shank three-piece Red River Bit to hang loosely in Famous Ladies Man’s mouth to dull out potential miscues, while pairing it with a bonnet to control the start in the alleyway.

About the Setup

“‘Emmitt’ runs in the same thing he’s run in since he was a colt. It’s a Red River Bit, just a long shank with a dog bone. The bonnet he runs in is over 20 years old. I pulled it out of Mike [Boone’s] trailer; he told me that Troy Crumrine and The Money Roll ran in it, and that was around 2000. I have this bonnet wired together, because I’ve tried to remake it multiple times, and it never comes back the same. There’s a lot of wire and black tape — it’s holding on by a thread.”

Headgear: Bonnet

“I haven’t been without it on him. Going down the alleyway, he does have his head up looking at where are we going. It helps me to keep him in my hands without him getting his head up too high. I’m not sure it’s tight enough to do a whole lot in the turns or on the pattern, because it is fairly loose, but it helps me get a better start in the alleyway, especially when he is really wanting to go.”

Red River Bit hanging in horse trailer
BHN photo by Kassie Mowry

Shank: Long with Minimal Reverse Gag

“It’s really weird, because as rate-y and set-y as he is, it seems like a longer shanked bit wouldn’t be the first thing I would think of to run him in, but it’s just a feel thing. That’s what he feels the most comfortable in. It helps me keep him square going up into this turns, and that’s all I have to do. He does most of it himself. I just have to keep him square to the points, and then once I get to the pocket, he pretty well finishes the whole turn himself. He has a lot of natural work to him. And he’s really quick; he can get in and out of situations easily because he is very quick and explosive.”

Mouthpiece: Twisted Three-Piece with Dog Bone

“It’s a dog bone and a little wider of a mouthpiece than I typically use on horses. To me, that means it’s more forgiving, because it will slide through his mouth when I grab ahold of him. It isn’t quite as instant. If I ask him too soon, it gives me a delayed response. Because it’s a dog bone, it doesn’t break down on his bars as much, it more lays through his mouth. If I were to use just a two-piece, I think he would come back through himself too much in a turn. This one rounds him out more. A two-piece might make him more abrupt, so this dulls my cues. It’s very loose; the bit hangs in his mouth. Sometimes I look at it and wonder if I adjusted this for another horse, but I know I didn’t, because I don’t use it on any other horse. It feels like he could spit it out of his mouth. But that’s how Emmitt likes it.”

Curb: Loose Chain

“It’s loose. The chain is not real tight around his jaw.”


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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