Futurity trainer and multiple slot race champion Lacey Harmon discusses the Dave Elliott Spur Up 02 mullen mouth reverse gag bit.

Mouthpiece: Mullen with cricket roller and copper-wrapped corners

“I’m a big fan of the mullen mouthpiece. I use this bit on a lot of horses that are overly bendy. It has enough leverage you can kind of pull on them, but it doesn’t intimidate them, whereas with a twisted wire if you get to pulling, it’s intimidating. This bit has a dragging effect with a shank and because it’s not a severe bit, you can help the horse more. To me, the more gadgets you put in their mouth, the more they’re going to like it, especially a busy horse—they can doodle with the cricket. ‘Bruno’ (Just The Way You Are) is a huge fan of crickets!”

Shank: Spur Up 02 (short) with some gag action

“I like gag. I’m not big on [long] shanks, just because they don’t fit my hands. I like to drag, so it doesn’t work for me because you aren’t really supposed to drag with a shank. Shorter-shank bits fit my hands better.”

Dave Elliott bit hanging in trailer
Lacey Harmon uses a leather curb strap with the Dave Elliott Spur Up 02 shank with mullen mouthpiece and cricket roller.

Curb Strap: Leather

“I always start off with leather or string. I don’t use chains a lot unless I feel like I need to. I don’t feel like [most of my bits] require a chain, so I usually put a plain leather strap, string or slobber strap-type thing—something simple and definitely not harsh. Some bits come with a chain, but I don’t put it tight enough to even do anything.”

This article was originally published in the November 2018 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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