National Finals Rodeo qualifier Shali Lord has everything she needs to effectively communicate with Freckles Ta Fame in the Neil Merrill medium shank three-piece twisted—lift, whoa, and a balanced feel with a quick response.
About the Bit
“I love it. To me, it has everything you need for a good honest horse like ‘Can Man.’ There’s just enough bend, but I feel like I have enough ‘whoa’ if I need it. I think the medium shank gives you a little more leverage as to ‘whoa’ than the shorter shank, and I like the feel of it altogether. As a whole, it’s a great bit and I think you could use it on a lot of different horses, and I use it on a lot of different horses too, even my young horses at home.”
Mouthpiece: Three-Piece Twisted Wire
“I love the three-piece dog bone bits in general. I like it because it distributes pressure [better than a two-piece], because they’re designed to distribute the pressure evenly across the horse’s mouth. If you have a good honest horse like Can Man, I don’t feel like you need anything else.”
Shank: 7-inch Medium Shank with Minimal Reverse Gag
“[Can Man’s trainer] Ashley Schafer was running him in the 5-inch short shank. I continued on with that until Rodeo Houston last year. I like both of them obviously; he ran so good in the short shank. When I switched at Houston, I felt like he needed more leverage and a little more help. Where the ground was really hard, I thought I could help him more and he could rely on me more with the medium shank. He felt really good in it, so I’ve kept him in that since. I feel like the short shank gives you more bend. I like him in the medium a little more than the short, just because I don’t have as much bend or as much fold, because he has so much bend anyway and I like for a medium [amount of bend]. I feel like with [too much] gag, you get more bend and more front-end action. I like this bit that doesn’t have much gag so you can pick up and it’s more instant. It’s not going to be like with a gag when you pick them up and it’s more the front end or the neck movement, whereas with no gag I feel like they are going to pick up and it’s not a delayed response.”
Curb: Chain with Rope Tie Ends
“The curb is not loose, but it’s not tight—I would say it’s average. I don’t change it, because I like to stay consistent with the bit. I don’t really change them on any of my bits. Once I have something set up, I like it and I don’t really like to adjust things if I don’t know the outcome or if I haven’t tried it before.”
This article was originally published in the March 2020 issue of Barrel Horse News. Subscribe to the monthly print magazine here.