The J.D. Morrow medium shank gag bit helps barrel horse trainer Tana Renick achieve softness in the rib cage on both colts and seasoned horses.

About the J.D. Morrow Medium Shank Gag Bit

“This bit can make immediate contact. What I like about it the most is I want to control the ribs. I want these horses broke in the ribs so I can have that inside driving leg when they leave a turn, and I can have that power and a big move on the backside [of the turn]. With this bit, you can get that bend. The shanks are so smooth and it’s so fluid that there’s no catch in it. This bit does not panic horses or scare them or make them fight.”

Mouthpiece: Copper Twisted Wire with Dog Bone and Cricket Roller

“The copper keeps their mouth moist. A nervous, fidgety horse really likes this cricket, those horses that get worried behind the alley, it gives them something to play with and takes their mind off it.”

JD Morrow bit hanging on trailer

Shank: Medium-Length Gag with Stopper

“This is about a 7-inch shank. There’s a stopper on the gag—the gag is not the whole thing. The bit has a real good weight to it. It fits a lot of horses, even 3-year-olds, and a lot of riders’ hands. You can have some control in it. If a horse is starting to get a little brace-y in the rib, I’ll put a longer shank. I do not ever want a horse pushing against my leg. The bracier I feel they are, the longer the shank I’m going to put on them.”

Curb Strap: Loose Chain

“These curbs do not need to be tight. For this bit, it’s better to have it adjusted on the headstall farther up the mouth and have the curb up higher and looser. I see a lot of people who have them dropped way down in the horse’s mouth and have the curb tight, but when you pull it’s a total different feel [than when the bit is adjusted correctly]. Once the curb makes contact, the bit stops and that’s all the lift you’re going to get—you’re not going to be able to bring them around anymore. It’s better to raise the bit and loosen the curb to fit one finger between the curb and the horse. You can use a cord or leather strap instead of a chain for sensitive horses, maybe a chain with a piece of rope.”

Using the J.D. Morrow Gag Bit

“I like to run in these bits because they’re not intimidating. When a horse gets in there and goes to drop or get short, you can lift your inside hand up and instead of the horse having a horrible harsh reaction, it’s just soft and lifts them up but keeps them moving forward. It’s very pleasing to the horse.”

Watch Tana discuss her favorite headgear here.

This article was originally published in the January 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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