Education

Sue Smith’s Top Five Picks

In honor of Sue’s 2023 NFR Qualification, we are bringing you her Top Five Favorite Bits.

#1: Spur Up 02

This bit was designed to transition your horse from an O-ring (with two piece mouthpiece) into something with less bar pressure and additional leverage.

The Spur Up 02 has a 1 to 1 ratio and a slightly shorter 7 1/8″ shank. The mouthpiece mounted forward on this bit makes it slower to engage and allows you to maintain contact and guide the horse through a turn.

This bit also allows you to acquire rate and keep the shoulder elevated in the approach of a turn.

The Spur Up 02 is a nice step-up bit that encourages suppleness and balance without intimidation, it is suggested for young horses and lighter finished horses.

#2: Spur Up 03 MS

One of our most popular bits.

This bit was designed to add stability and quicken the response time without intimidation.

This design has a 1 to 1 ratio with a versatile 7 5/8″ shank.

The mouthpiece of the Spur Up 03 Medium Shank is mounted directly on the shank and has 1 1/4″ of slide on the straighter portion. This design causes the mouthpiece to stay at the bottom longer and reduce the leverage. Only if the curb and headstall are adjusted properly.

Keep in mind schooling two handed or running one handed means you need to adjust the curb and headstall accordingly. Which in turn helps the horse stay balanced without too much contact.

This bit is a great step up from an Spur Up 02 or draw gag when a quicker response is required.

Recommended for training through competition.

Spur Up 03 MS, MPC-07c

#3: Spur Up 04

It’s called the “The Magic Bit” for a reason.

This bit has a 7 3/4″ cheek with 5″ of slide. This design is for a horse that wants to drop and turn, a horse with excessive rate, or to help slow down a riders quick or reactive hands.

With the longer slide it lifts the mouthpiece up in the mouth and adds poll contact through the headstall. With very little bar engagement and most of the pressure causing a slide of the mouthpiece, the curb pressure is minimal. This allows you to place the horse’s feet in a turn without slowing them down.

The headstall and cord curb adjustment is crucial for the function of this bit. Ideally the Mouthpiece should stop at the 1 to 1 point of the shank.

This may also need to be adjusted depending on the riding style, one hand verses two hands.

The cord curb only helps to keep the bit balanced but does not create the signal to slow or stop. The Spur Up 04 needs to be adjusted correctly with a short cheek headstall to work correctly.

Suggested for a training through competition. Comes with a wrapped cord, but if you need to add curb pressure we also build a flat leather or flat chain that comes with buckles and leather straps that allow you to adjust it and keep it centered.

Spur Up 04, MPC-07c

#4: Spur Up 11

The Spur Up 11 was designed for a quick response with a quick release.

This bit has a 7″ straighter shank with no slip. It has a 1 to 1 ratio which makes this bit balanced and effective.

The main objective of the Spur Up 11 is to speed up your hands/cues if your horse has a tendency to get ahead of you as you approach a turn. With no slip on the shank, it also gives you a quicker release.

Depending on which mouthpiece you choose, it can help to straighten up a horse that is over bending and create stability through the whole body.

Suggested for a horse that is quick and needs a bit that gets a response with very little delay.

Spur Up 11, MPC-07c

#5: Spur Up 05

The unique design of this draw bit sets the mouthpiece out in front of the headstall which will help soften the horse at the jaw and break at the poll.

There is 1″ of slip on the locked version of this bit, which gives a delay in contact and when used with the rope headstall and no curb, this bit lifts in the mouth and blocks at the poll.

The Spur Up 05 offers a direct rein with very little leverage which helps to get the horse to break and soften vertically without the resistance that can come with leverage and added bar pressure.

The extension of the rope below the bit acts as a flexible shank.

Suggested for a horse that wants to get stiff and braces through the jaw.

All bits vary in function depending on the mouthpiece and more importantly the choice curb adjustment and headstall.

Spur Up 05, MPC-07c
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