What are the best bits for horses? In today’s post, I’ll take you through some of the best horse bits in the market. The main goal of this post is to help you get that perfect bit for your horse.
- 1 The Best Bits for Horses Reviews 2018
- 1.1 Jim Warner Hackamore
- 1.2 Reinsman ss little s hackamore
- 1.3 Westen AT Rope Nose Little S Hackamore
- 1.4 Western SS Little S Leather Nose Hackamore
- 1.5 Reinsman Little S Flat Leather Nose Hackamore
- 1.6 The Million Dollar Bit by Martha Josey
The Best Bits for Horses Reviews 2018
Jim Warner Hackamore
- Rope Nose
- 7” Cheeks
History of the Jim Warner Hackamore
Jim Warner, the mastermind behind the Warner Hackamore is an accomplished futurity trainer. He created the hackamore in the early 1990’s and then sold the rights to Reinsman. As of now, the only certified Jim Warner Hackamore available is through Reinsman.
Warner first developed the idea when he found that all the other available hackamores available for purchase were too stiff for one of his futurity colts. He then implemented the idea of swiveling shanks to create more bend and flex. It took a while to get it right, but Warner believes he created a sidepull/hackamore hybrid that will be useful for many trainers and riders. It has now become what is arguably, the best hackamore on the market for barrel racing.
The hackamore comes in the long (9”) version and short (7”) version. The short version is the more common of the two, but the long version can be used on horses that need more rate.
The Jim Warner Hackamore can come with a chain noseband, which is more severe than the rope noseband. Chain nosebands conform to the horse’s nose in order to reach pressure points. This will facilitate a quicker reaction time. Most associations require chain nosebands to be wrapped with vet wrap or black electrical tape to reduce the severity. This way the noseband is still flexible, but provides some cushion between the metal and the pressure points. You can also wrap the noseband in cotton and then wrap it to provide even more padding.
Use of the Hackamore
The Jim Warner hack is also commonly used in the training pen, not only because it is so effective, but to also give the horse’s mouth a rest from the bit. Many barrel racers find it useful to ride their horse in a hackamore during the week and then compete in a bit in order to keep the horse’s mouth soft and responsive.
Fit is huge when it comes to hackamores! If the hackamore isn’t positioned correctly then you aren’t getting the effect you want. The lower the noseband is positioned, the more severe it is. It isn’t recommended to allow the nose band to slide low enough to reach the soft part of the nose. If the nose band is too high, your horse won’t be able to get a good feel for it and you will lose some responsiveness.
It’s also very important to give your horse some time to adjust from a bit to a hackamore. Because the pressure is applied completely differently; it make take several rides for your horse to accept a new hackamore. Horse’s that have used tie downs or combination bits are more likely to transition quickly. After several rides if your horse still isn’t adjusting to a hackamore, try riding in a combination bit.
There are several knockoffs of the Jim Warner Hack, but we do not recommend due to Reinsman owning the rights. There could be small changes in other brands that reduce the quality and distribution of pressure for the horse, which may result in training issues.
If you need extra rate, try the long shank Jim Warner Hackamore
Horses that can benefit from a Jim Warner Hackamore
- Seasoned horses
- horses that work well without a bit, but need a more controlled stop.
- horses that need more flexion in the turns
- An alternative to a bit during practice
This hackamore has become a staple in the barrel racing industry, there is nothing bad to say about it’s quality. This hackamore is commonly used during practice, but can also be used during competition runs. The hack effectively swivels to promote the bend you want around a barrel. It also has a substantial amount of “woah” for a hackamore.
Reinsman offers a lifetime guarantee on all of their bits. So, if you are hesitant about the price, this should give you some peace of mind.
The hackamore comes with a curb chain with durable adjustment screws to encourage proper fit. It also comes with a slobber bar that will prevent the shanks from separating and possibly pinching the horse.
Aside from the initial investment, if your horse isn’t used to a noseband it may take some time to get adjusted.
You will also have to be certain to get the adjustment correct in order for the hackamore to work properly.
I hope that the Jim Warner Hackamore reviews of the short and long shank hackamores have been helpful to you!
If you have any questions or would like to leave your own review, please leave a comment below.
Do Hackamores Work?
The little S hackamore is a very simple piece of tack that has been used for barrel racing and training young horses with ample success by many. The little S is has very little whoa, so it is most beneficial when used on horses that are naturally rate-y.
Many horse people do not have much experience with hackamores and decide right off the bat that they don’t like them. This is usually the case when the hackamore is positioned incorrectly on the horses face.
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When adjusting the bridle, the nose band should lay above the soft part of the nose and allow two to three fingers slack between the nose and the nose band. When the hackamore is too far down it may cut off the air supply to the horse and when it is too tight it may pinch the horse; causing undesirable behavior.
The little s hack was created with turning in mind, which is why it is so prominent in the barrel racing community. The shank is created in a way that it can easily swivel which motivates the turning of the horse’s face. This hackamore is one of the mildest training hackamores you can get; which also makes it great for beginner riders with heavy hands.
There are several brands and versions of the little S hackamore, the first one being:
Reinsman ss little s hackamore
- Rope 12-1/4″
- Bottom of ring to top of shank (length) 5-3/4″
- Ring to ring (width) 8-1/2″ Cheeks 6″
- Stainless Steel Shank
The Reinsman hackamore comes with a lifetime guarantee, which makes the high price worth it. It comes with a fully adjustable curb chain, which will be important for proper fit.
The reinsman also comes with a cable “slobber bar” that will prevent the two shanks from pulling apart from each other, which could cause discomfort for the horse.
The Reinsman brand is also a trusted name in the bit making business. You can be certain you are getting a quality made bit when you go with Reinsman.
The rope nose is not adjustable. Although, this style comes in a regular and arabian size, it may not fit all size horses. The rope nose band is very stiff when new, so may need to be wrapped with vet wrap.
Westen AT Rope Nose Little S Hackamore
- 6” cheeks
- rigid waxed nylon rope
- shanks made of carbon steel with antique brown finish
This is a great economy option if you aren’t wanting to spend a fortune on a bit. It is made to be extremely close in specifications to the reinsman model. This economy model also offers the fully adjustable curb chain and “slobber bar” addition.
The carbon steel has been known to leave black smudges on the horses face during use. This bit also does not come in an arabian size and offers no lifetime guarantee.
Western SS Little S Leather Nose Hackamore
- 6” Cheeks
- Leather adjustable nose band
This economy version offers a very mild adjustable nose band. If you are concerned with the harshness of a nylon nose band; you will be much happier with the leather. The adjustability will also make it easier to use the hack on multiple horses. The curb also comes fully adjustable.
You will have to pay a little more for the leather nose band. Also be aware that the leather will wear out more quickly than the nylon nose band.
Reinsman Little S Flat Leather Nose Hackamore
- 6” cheeks
- Stainless steel shank
This reinsman hackamore is made with high quality leather and stitching that will stand the test of time. It is very mild and a great piece of equipment for the sensitive horse.
The price is higher than the others and doesn’t come with the lifetime guarantee like the nylon Reinsman option.
The Million Dollar Bit by Martha Josey
The Million Dollar Bit, also known as the short shank combination bit, was renamed because of the amount of money barrel racers have won while using it.
The Million Dollar Bit is equipped with a 3 piece twisted wire snaffle, with a dog bone mouth piece and rope over the nose. This bit is very well balanced due to the pressure being distributed evenly to the nose, bars, corner of the mouth, curb and poll. Because of this, the Million Dollar Bit is a great choice for the heavy handed rider.
The shank is 5″ long which allows for the rate you need. You can’t argue that this bit hasn’t been successful for a lot of riders, but just to be clear you can’t just buy a popular bit to solve all your problems. This bit has numerous great features, but in the wrong hands it could cause undesirable effects on training.
This bit is not intended to be used day to day, but for competition runs. On a well patterned horse, this bit will work excellently.
The Million Dollar bit is arguably one of the best bits for horses because of the number of riders that use it and the amount of success it has had.
This bit is manufactured by Reinsman; a high quality bit producing company. The Million dollar bit is made from high quality stainless steel and is unlikely to have any manufacturing issues.
It also comes with bit guards to protect the horse’s mouth from being pinched as well a curb chain with high quality adjustable screws to allow for maximum customization for each horse.
- Pressure distributed evenly
- Good for heavy handed riders
- Offers good flexion
- Good choice for more control in turns
The Million dollar bit comes with a noseband that distributes pressure across the nose. Especially when the bit is new the band will be somewhat stiff and could begin to rub the hair off of the nose. If this becomes a problem, you should consider wrapping the nose band with black electrical tape to provide a smooth even surface against the nose.
It is also important to remember that this bit is not intended to be an every day training bit. Because the pressure is distributed evenly, the bit will not do damage to your horse’s mouth, but it’s important to mix things up during training to keep the mouth from getting sore.
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