Having ridden countless winning barrel horses during her career, Kelly Yates talks about a few of the favorite bits in her collection that compliment different types of barrel racing needs.
Kelly Yates is a COWGIRL, and her family’s roping roots shine through when you look at her collection of barrel racing bits, but wait—is that an English bit?
Yates breaks down her top four bits from her unique barrel racing bit collection for futurities, jackpots and rodeos.
“It just depends on how fast we’re going as to what type [of bit] I’m going to need,” said multiple- time National Finals Rodeo qualifier and many-time Mountain States Circuit champion barrel racer, and unoffical expert in barrel racing bits, Kelly Yates. “And, also the horse.”
Known for her light-handed, smooth style that consistently delivers winning runs, Yates shared with us a few of her favorite bits and why she likes the results they help produce.
1. For the barrel horse that wants to Overbend: This medium shanked ported bit.
“It’s kind of a neat bit because it gives you a little bend, but it doesn’t make them stiff to where they won’t come around [the barrel]. I have used this bit an awful lot,” she said.
2. The English Bit Kelly Yates Uses in Barrel Racing
Yates next pointed to a shorter shanked bit with a rubber mouthpiece seen frequently in the world of English riding.
“This is an English bit but this bit will straighten a horse up a lot,” said Yates. “It will make them a lot more fluid in their turn instead of being too bendy to where it takes them so long to get around a barrel.”
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3. The Hackamore
Another good tool for gaining straightness in the turn—if you need it—without getting a horse too rigid is a hackamore.
“I have used this a lot,” Yates said.
4. The Combination Bit
“I also like a combination,” she said. “If you have a horse that wants to root, you can put a little noseband on and you can get a little more respect where they’ll set and turn a little easier.”
For more extensive training tips with Kelly Yates and other top trainers, check out BarrelRacing.com.