From Hack to Hollis – A bit change for Hailey Kinsel and “Sister”

Hailey Kinsel changed headgear on her $2 million winner DM Sissy Hayday (“Sister”) to net a $24,000 San Antonio Championship.

Photograph by Avid Visual Imagery/Phil Kitts

Hailey Kinsel changed headgear on her $2 million winner DM Sissy Hayday (“Sister”) to net a $24,000 San Antonio Championship.

Hailey Kinsel made a bold move at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. She changed the bit on her $2 million winner DM Sissy Hayday (“Sister”) to net a $24,000 San Antonio Championship.

Read: San Antonio Spurs Kinsel To No. 1

Since her second competition run ever, Hailey Kinsel had used the same bit, a Reinsman Johnson Hackamore combination bit with a chain mouthpiece, on her prized Sister. But the mare gained her speed and confidence as a 4-year-old with a Hollis gag with a fat twisted, dogbone mouthpiece.

“When I started cruising her through in her 4-year-old year that was the bit I used,” Kinsel said of the Hollis gag. “It was a good transition bit from her 3-year-old baby bridles. I made her very first competition run in it but she got a little strong and I needed a little more. That’s when I switched to the combo and she was just so comfortable in it that we stuck with it for a long, long time.”

After tipping barrels at the 2021 National Finals Rodeo, Kinsel decided she needed a little bit less bridle.

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“I was like, I need something that’s a little bit less for her and for me to know that I don’t have a lot so I drop my hand and leave it there,” she explained. “I stayed in the combo at Fort Worth because I knew with that first barrel so far off the fence that I was going to need a little bit more help to find it and start the turn. After that she’s pretty much put your hand forward and just place her, get her laterally in position. For that you can literally have her in whatever, it’s really just that first barrel.”

Hailey Kinsel knew Sister would be comfortable in the Hollis because she still used the bit from time to time.

“I ride her in that bit if I have to tune her, which isn’t often,” she said. “Anytime we have an open arena or practice time, I usually put that bit or a similar one on with a German martingale. That’s something she’s pretty comfortable in. I took the martingale off and put the tiedown on for the run.”

After making two of the fastest runs of the San Antonio Rodeo, Kinsel plans to use the Hollis more often in similar setups.

“I felt in that tight setup it gave me a little more wiggle room like on the back side of the turn,” she said. “If I needed to make an adjustment, I could make one a little softer and a little slower than I could with that combo.”

About Tanya Randall

Tanya Randall is an award-winning equine journalist and avid barrel racer. After graduating from Texas A&M University, Randall has spent the past 25 years extensively covering the sport of barrel racing, from winning bloodlines to horse health care and everything in between. In her spare time, she enjoys raising and training horses with her husband Matt, an equine veterinarian, and serving as hockey mom for their son Colton.