Speedy Horse-Showing Equipment
From bits and bats to saddles and spurs, AQHA Professional Horseman Doug Leasor shares his horse tack preferences for his speed-event horses.
June 24, 2014
From The American Quarter Horse Journal
AQHA Professional Horseman Doug Leasor, born and raised in Kentucky, has found his niche with Quarter Horses, even in the midst of Thoroughbred country. He got his first pony at 6, upgraded to a Quarter Horse at 12 and has had a passion for speed events ever since. Doug grew up competing in 4-H team roping and barrel racing. Now he trains and rides speed even horses.
Doug shares his equipment preferences for his speed-event horses, from bits to bats and saddles to spurs. Doug’s advice will ensure that you are prepared for your next event.
When starting horses, Doug uses an O-ring snaffle bit with a curb strap.
He doesn’t use solid mouthpieces. With a broken or jointed mouthpiece, you can control either side of the horse’s face, and you can lift each side separately.
Do you have more questions about horse tack? Download AQHA’s Horse Tack Information Report for an in-depth overview from an industry expert.
It’s common for a trainer to switch to a bigger bit if the horse stops responding correctly. Instead, “what you should do if a horse is messing up or running off is take him back down,” he says. “It’s important to take the horse back to where you were last getting a good performance.”
“A tie-down is a good thing if it’s used right,” he says. “My theory is that a tie-down is something to help a horse brace itself to stop, not to keep its head down.” Doug typically wants the tie-down to come to the throatlatch, and then he adjusts it from there.
Doug primarily uses protective boots from AQHA Corporate Partner Professional’s Choice.
“If I’m going to run them, I’m going to put (protective)boots on,” he says. “A football player doesn’t go out on the field without his helmet..”
However, Doug is a little more relaxed in practice. “If I’m just legging them up, such as trotting or loping circles, I won’t put (protective boots) on, but when doing any pattern work, I use them.”
“I’m from the old school, and I use a saddle with a solid tree that’s not going to move,” Doug says. “Buy the best quality equipment that you can afford. It will last longer.”
“I just use barrel-racing spurs,” he says. “I don’t use them when I run, just when I train. I ride a lot with my legs, and this is just a little more push than your heel.”
Want to learn more about saddles? Download AQHA’s Horse Tack Information Report to learn what saddle is right for you and your horse.
“I have a leather bat, and I keep it strapped to my arm,” he says. “I don’t even have to pick it up, because it’s attached to my arm.”
“Some horses you can bat, and it slows them down,” Doug says. “It depends on the horse. And some horses don’t need the bat at all because they give you all they’ve got. Generally, I’ve found that mares give you all they’ve got from the time you ask them until you pull back. Geldings are a little different. You have to ask them, and they are going to give you exactly what you ask them for and no more.”
How to choose the right bit for your horse? AQHA Word Champion Doug Milholland explains some popular bits and the correct way to use them.