A Barrel Racer’s Unlikely Obsession

Posted in: Horse Supplies

When it comes to barrel racers, some like to deck their horses out in Ed Hardy bling headstalls and breastcollars, some have to wear the same colors to match their horses protective boots and saddle pad, and some, like myself, have “obsessions” with bits, spurs and cowboy boots. My bit and spur obessions range from JM Capriola (Garcia bits and spurs) to Tom Balding and Dave Elliott.

Garcia bits are not tradionally made for barrel racers, however I have a weakness for a fancy spade bit to ride while working cows. I am not a buckaroo nor will I ever pretend to be,(I was raised in ranch country in South Dakota, we aren’t buckaroos!)  yet I find myself wandering around JM Capriola’s booth at the NFR every year, marveling at the fancy silver spade bits. Infact, for a Christmas present three years ago to my husband I had Garcia’s design a one of a kind custom made pistol shanked bit with a chain mouthpiece. Since it’s “too pretty” to put on a horse, it now hangs in our house!

 My Tom Balding twisted wire snaffle bit is something I can never be without in my trailer, as it has the perfect feel on any horse, young or old. While college rodeoing in the Big Sky region I won a pair of Tom Balding spurs (still to this day, one of my favorite prizes to win!). I set those spurs on the mantle above my fireplace and decided I would never wear them. After three years of staring at them I threw them on a pair of spur straps. They are one of my most prized possessions!

I have also purchased several of the Canadian bit maker, Dave Elliott’s bits over the years and (even though I have a love/hate relationship with gag bits), I have become quite fond of these bits.  

I also can’t attend a branding without my cowhide chinks. These dandies have lasted me since I won them at the Regional High School rodeo my sophomore year. My dad always told me not to wear those chinks while dragging calves because the cowhide would rub off. Well after ten years of use, those chinks have lost some of the cowhide, however they are still my favorite chinks and they have a special value to me.

 Lastly, my unlikely obsession as a barrel racer is my beloved pink stove top boots. These boots were custom made for me by Keith Lockie from Jordan, Montana. Keith is a friend of my in laws and he created the most confortable boots I have ever wore. I had never owned or even tried on a pair of stove tops until I ordered these from Keith. I had him design them with pink tops and square toes with my initials on the tops. Now, I know they look a little “ranchy” in the barrel racing world, but that’s just fine, they go right together with my Garcia bit and Balding spurs!

Posted in: Horse Supplies

About Bailee Murnion

I was raised on the back of a horse on my families ranch in rural northwestern South Dakota. I grew up roping, tying goats and traning barrel horses, which I still enjoy doing today. I have a deep appreciation for a good horse, a cup...

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