Leading futurity trainer and rider Ashley Schafer ran four horses in the Horse Hair Analysis Futurity at the Elite Extravaganza in Waco, Texas. All four, including her futurity champion Born On Derby Day, ran in a Cameron Schoneberg Casey Long with a square, chain-break mouthpiece.
“It has a little bit of gag and quite a bit of purchase,” Schafer explained. “It has a little more shank than purchase, but not a lot. It has a little ‘pick up’ to it. If your horse gets a little flat going into a turn or starts to turn too early and you have to pick up, you have a little more leverage. I’m not a big lifter, but I like to have something there that they respect if I need it.”
Schafer also has the regular Casey, which has a shorter purchase than the Long.
“I like it, but I don’t like it as much as the same bit with the longer purchase,” she said. “I can feel that difference.
“If you ride a bit that has quite a bit of shank and no purchase, you lift up and there’s nothing above the mouthpiece to give you leverage to help you pick the shoulder up. It allows them to still lean into that.”
Schafer has her Casey Long outfitted with a loose leather curb strap. The choice was completely random but works.
“I needed to get that bit set up and a leather curb was sitting there,” she chucked. “I actually really like it.”
She said riding with a looser curb strap allows the bit to function properly, adding that too tight of curb strap is one of the more common bitting problems she’s seen.
“Bits with a longer purchase like (the Casey Long), I like to have a looser curb,” she said. “When your curb is really tight on a bit with a longer purchase it hits them really hard and binds them. I have it a little looser than I would on a shorter purchase bridle.”
Schafer encouraged riders to find a bit that fits their hands like this Schoneberg fits hers.
“You have to get one that fits your hands,” she stated. “If you’re a person that really uses your hands a lot or pulls your horses around the turn, you have to be careful using a bridle that’s a little bigger like that. I’m really, really light handed in a run, so I need a little bit more bridle that way if I do need to do something, I can get a reaction.”