Justin Briggs Explains Snaffles, Hackamores and Choosing the Right Bit for Your Horse

Justin Briggs breaks down the mechanics behind popular bits, hackamores and more and how they can fit into your training program when used correctly.
Justin briggs talks hackamores, snaffles and barrel racing bits

Here’s some of the best tips about barrel racing bits and hackamores that have helped Justin and his wife, World Champion barrel racer, Jordon Briggs, train some of the best horses in the game—including the 2021 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association AQHA horse of the year, Famous Lil Jet, “Rollo.”

Adapt as you go.

Briggs may start each colt in a halter, but he changes bits as a horse hits each new phase of its training because it has different needs. Check out the video link below to see Briggs walk through his bit room and describe which stages of training call for which items.

Justin Briggs discusses barrel racing hackamores and bits
In this video, Justin Briggs breaks down the bits that he uses on his colts at each stage of training.

Ater starting in a halter, Briggs upgrades to a smooth or twisted wire snaffle bit.

Find A Snaffle You Love

“I don’t particularly have a preference on an O-ring or D-ring,” Briggs said. “I just stick with my favorite two, I don’t even remember who made them.”

Briggs shows off his favorite snaffles in this video.

Understand Hackamores Before You Try Them

Briggs believes that many people jump into using a hackamore without understanding how it works. Briggs goes into detail here about the mechanics behind hackamores and how they can help your barrel racing when used properly.

“With a bit, you can kind of hold a horse,” Briggs explained. “A horse has to be pretty responsive and pretty broke to ride in a hackamore. You can’t just throw a hackamore on a horse and expect them to know what to do.”

See Justin’s favorite hackamores here, and learn the mechanics behind how they work.

Justin briggs and Rollo
Justin Briggs competing on the head side at the ARHFA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas. Primo Morales photo courtesy Justin Briggs.

Reins matter.

“I like a good, heavy rein where they feel the weight. Even on my roping bits, I like a rein that drops when I release it,” Justin Briggs.

See the bit that Justin rides Rollo in while riding at home or roping.

Learn from Justin and Jordon Briggs

Better horsemanship, a stronger mentality, faster and smoother runs—BarrelRacing.com offers training videos from beginner to advanced barrel racing instruction from the most respected voices in the industry. Cut time, gain confidence and win more with the best training tool for barrel racers. Subscribe now for just $29.99/month.