To warm you up, a few riddles and posers:
1. I can be a type of bit, a silly joke, or an icky sound. I am a:
2. Where the bit rests AND where people imbibe.
3. ‘McCarty’ is NOT my name, but it hints at the right sort of rein.
4. It’s a type of bit and a shovel with a blade. It’s a:
OK, that was fun…now let’s get serious. Sort of:
5. This serves as a throat latch on a bosal headstall.
6. True or false: With a hackamore, control comes mainly from the pressure of the noseband on the bridge of the horse’s nose.
7. The roller in the port of a curb bit is called a:
8. True or false: The purpose of a bridle’s curb strap is to enable the bridle to apply pressure to the poll and the bars of the mouth.
HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)
1. B is correct. A gag bit, sometimes used in barrel racing, is designed so that it can slide upwards on the bridle, applying a unique kind of pressure.
2. A is correct. Bits rest in a horse’s interdental space—that handy area of no teeth known as the bars of the mouth.
3. C is correct. “McCarty” is the cowboy term for the Spanish word “mecate,” the single, extra rein attached to a bosal headstall.
4. B is correct. A spade bit, which can work on the palate of the horse’s mouth, is intended only for horses in the final phase of traditional, multi-year vaquero training.
5. B is correct. A fiador is the rope throatlatch that attaches to the heel knot of the bosal.
6. T is correct. Pressure on the reins brings the bosal into contact with the bridge of a horse’s nose.
7. A is correct. And if you knew that, you probably also know the name comes from the sound it makes when a horse rolls it with his tongue.
8. T is correct. The curb strap achieves this action through leverage via the shanks and mouthpiece of the bit. (So—careful when you adjust that curb!)
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