The Best Barrel Racing Bits (5 Top–Sellers)

What are Barrel Bits?

The best barrel racing bits are mouthpieces for horses to help them go faster during competition. They raise the horses’ shoulders and promote vertical and lateral flexion.

Most pleasure riders use bits to slow, stop, and guide their horses. But did you know that utilizing the right bit might help you correct your barrel horse’s action? Certain barrel racing bits are better at elevating your horse’s shoulders. 

Cowgirl on horse barrel racing Rodeo

The Different Types of Barrel Bits

There are a lot of different parts out there, and they all fit into one of a few different categories, except for one or two. 


A simple snaffle bit is an excellent choice for practically any riding discipline, including barrel racing. When deciding what style of bit to use, start with a snaffle and work your way up from there. 

When compared to some of the more advanced and specialized bits, a snaffle bit is relatively soft. It is unlikely to cause your horse any performance issues, and if it performs well in a basic snaffle design, it most likely has a sensitive mouth and will not benefit from a harsher bit.

Shanked Bits 

The majority of barrel racers use a shanked, curved bit. Depending on their design elements, the harshness of these parts can range from somewhat light to reasonably severe. The less leverage (stopping strength) you have, the shorter the bit’s shank is. 

The mouthpiece on a shanked bit can be practically anything you want it to be; tack stores and manufacturers offer hundreds of variations. If you’re going to use a shanked bit, make sure the mouthpiece balances and provides enough support for your horse to bend well without falling in throughout the turns. 

You don’t want a bit harsher than your horse requires since he will become accustomed to it and resistant to more delicate instructions. A curb strap is usually available with shanked bits. 

Although some shanked bits have a gag element, running a gag bit during competition has fallen out of favor. When ridden by a hard-handed or unbalanced rider, gag bits are pretty harsh and can cause a lot of damage to the mouth.


Hackamores are bitless bridles that allow you to ride without putting anything in your horse’s mouth. You should use them on horses that respond well to pressure on the face and poll rather than the mouth from the rider. 

These are especially effective for horses that dislike bits or have a hardened mouth from previous harsh riding. It’s worth noting that most barrel racers employ a mechanical hackamore rather than a kinder bosal or side pull. 

Is a Mild Bit Always the Best?

While many consider a snaffle a gentle bit, repeated tugging on the reins can quickly make your horse’s mouth numb or “hard.” While a lighter bit may appear gentler on your horse in theory, a horse that pulls hard on the reins may benefit from a more challenging bit that does not encourage it to lean.

The Different Types of Mouthpieces

Because it lies within your horse’s mouth, the mouthpiece is perhaps the most crucial portion of the bit, and we’ll be focusing on it the most in this article.

Mouthpieces are a component of both a snaffle and curb bit. It can vary in material and appearance. Mouthpieces form out of a bar, a straight bar, two bars, and a chain. Some are rubber or plastic material for horses with sensitive jaws, while others have the flavor to encourage the horse to accept the bit.

There are several different mouthpieces available. The most frequent are below.

  • Mullen mouth:  A single bar mouthpiece is gentler than a jointed mouthpiece since it does not pinch the horse’s mouth, making it ideal for horses with sensitive mouths. Its material is rubber or high-tech plastic.
  • Single joint: Mouthpieces can be single or double-jointed. Single-jointed mouthpieces are the most frequent jointed mouthpiece, and they are in the middle. One disadvantage of the single-jointed mouthpiece is that when the rider applies pressure to the reins, it often creates a nutcracker effect, pinching the horse. A double-jointed mouthpiece contains two bars connected by a centerpiece that can be a link, port, roller, or any other shape. 
  • Ported link: A double-joint port also has a middle port that connects to the bar on both sides.
Cowgirl barrel racing rodeo

Our Top Pick for Barrel Racing Bits

There are many types of barrel horse bits that you can choose from. Our top pick for the best barrel racing bits is Reinsman Josey Million Dollar Bit. It is the best you can have for your horse, it has a five-inch shank, and it distributes pressure on the bar’s nose, corners of the mouth, curb, and poll.

An Overview of the Best Barrel Racing Bits

  1. Reinsman Josey Million Dollar Bit for HorseBest Overall Barrel Racing Bits
  2. Aime Imports Westen SS Dogbone Twisted Sweet Six BitBest for Sports and Other Outdoor Activities
  3. Professional’s Choice Futurity BitBest Choice for Professionals
  4. Circle Y REINSMAN Josey Prime Time 3-Piece Combination Bit- Best for Barrel Racing Training
  5. Circle Y REINSMAN Josey Go-Around Combination Bit for HorseBest for Barrel Racing Competition

Reviewing Our Top Picks for Barrel Racing Bits

Reinsman Josey Million Dollar Bit for Horse: Best Overall Barrel Racing Bits

Brand: Reinsman

Color: Silver

Material: Stainless steel

Bit type: Twisted wire dog bone snaffle

About This Item

The Million Dollar bit has won a lot of money for many riders; use it to get the flex you need from a well-balanced bit. This Reinsman’s bit has a rope noseband and a stainless steel 3-piece twisted wire dog bone snaffle mouthpiece. 

The Million Dollar bit has a five-inch (12.7 centimeters) shank and uniformly distributes pressure on the nose, bars, corners of the mouth, curb, and poll.

Josey Million Dollar bit is Stage D; this stage is all about polish, subtle hints, and rapid communication. Increased leverage, more advanced mouthpieces, and maybe taller ports are among the characteristics.


  • Combination bit style.
  • Stage D is the bit stage.
  • Mouth type: three-piece, dogbone. 

Recommended Use

  • Use this bit for achieving the all-important flex you need from a well-balanced bit or when you want some extra flash.

Aime Imports Westen SS Dogbone Twisted Sweet Six Bit: Best for Sports and Other Outdoor Activities

Brand: Aime Imports

Color: Silver

Material: Stainless steel

Bit type: Dogbone Twisted

About This Item

This Twisted wire bit is excellent for training your horse to respond to light cues. It helps your horse salivate. It has a curb chain with adjustable clips.


  • Mouth – 5 inches (12.7 centimeters)
  • Cheeks – 3 inches (7.6 centimeters)

Recommended Uses

  • This bit is best for your horse’s training to respond to light cues.

Professional’s Choice Futurity Bit: Best Choice for Professionals

Brand: Professional’s Choice

Colors: Silver

Material: Stainless steel

Bit type: Three pieces of smooth dog bone

About This Item

Many Western events prohibit contestants from using snaffle bits on horses above five. Because most show bits have the design you handle one-handed, you should apply only a small amount of direct rein pressure to the long shanks.

Impatient horses can play with the copper roller mouthpiece, thus encouraging salivation. This “show bit,” like any “show bit,” isn’t intended for everyday use and will be in use mainly in the ring.


  • It has three pieces smooth dog bone mouthpieces.
  • A smooth bar that offers a softer feel.

Recommended Uses

  • This barrel racing bit is best for use by professionals.

Circle Y REINSMAN Josey Prime Time 3-Piece Combination Bit: Best for Barrel Racing Training

Brand: Circle Y

Material: Other

Bit type: Combination

Color: Silver

About This Item

Josey Prime Time Bit by Reinsman is similar to the Million Dollar Bit but with a blue finish, silver beads, and silver overlay. When using it, apply pressure evenly throughout the nose, bars, corners of the mouth, curb, and poll. Use this bit to get the all-important flex from a well-balanced bit or if you want a little extra flash.

A stage D of expert neck reining is all on refinement, subtle cues, and swift communication. Increased leverage, more advanced mouthpieces, and maybe taller ports are among the features.

High-quality horse tack- Reinsman offers a complete line of American-made bits to help you start, improve, and finish your bridle horse. Reinsman pieces must be free of workmanship flaws for the duration of their useful life.


  • Bit Style: Combination.
  • Bit Stage: Stage D.
  • Mouth Size: 5 ½ inches (14 centimeters)
  • Mouth Diameter: 5/16 inches (14.2 centimeters)
  • Mouth Type: Three-Piece, Dogbone, Twisted.
  • Nose Type: Rope Nose.

Recommended Uses

This bit is best for use with horses that are training for barrel racing.

Circle Y REINSMAN Josey Go-Around Combination Bit for Horse: Best for Barrel Racing Competition

Brand: Circle Y

Bit type: Gag

Material: Stainless steel

Color: Brown/silver

About This Item

Josey Reinsman’s go-around bit has a brown iron mouthpiece with a low port that is quite pleasant for many horses and gives good handling.

The shanks’ “stops” keep the mouthpiece in place and provide precisely the proper amount of gag action for the rider. This bit can package a horse in the turns, keeping him calm and sharp.

You can use this bit to correct a horse who elevates his nose or drops his shoulder and assist a horse in using his back end to round him out.

Stage C bits are for horses like neck reining and respond well to poll pressure. All features are solid mouthpieces, cheek attachments, and swivel cheeks with jointed mouthpieces or low to medium ports.


  • Combination bit style.
  • Mouth diameter: ⅜ inches (1 centimeter).
  • Mouth material: Brown sweet iron.
  • Mouth type: Low port. 

Recommended Uses

  • These are gag bits for barrel racing that works with horses in all stages of barrel racing training and competition endorsed by Martha Josey.
Young cowgirl barrel racing rodeo

Our Final Verdict on Barrel Racing Bits

As you can see, there are numerous sorts of bits and even more types of mouthpieces available. It can be challenging to choose the ideal horse bit for your horse. However, after examining your horse’s ability and training, how sensitive they are, and how skilled you are as a rider, you should have no trouble finding the ideal horse bit. 

Which option do you believe you’ll choose? Our choice is Reinsman Josey Million Dollar Bit for Horse. It is the best overall barrel racing bit.