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Old 07-01-2015, 05:17 PM   #1
Wooly Marmot
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Join Date: Jul 2015
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Default Traditional Spade Bit

I've been trying to learn more about Spade bits because, and call it a pipe dream of you want, I've dreamed of taking a horse Jaquima to Freno in the traditional Vaquero way for some time. But with the things that have been added to the process, mainly snaffle bits and half breed bits, finding out specific details about the traditional way has become a little difficult sometimes. So I would like the answers to two questions: (1) from what I've learned it appears that most traditionalists will ride a horse straight up with a Spade bit no less than 4 inches long and usually around 5 inches. But what I want to know is are special or shorter Spade bits used during the Two Rein or would they use the same bit they would ride straight up with? (2) Some Spade are solid allowing the cheek pieces to move none at all while others allow the the cheek pieces to slightly rotate independently of one another so that braces may pop back and forth to give the horse a cue. What I want to know is do rotating cheek pieces have any place in traditional Vaquero method *or are they a more recent idea? Because if they aren't traditional I won't bother messing with them. Thanks for any helpful input.
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Old 07-01-2015, 05:20 PM   #2
Wooly Marmot
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And do you you prefer copper wire or rollers on you braces, and is either one more traditional?
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Old 07-06-2015, 01:04 PM   #3
Baquero
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That is a lot of questions to cover in just a few paragraphs. I will give you my opinion, take it for what it is worth.

I think anything less than 3.5" inches isn't a spade. Most of my spades are 4-4.5" I also have some half breeds, mona lisas, and what they call a baqueno mouth piece.

Different bits fit different horses. The conformation of there mouth and the way the neck ties in with the head has a lot to do with how the angle of the spade should sit. For some a 5" spade is too tall and the horse will not work well in it. Others work more free in a half breed. I actually really like the baqueno mouth piece a lot. It can be used as a signal bit but it doesn't scare a horse. Most half breeds I see are too short, for it to work as a signal bit it needs to be taller than most are made these days.

During the two-rein, I like to see which horse the bit can get comfortable with. The horse will be packing the bit, so it helps to try a few out. I generally start out with a spade to see how they carry the bit, how relaxed the jaw is, etc.

As far as solid or loose cheeks. All of my bits have loose cheeks, the more signal the better in my experience. I also like the braces to be just behind the cannon bar, this gives the horse another signal as they pop back and forth.

Whether or not solid or loose cheeks are traditional? They had both back in the day. Some of the loose cheeks became more loose as they were used or earned. Great questions, let me know if that answers or helps any?
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