Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Billy Allen Bits - A Good Transition

Ready To Move Up To the Curb - Billy Allen
The billy allen bit is one staple in my bit collection for training and for recommending to students to use when moving up to a small to medium shanked bit. I usually use the billy allen mouthpiece on short to medium length of shanks though you can find the mouthpiece on just about any type of snaffle or curb.
The bit on the right (that I use for showing) is described as "Avila Straight Roller Bit by Professional's Choice
The mild mouthpiece and short shank in the Avila Straight Roller make this a very gentle bit. The sweet iron mouthpiece with copper roller is curved just slightly to offer tongue relief for the horse's comfort
." (As described on
Rod's website.)
The roller or barrel will prevent the mouthpiece from splitting and therefore preventing the nutcracker affect. The roller also acts as a pacifier, getting horses to salivate and relax. It's great for those very oral horses. I find that it really relaxes horses.
I like this as the 1st or second curb bit to try on a horse when moving to the curb bit. I like the swivel shanks. It still allows the rider to be able to do lateral work (flex laterally). The mouthpiece will swivel or turn inside the barrel. It's great for lifting shoulders.
It's also a great bit for going from 2 handed to one-handed. Both sides of the bit will work together with the solid-like mouthpiece. And will allow a rider or trainer to go back to 2 hands when they need to.
I find most horses really like this bit. It's soothing to them. I usually try this bit on a new horse if I'm not familiar with their background.
Too Popular of A Bit - I guess?
Many years ago I was working my horses at a boarding stable and found that my Billy Allen bit was missing. I searched everywhere including my truck, thinking I had not brought the bit inside the barn.
You know.... how you 2nd guess yourself. Did I?.... didn't I?..... humm.....
Well I had found out from the 'grape vine' that someone who has just left the barn had decided to leave with a 'going away present' of my Billy Allen bit.
So be careful.... the Billy Allen bit is quite popular.
Next article I will talk about one of my most common mouthpieces.... the correctional.
Questions and comments are always welcome.
If you need any help with bits, please feel free to contact me.
©Copyright KISS Reiners


  1. One of the great classic bits. Just has everything going for it. A great transition bit but also a bit that a lot of horse can wear the rest of their life. A mild bit that offers a lot of signal control. You're really cheating yourself if you don't have a Billy Allen bit hanging in your barn.

    Like any other bit, I've had horses that do hate it. Normally older horses that have become accustomed to something different. Even in those cases I'm sure with more time they would be going good with the BA, but I'll usually change bits...maybe a little quicker than I should be.

    I've recently started using a bit by Doug Robart that he calls "The Reiner". It has a lot of the benefits of a Billy Allen but with a medium port for tongue relief. So far I've been very happy with it. I've also had great results with his snaffle bits.

  2. Thanks for the comment Al.
    I too have a high port mouthpiece with the Billy Allen like barrel in the centre. I like the tongue relief.

    This leads into my next article on correctionals. The high port and copper rollers.