Freno is a Spanish word that means “stop” or “brake”. The Vaquero would train a horse from Jaquima a Freno or “from hackamore to spade bit”. The spade bit is a “balance bit” that sits on the horse’s palate more comfortably, despite its size, than a snaffle bit or other forms of bit.
The Spade Bit will teach a horse proper head carriage and works like power steering requiring very little effort on the part of the horseman. For a horse to be considered a Bridle Horse in the Vaquero tradition it must be comfortable carrying the spade bit and operating off a very light signal from the reins.
A horse picking up on a spade bit could push through the rider’s hands with far fewer consequences than a snaffle bit. The snaffle has a nutcracker action on the bars of a horse’s mouth inflicting great pain. A broken snaffle will also elevate at the joint to apply pressure to the horse’s palate. Because of it’s design a spade bit applies pressure more evenly across the tongue and is unable to elevate to the palate, if properly fitted.