Originally Posted by luvs2ride1979
Why would you put something more harsh on the face of a horse that doesn't know anything?
IME, it's best to start with the lightest headgear possible. I like a plain leather halter with clip reins on the sides. Once you have your horse trained to that, you can ride him/her in anything...
The way I've seen, our newer horses (new to bitless I mean, not just green or newly started) don't yet know there IS anything on their face. Like my horse Ponch. (This might get long winded, I'm sorry...haha) He had been a reining/cow horse who had always had a bit in his mouth. When I first put a mechanical hackamore on him, he hardly responded. I'd very, VERY lightly bring up contact on one side, and as soon as he turned his head, release. We did that several times each of the beginning sessions. Our mechanical hackamores are harsher than the jumping hackamores, but we keep them loose enough (along with the reins) that it's not TOO harsh for them. Just enough that they can "hear" what we're saying (aka, feel the aids we're applying and understand what we're asking). Just a different method. :)