I really like the idea of hackamores. Great for horses who just don't do well with bits or just to get out of your horse's mouth for awhile. It's good to change things up.
I'm fairly certain bosals tend to be softer than mechanical hackamores, but I could be wrong. There are all different sizes, materials, levels of stiffness, etc. that make them stronger or softer. In the end any bit or nose piece is only as harsh as the hand holding the reins, like you may have heard before. If you want something particularly soft, you can do with just a soft thick rope nose. I've been known to ride in a basic rope halter with a wrapped nose, pretty much the same deal, really.
Last edited by rocky pony; 08-28-2010 at 08:09 PM.