Mechanical hackamore, snaffle question - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-24-2009, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Mechanical hackamore, snaffle question

I was curious as to other peoples opinions on mechanical hackamores.
I personally use one myself, it's fleece padded and works well. My horses work off leg and neck rein cues rather well, so the hackamore is there for stopping (and some turning, when the horse is absolutely not responding to any leg or neck cues) if needed. Which, normally it isn't.

I have also used the hackamore to bring a horse back under control by turning in a tight circle, usually in both directions. Loki throws a hissy fit if I try such a thing, but it has worked for bringing Sam back around when he starts to have a tantrum, which after maybe three rides became none-existent.

I have heard that they have potential for being harsh. I have another mechanical sitting in my tackroom that has a rubber noseband with long, metal shanks (holy I was so naive when I bought that horrid thing) but I refuse to use the fugly device. It's harsh just looking at it.

I do try to focus on working the horse off of leg and seat, though, with greener hellions such as Loki, I ride with little to no slack. I don't pull or put any pressure on the hackamore, but I don't give him a very loose rein. The reason for this being is that he is prone to happily race back to the barn, and a slack rein is the last thing I need when attempting an emergency stop on one bucking bronco.
If this makes any sense, he has a loose rein without it actually being 'loose'.

I have tried riding both Sam and Loki in a curb, but they reacted badly to it. I would ask for a turn, and there would be head tossing and irritation. Out of fear of causing them pain or making them hard mouthed, I have stopped using them. They respond very well to the hackamore, though.

On the topic of the snaffle, my neighbor may trade me a snaffle for my fancy curb bit that I can't ever use again. I don't know what kind yet, but could some snaffle-experts please give me a run down on them? I don't want to trade a bit that I can't use for another I still can't use. I DO want to ride Red Man in a snaffle, maybe even Loki and Sam. But...I am lost when it comes to snaffles themselves. I know SOME harsh ones (such as a twisted wire) but if someone were to show me a D-ring French Link (I think that exists...) or a...something...else... I can only stare and look confused.

I used to have a snaffle, but I lost it here somewhere. I don't even know what kind it was. We bought it for my first TWH who then later needed a hackamore (he tried to eat the snaffle) and it just sat around after that, heh.

Wait! I'll fix it....
twogeldings is offline  
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-25-2009, 08:47 AM
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Just like there are so many different types of bits, there are almost as many variations of each type. You really need to post a picture. The maker, as well as the type of metal used is equally as important.

A snaffle can be non joined, single joined, double joined, arched, Billy Allen, loose ring, offset D, sweet iron, stainless, copper mouth, copper inlay, etc. - just to scratch the surface.

My all time favorite is a slight arched, Billy Allen mouth, offset D, sweet iron.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

It's not always what you say but what they hear.
iridehorses is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 06-25-2009, 08:52 AM
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On mechanical hackamores; they have the same effect as a curb, but if your horse doesn't like, let's say a straight mouthpiece in his mouth, he can prefer the hackamore. And the hackamore is a harsh bit(less), even the ''nice'' ones are harsh. BUT it serves it's purpose. A curb is also a very harsh bit, but when it's used in the right way, it can be a good guide and help for even a green horse.
As an emergency break, if the horse ''always'' is ridden without contact otherwise and listen to seat and leg, the hackamore is ok. Same if it's used to get the head down, if you use your seat and leg and manage to get the rest of the horse with you. Otherwise you'll just end up with a horse that's still rushing forward with 90% of his weight on his frontlegs, but at the same time biting his chest.. And some horses do need a bit of help to realise that the nose should be down, doesn't mean they'll collect just because the nose is down, but it's easier to get the rest of the horse with you if the horse isn't staring at the skies and biting against you. Well.. that's my point of curbs, including hackamores, in dressage-ish work. I thik your use of it is ok tho, but I had prefered a completely loose rein since no matter how light you think you're holding, it's much heavier on the horses nose than your hand.
Is it really a curb you've been trying? It has a chin strap/curb chain? :) Just curious. But I can imagine that reaction if you put a curb with even the easy contact you say you have, on a sensetive horse and without the snaffle (or riding cavesson) there to use as a main bit. Crow reacted just like that the one time I used only his spanish curb for a photoshoot, even tho he's used to having the curb working in his mouth - but with a muserola (riing caveson-thingie) in combination.

When it comes to snaffles, it's really about what your horse prefers. Except the twisted wire, chain, bike chains, chainsaw-chains mouthpieces that I saw when I visited america (what on earth are you people doing to your horses?! :O!! ) and the other less nice that you know about. Even if it's just a little different, let's say it has some small ridge or anything on it, it might be much harsher sinse that rige presses down and rubs sensetive parts of the mouth. The mouthpiece is for the horse to decide. The sides of the bit, is for the rider to chose ;)

But I can give you a little info:
Straight bar snaffle; this ones is usually liked by horses that doesn't want the bit to move around too much. My horse has this. It works a lot on the tounge, and some horses find that scary. It's a gentle bit tho, no upredictable effects that you don't count with when you see it and so on. Not allowed in dressage shows, I think. It can have lose rings or D-rings or so, the loose rings move more and gives a little more freedom, other than that I don't really see the differense.
A jointed snaffle (not sure if that's the right name), work more on the bars and a little less on the tounge. I say - never use it with a tight noseband, since it may have a nutcracker effect and hit the palate when it does. Some horses prefer this, it doesn't move around as much as a french link. If you pull the reins, it'll squeese the lower jaw of the horses mouth, or the cheeks (if the horse has its head straight up in the air).
French link/double jointed also has a nutcracker effect, despite common belief, but doesn't hit the palate as easily as the bit above. It moves a lot and some horses gets distracted or annoyed by this.
Then there's snaffles with a low port, that lets the tounge be alone, and I can imagine that lots of horses that dislikes preassure on the tounge and doesn't want stuff to move around, will love that.

And there's myler bits, and copies of them, that doesn't have a nutcracker effect but still move each side individually. They move quite a bit, but gives the tounge free and give you a little more opportunity to work the horses mouth.

bits is something I dislike. It's much like a chain that twists around the lower jaw, and those balls on it rubs over the bars in the horses mouth everytime you pick up the rein.

I'm not sure of all names so I linked to pictures so you know what I meant :)

The thing with snaffles is that they work directly. If you pull the rein, the same amount of preassure comes straight in the same angle to the horses mouth. While on curbs, the preassure comes down on the neck, and much stronger on the nose/in the mouth, and under the chin. No option is bad or mean, but they are best suited at diferent situations.

Ask if you can try your friends snaffle first. If the horses arn't used to bits, they may chew on them a lot in the start.. but see how they respond to it and give them a little times to learn it.

If you want to use bitless, but still have a snaffle effect, the best option is a riding cavesson or a muserola. A sidepull works too but isn't as clear to the horse due to the placement of the reins.

This is a home made, bitless thing I use/used for Crow. It's a hackamore for the curb effect, and a riding cavesson/sidepull for the snaffle effect :) The hackamore reins are always loose unless I needed them specificly. Pretty much the same as using a curb with a snaffle, or a curb with a riding cavesson :)

Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.

Zab is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 06-25-2009, 08:58 AM
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I can also say that if you sometimes need to take leading reins/pull one rein straight out or a lot, a D-ring helps keeping the bit in the horses mouth more than a regular ring, and helps the horse to move it's nose sideways.

Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.

Zab is offline  

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