Mechanical Hackamores? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 12-06-2013, 04:44 AM Thread Starter
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Mechanical Hackamores?

I have a boofy hard mouthed QH gelding that I've owned for just over four years. He's always had pretty terrible brakes and despite many hours of fine tuning them (and some pretty fabulous improvements) he's still quite slow to stop. After discovering his stop became almost flawless when ridden in a halter I purchased his first sidepull this year and despite keeping my hands soft and getting him one of those wonderful fluffy nose bands I still found him getting rubbed.

Only the other week I found another hackamore and purchased it. Turns out it is one of those mechanical hackamore's. I didn't even realize at the time. My horse is currently spelling at the moment so I haven't had any real chance to trial him in it apart from a quick ride down the road but he's already showing such potential in it. He is much happier without a bit!

My question to you is what do you think of a mechanical hackamore? The below photo of a hackamore similar to the one I purchased. Mine has a wider, padded noseband which is what made it appealing to me. It spreads the pressure out and shouldn't cut into his nose quite like the sidepull pictured below.

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post #2 of 8 Old 12-06-2013, 10:57 AM
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That hackamore is the first hackamore that I ever used. I've heard them called "english hackamores" or "jumping hackamores". I really like them. I think they are one of the most mild of the mechanical hackamores because the shank is fairly short and curved and the noseband is thick and padded.
Currently I'm using a little s hackamore which has a little more bite to it because of the thinner noseband. My horse did well in the english hackamore but I much prefer the looks of the little s because I use it on him when I ride western.
I hope it works out well for you. I think it was a good choice for the transition from a side pull to a mechanical hack.
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post #3 of 8 Old 12-06-2013, 11:30 AM
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If you work the horse back and forth along a fence you can teach him to whoa a lot sooner. Ride about 6-7 feel parallel to the fence and when you relax your body and let out a big breath, if he doesn't slow down, turn him toward the fence and go the other way, moving until you are 6-7' away again. Do this until he's tired and he'll want to stop when your body relaxes. He'll have to do it at least three times before he starts to get the hang of it. It's also teaching him to get his hindquarters under him because of the tight turns. Do this with a snaffle bit so he gets a clearer message. The first few times he turns to the rail he may stop and that's ok, just direct him to complete the turn then move off the rail in preparation for the next turn. This works him in both directions.
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post #4 of 8 Old 12-06-2013, 12:29 PM
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Ridden with one for years. I much prefer the English style to the longer shanked style. My mare is still a little green. I will be happy when I can switch her to the hack. We trail ride.
I want a horse to know and respond to a request to stop. I don't want to rely on headgear alone to stop the feet. I have seen riders think if they can crank on the head they will get results. I hate to see that. We had a gelding who went perfectly in a side pull. So I guess use whatever works best for you and your horse...and keep working on the stop. : )

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post #5 of 8 Old 12-06-2013, 01:54 PM
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They've always been called English hackamores - I think they were originally designed for the English market where we mostly all ride 'two handed' (no neck reining)
I originally bought one to try on an OTTB that had no brakes in any bit I put him in, pulled my arms out all the time - and he was immediately a changed horse and was ridden and jumped in one for many years with no problems at all
I would say that the more responsive your horse is to leg aids to turn and move over the better these hackamores work
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post #6 of 8 Old 12-07-2013, 09:11 PM
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I ride in a similar hackamore with my 3 1/2 yr old. He is still very green but rides better in a hack than a bit. (I think he has molar caps coming out.) I think he would ride in a sidepull too, because the last time I rode him in a bit he was throwing his head so bad that I clipped my reins to his halter and rode him with that instead and he did great. But I personally don't have the confidence to ride him in just a halter or a side pull because one time he spooked and bolted with me......and that was in a snaffle bit.

So I ride in a mechanical hack and he does great and I feel like I have control if I need it. But most of the time my reins are slack. So it's great for both of us. Eventually (when he quits teething) I will probably try a bit again, but in the meantime we are perfectly happy in a mildish mechanical hack. Like I said, most of the times my reins are slack so it is just like riding in a halter, only I have control to turn and/or stop him in an emergency. The trainer did put a good "whoa" on him so that works in our favor too.

The only caveat with a mechanical hack is that it works very similar to a curb bit. So you want to ride more "western" with a loose rein and not with constant contact. But that is no problem for me and my trail horses.

Is the English hackamore designed to be used with contact? Because it really doesn't look like it. But I'm not sure. My hacks are a little different.
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post #7 of 8 Old 12-07-2013, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
...........I would say that the more responsive your horse is to leg aids to turn and move over the better these hackamores work
What's interesting is that my colt neck reins in his hack much better than he does in a bit. I mean, basically 0% neck reining in a snaffle and probably 80% neck rein responsive in his hackamore. I also try to cue him with my legs all the time as well, but there is a big difference for him between the snaffle and the hackamore. I think perhaps the shanks send a clearer or more amplified message. Or maybe he is just so distracted with his teeth with a bit that the hackamore eliminates the distraction.

That's him in my avatar trail riding in his hackamore.
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post #8 of 8 Old 12-08-2013, 12:11 PM
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I'm sure that the teeth can be a distraction in some horses - in neck reining and direct reining. If the action isn't correctly on the bars then its got to have a negative impact
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