I'm going to ask a question that is perhaps ignorant (sorry). Wouldn't 'whoa' and 'bite' be the same thing in this scenario? How would you get 'bite' without 'whoa' or vice versa?
I would say, personally, that "bite" and "woah" are two different things, but I did mention that I wanted one with the "bite" which is why I didn't want the S, since I've heard it has no "woah" - therefore I don't know that it would have any kind of bite.
Bite would be that quick pop that you give them when they need to listen up or are acting badly. The woah is the consistent pressure that's held until they woah, and then released as the reward when they've... woahed.
I've noticed that hackamores like the cross-under bitless don't have much "bite" but do give that constant pressure. Using those, my horse will stop when I give her the pressure, but it won't give her that pop when she's being a pain, like the chain on an English hack will.
If for whatever reason she would decide one day to bolt off with me on her, I want that bite. If people are saying that the S Hackamore has no "woah," I would assume that there's a leverage problem and it just doesn't "bite" hard enough when you're putting pressure for the woah- if that makes sense.
And as for the vanity thing- that's exactly what it is. I said that I should be happy that it works, I'm just not. I have a beautiful Tex Tan saddle, wool pad, custom made tack to match... and a $19, clunky English hackamore? Just doesn't seem to fit.
I might still try the S Hack but I'm open to other ideas as well.