bad side effects of hackamores? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-25-2011, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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bad side effects of hackamores?

What are they? Are there any? I hear some people never wanting to ride their horse in a hackamore because of the side effects.
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-25-2011, 12:39 PM
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I trail ride and do barrels in a hackamore, don't see any side effects. I would like to know them, too!
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post #3 of 16 Old 05-25-2011, 01:00 PM
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Hackamores can be very severe in poor hands. Other than that, I don't see any problems. I ride my gelding in a mechanical hackamore, and he loves it -- I don't even have to put it on him, he puts his face in for me.
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post #4 of 16 Old 05-25-2011, 01:09 PM
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The problem I have with hacks is that placed wrong and in the wrong hands, they can fracture the small bones in the nose. They can also clamp off the air supply if the brakes are slammed on hard enough.

That being said, a well adjusted hack in good hands is a great tool to have. I prefer a bit because I feel like I get more finesse with a bit. Different horses need different tools.
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post #5 of 16 Old 05-25-2011, 01:38 PM
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Even the gentlest snaffle is a severe tool in the wrong hands, and the same goes for hackamores.
I only recommend them for horses that really need them, or for Intermediate to Advanced riders who have the delicacy in their hands and seat to ride without sitting on the horses head

I had a gelding who had a fit about bits (mouth fine!) but absolutely adored his halter or hackamore. He's one of those horses that needed it :)

And what I mean with the delicacy of the hands, I rode another gelding who could absolutely not stand you being in his mouth. If you balanced on the reins, or used them to repeatedly slow him down (versus your seat and legs), he would start to rear and have a fit. Henceforth, not for beginners, who are generally learning how to balance with the seat and legs and maybe unknowingly use the reins and bit to balance as well.
For a more schooled rider, absolutely perfect mount. You just have to know how to click in with the hands, seat, and legs versus with the reins.
He'd put up with reined steering and stopping, but more pressure then absolutely needed? Nosir. Has regular teeth upkeep done too, just one of those horses.

Wait! I'll fix it....
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-25-2011, 02:02 PM
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Indie loves her mechanical hackamore way more than the full cheek snaffle she has, she rides on a light rein anyways and always seems happier without a bit in her mouth. I've heard of people not using them for the same reason as the above comments, but as long as you aren't yanking them around (which you shouldn't be doing anyways) then there really isn't a problem. I like to leave the choice between a bit and a hack to the horse though, there not for everyone :)
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post #7 of 16 Old 05-25-2011, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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I've been wondering what's best for my gelding/boyfriend duo. He rides in a mechanical hackamore and western, he rides on a loose rein and isn't harsh with his hands. He doesn't want a bit because I've preached to him about how much I can't stand hard mouthed horses( I may have scared him..) My gelding has a soft mouth.. So I was just wondering if anything negative could happen from the hackamore use. He actually listens better when we ride him in a hackamore. He rides well in a halter but sometimes he likes to run through it. Which is why we got the hackamore for a little more control on trails and basically anywhere out of the arena. He's learning on Gunnar. We bought him together. But don't worry, he doesn't ride unless I'm there. The most he does is hop on bareback in a halter and sit on him while he grazes.
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post #8 of 16 Old 05-25-2011, 08:22 PM
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If the horse seems happier in the hackamore (not just listening better, but seems to be at ease with it compared to something else) and you can control him in it, then go on ahead. Its just important to remember to keep a easy hand :)
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post #9 of 16 Old 05-25-2011, 08:48 PM
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For me, the negatives of a hackamore doesn't actually have to do with the device itself. I have ridden a very nice horse in a hack, and he was perfectly happy.

For me, I hate how some people think that hackamores are more 'natural' and 'gentle' and think that it won't matter if they haul on their horse's face, because "oh it won't hurt hum because there is no mean nasty bit in there". These sort of people are also the ones that usually jump onto the "All bits are evil and do the devil's work" bandwagon.

Mods, grant me the serenity to see the opinions I cannot change, courage to change the ones that should change, and the wisdom to spot the trolls.
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-25-2011, 09:01 PM
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Personally, I MUCH prefer a sidepull or a crossunder bridle attachment (like an "Indian Bosal") to a mechanical hack for a horse that needs to be/you want to be bitless.
I've only ridden in a mechanical hackamore a few times but each time I was really kinda scared by how little pressure was needed to get an, what felt to me like, extreme reaction for the horse.
A sidepull or an Indian Bosal has more finesse, in my opinion, and has a really low chance of causing damage to the horse unless it's really placed wrong. And, you can still direct rein in both a sidepull and an Indian Bosal, unlike a mechanical hack (you have to neckrein with a mechanical hack because it has shanks).
Some horses do really well with mechanical hacks but if I had a choice, I'd never use one on a horse. They just scare me a little bit too much.

Fabio - 13 year old Arab/QH gelding
Hazel - 14 year old Angora goat

Atticus - 4 year old LaMancha/Alpine cross goat

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