Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
• Horses: 0
For hackamores, you could go with a Bosal or mechanical hack. Both work off pressure on the nose, and both CAN be severe in the wrong hands, but I'm positive you'd be fine using either.
In the western ring, it's traditional to start a horse with a Bosal, then move to a snaffle, and finish with a curb.
Some start off with a rope halter, then introduce the bosal then move on, it's completely up to you and your preference.
A mechanical hack will have one distinct advantage - knowing your left from right rein, it acts like more of a bit in that sense. A bosal isn't as direct, both reins are attached to the same place, so the signal for "left" and "right" isn't as clear - which is why starting in a rope halter (which is a little more flexible) might be best.
When you are ready to move to a bit, it's your horse's mouth comformation that will make the difference in what he'll work best in; if you can get a dentist out to check his teeth before starting any sort of work, that will be to your advantage. They will be able to tell you what kind of mouth your horse has. If he has a shallow palate, chances are he won't like a single joint bit much because his tongue will have to depress lots to avoid the joint hitting the palate. I personally prefer to use some sort of double joint bit - to avoid any nutcracker and palate effect. If you can get your hands on a Myler, it's well worth the money.
As for cheekpieces, when starting a youngster, having a Dee or Full Cheek is great. The longer cheek allows for lateral pressure on the side of the face, which makes turning just that much clearer. Example: you pull on the left rein. The left bar of the mouthpiece is engaged and then the right cheekpiece applies pressure to the right side of the face, which encourages the horse to look left.
When you're ready to advance to a curb... well that will be a few years from now at least, and you'll have a good idea of what he's comfortable in :)
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