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post #1 of 26 Old 05-12-2010, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Bits vs Other

The other day I finally managed to ask this woman, who is a self proclaimed novice, why she chose to use a rope halter/bridle. She gave me two answers, the first one I took as her true answer, the other one as kind of a remark after she had time to think about it. Her first answer was "because I follow Parelli and thats how it says to be. I'm also a beginner and I want to have control." Then I mentioned to her that I knew that Parelli also teamed up with Myler to make a line of bits. She then responded that her horse was never bit trained.

I have been thinking, and I thought about her first answer as I walked away....if it were me, the pure mechanics of a bit would give me more security and the idea of control....something inside of the mouth has a lot more suggestion to it than a piece of rope with two knots in it. In her particular case I think it only gives her the illusion of being nicer....she is an older woman, who as I said openly states she is a beginner. However, she bought a young Arab, who I have seen dump both her and her husband over stupid things....I don't know what caused her to fall off except bolting, but I know for the husband that this horse spooked at a couple of cones. He also is kind of food aggressive. IMO not a beginners horse, but to their credit they are taking lessons, both general riding lessons and lessons on him. Their plan is to next year go on a big trail ride, with the wife on him, and the husband on another horse. I don't know that he'll be a good trail horse, I would LOVE to get on him and see what he's got going on, but thats not why I'm posting.

My question is, do you think a PROPERLY FITTED rope bridle/hackamore type deal offers more control than a bit?

Here's my personal opinion: I think on a very forward/"top heavy" horse, it might work and it might not. I've met some horses, like mine (who I ride in a hackamore) who work very well off face pressure and respond to it, sometimes better than a bit. Some horses, its an off and on thing, you can switch back and forth to keep them light. There are some horses that I've met that don't know what face pressure is--in fact some of them even lean into it! There are other horses where a bit, even just a simple snaffle or 3-piece bit would be better hands down than a hack.

Whats your experience?
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post #2 of 26 Old 05-12-2010, 10:28 PM
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I haven't ridden in a rope halter, but I'd like to respond to your example. If the horse dumps its rider, a beginner isn't going to do well on him, regardless of what's on his head. A dominant horse can outsmart a new rider without much effort, a stronger head piece (whether it be a bit or a rope halter) will only make him angrier due to the inexperienced hands. If the horse isn't bit trained, then the new rider has no business training him to use a bit anyways. I personally have almost always ridden with a bit and thus prefer it to a halter, but a new rider training a horse to do much of anything generally doesn't go over well with the horse, particularly one that likes to dump the rider. So, even if bits were better, she shouldn't switch any time soon without a trainer teaching the horse and herself how to ride with a bit first.

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post #3 of 26 Old 05-12-2010, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by roro View Post
I haven't ridden in a rope halter, but I'd like to respond to your example. If the horse dumps its rider, a beginner isn't going to do well on him, regardless of what's on his head. A dominant horse can outsmart a new rider without much effort, a stronger head piece (whether it be a bit or a rope halter) will only make him angrier due to the inexperienced hands. If the horse isn't bit trained, then the new rider has no business training him to use a bit anyways. I personally have almost always ridden with a bit and thus prefer it to a halter, but a new rider training a horse to do much of anything generally doesn't go over well with the horse, particularly one that likes to dump the rider. So, even if bits were better, she shouldn't switch any time soon without a trainer teaching the horse and herself how to ride with a bit first.
She has NO plans of training him to use a bit. She's simply going to ride him in a rope bridle set up forever. For 90% of the time, he's very good, a little excited IMO but not uncontrollable. Just inexperienced. I guess they haven't heard that saying.

I believe they had a trainer (Parelli) come out to ride him and evaluate him. I have NO idea what was said, I just know she came out two days in a row, made him look very nice under saddle while the woman watched, and they left.

I did overhear both the husband and wife talking to our farrier about getting money back on a horse, I don't know if they're thinking he's not for them, or what. The farrier just recounted his story of sending back a horse he bought for his daughter and how the horse she has now is so much better suited.
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post #4 of 26 Old 05-12-2010, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justsambam08 View Post
My question is, do you think a PROPERLY FITTED rope bridle/hackamore type deal offers more control than a bit?
In my opinion, no. A lot of finesse can be lost when working with a rope halter as opposed to a light hand on a gentle bit. I do ride my mare in a rope hack, but I ride my gelding in a snaffle. I use the rope on my mare because she has a metal allergy, (and because she's so laid back she doesn't need anything stronger) but I don't believe I (at least at my current skill level) could get the same kind of finer tuning in the rope hack on my gelding, as I do with a bit in his mouth. As far as control/stopping power on a bolting horse - well cranking on a rope halter, hackamore, mechanical hack, bits, whatever is all going to risk damage to a horse, if you are a beginner and don't know any better - aids are just aids and tools are just tools, and if you are trying to out-muscle a horse you will lose every time.


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post #5 of 26 Old 05-12-2010, 10:43 PM
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I don't think she should be riding that horse... Anyway, with my pony I used the hackamore and I seemed to have better control. My other horse though, he just curls up and takes off. I've only ever ridden with a rope halter when I was taking my horse out to the pasture and I didn't want to walk (I was being very lazy lol). Other than that I always ride with a bridle.
When it comes to groundwork I always use a rope halter with a raw hide noseband. It just gets their attention and isn't as harsh as a stud chain.

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post #6 of 26 Old 05-12-2010, 11:05 PM
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NO like has been stated you loose too much response you get from a bit. A halter by design if just a halter to lead. They are not basal or hacks they are halters. It is a nice advertising gimmick by Parreli.

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post #7 of 26 Old 05-12-2010, 11:38 PM
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I have only had one horse that I used a hackamore on regularly. I was only 11 or 12, but I remember putting a bit on her and she freaked. When I put her in a hack, it was like a switch flipped in her head and she worked beautifully. But aside from a situation like that, I prefer a bit. I would not put a rope halter on any of my horses and expect them to work for me, but if I'm just goofing off I might throw on a halter.
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post #8 of 26 Old 05-12-2010, 11:46 PM
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I think it totally depends on the horse. Im not sure why but i dont like using hacks but I have stated before that I would rather have too much bit than not enough. Parelli or not...they should go with what works for the horse. Im really glad that Parelli works out for some people but I also wonder if they run to the store every time commercials come on? A rope halter is a rope halter...
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post #9 of 26 Old 05-13-2010, 12:07 AM
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Well it really depends on the length of the shanks on the hackamore as this dictates how much pressure is put on the nose, poll and chin. These bridles can range from light pressure to quite severe. Also depends on the horse and whether they yield more to pressure from the nutcracker action of a snaffle or the leverage action of the hackamore. Both are very effective when used properly.

Personally I prefer a snaffle in most cases although I used to work a TB stallion for someone and he never responded well to anything EXCEPT a hackamore.

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post #10 of 26 Old 05-13-2010, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahver View Post
Well it really depends on the length of the shanks on the hackamore as this dictates how much pressure is put on the nose, poll and chin. These bridles can range from light pressure to quite severe. Also depends on the horse and whether they yield more to pressure from the nutcracker action of a snaffle or the leverage action of the hackamore. Both are very effective when used properly.

Personally I prefer a snaffle in most cases although I used to work a TB stallion for someone and he never responded well to anything EXCEPT a hackamore.
This is not a hackamore....its a rope noseband with two a knot on either side attached to a headstall, essentially.
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