hackamore or snaffle? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-04-2010, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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hackamore or snaffle?

Hi all I am new so please be patient. I am training my own horse. I am not sure what to use a hackamore or a snaffle bit? She does well with the bosal. I ride for pleasure only. So should I go to a hackamore and then a snaffle, or straight to the snaffle? I tried her in a snaffle before winter and she didn't do bad, but she throws her head alot and does not stop well. She is very sensitive all over so any extra pressure upsets her. We have come along way she doesn't buck anymore and trust has improved greatly. I like the look of the combo bits. I think having a bit and a some pressure on her nose would help. I have been riding for 30 yrs. But never started one from the beginning. Just not sure what to do would a tom thumb be an option? The snaffle just seemed to go through her mouth and didn't give me much control. Riding with a halter and lead rope has more control. What am I doing wrong and how can I help her? She doesn't chew or play with the bit she seems to be comfortable with it. I would like to eventually go to local fun shows doing western pleasure classes and barrels and poles. Thanks so much.
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-05-2010, 06:45 AM
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If you know how to use bosal and she's doing good in bosal then why to switch?

As for bit, are her teeth OK? Throwing head in air could be the sign something going on in her mouth.
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-05-2010, 07:10 AM Thread Starter
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I need a little more control with her. She does well and is very light, but when she has a temper tantrum she will ignore the bosal and me. she is young and I know we have a way to go. Her teeth are fine I had everything checked. I got her when she was 1 1/2 yrs. old. She was on her way to the slaughter house because she had thrown her owner off. I don't think they new what they were doing. having said that she and I have a good friendship. There was some bad behaviors they had taught her. so we started from the ground and worked our way up. I like a bit better myself. I feel I have more control and leverage. she throws her head even when I am not riding her. she does it when she plays or gets excited to eat. perhaps I will try the hackomore and then see. have you ever used the combo bit? I think that is what they are called. I saw something on RFD tv about training and they said that years ago the mexican cowboys used that technique for their horses. using 4 reins. thanks for your reply. any help is appreciated.
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-05-2010, 07:13 AM
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I never used combo bit. Personally I think simple snaffle should be enough to control the horse (which comes with the training). I started mine in sidepull and then switched to the snaffle (I agree it gives more control). What I did to get them used to snaffle I put headstall with the bit and let them graze for hour or two. Seemed to work for me. :)
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-05-2010, 09:35 AM
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What you are calling a combo bit is actually called a two-rein. It is a bosal used in conjunction with a spade bit. You have to have a horse that neck reins and is going really well to ride in one of them. Don't use the bosal or a two-rein unless you have some expert supervision.

Get a trainer to work with you on this horse. Use a snaffle bit. Using a bosal correctly takes alot of experience and excellent hands. 99.9% of people should not be using one.

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post #6 of 12 Old 03-05-2010, 10:33 AM
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I didn't even know what a bosal was lol. I noticed no one has mentioned anything about the hackamore yet. All I have to say about that is, I think the snaffle would be better because the hackamores can actually cause more damage to the horse, if used improperly, than a bit. I say that because the horse has VERY fragile nasal bones that can break wayyyy easier than you think and the hackamore puts great pressure on the nasal area. Extreme hard pressure can do some major damage there. I'd stick with the snaffle for sure.

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post #7 of 12 Old 03-05-2010, 11:55 AM
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You got her at 1 1/2 years old and the previous owner had been thrown off of her? What were they thinking riding her at that age? I would personally go with the snaffle. How old is she now?
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-07-2010, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much. Not sure what they were thinking. at 1 1/2 she shouldn't have been riding her. she is 3 now. So I will do the snaffle and go from there. thanks again I will keep everyone updated on our progress. I think she will be just fine. I am very pleased will her progress. I did get her to stop rearing. When they brought her to me they beat her into the trailer. they pulled so hard her halter broke! I asked them to work with her for a week or so to get her in it. After puuling so much she started rearing. When you stand in front of her and put the slightest pressure she would rear. She used to buck just by putting your arm around her withers and girth area. finally got that taken care of too. they really did a number on her. she does load now. no more bucking either. So anyhow off to get a better snaffle. once again thanks.
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-07-2010, 01:11 PM
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When I first use a snaffle, I like to tie the top of it to the noseband, I use a strap through the rings; so that after so much "pull" you start to pull the noseband, which is similar to the bosal. It looked funny and I was once told by a cowboy that the bit strap was supposed to go UNDER the nose, not over it! But it worked for me. (I switched to the snaffle because I'm not good enough to stick with a bosal: I can't turn very well with it. But make sure you check the teeth for sharp edges, and the height of the palate. I had one horse much preferred a simple straight bit, hated the snaffle. So I used a no-port pelham I had, just 1 rein, no chain.)
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-07-2010, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by MySTAR View Post
The snaffle just seemed to go through her mouth and didn't give me much control.
To prevent the snaffle sliding through her mouth, either place a loose curb strap on it, the leather kind, or use a full cheek snaffle. If you go with the curb, don't cinch it up or tighten it, just attach it to the bit to keep it in place. I know a lot of people who are starting horses use the full cheek for the reason you're having trouble with the snaffle. The bars on the sides will prevent sliding, and also give her a "push" from the opposite side when you turn.

"Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high. Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. And live like you ain't afraid to die...don't be scared, jut enjoy the ride." - Chris LeDoux
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