Hackamore and young horses....... need information... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-19-2009, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Hackamore and young horses....... need information...

The horse I am talking about is NOT mine but belongs to a friend. I do not live anywhere near this friend so I have never seen them ride in person but a question came about and accusations against her that has raised my curiosity.

What is wrong with riding a young horse in a hack?

This particular horse is 3 or 4 years old. The owner was having troubles with the horse not listening to her with several different bits, including the last one she had on him a full cheek snaffle. Someone told her to try a hackamore because he rides great in just a halter. Anyhow the hackamore has been wonderful for her and him both. He responds wonderfully with the slightest pressure, his ears are forward and he is enjoying his riding time and so is my friend. She does not show but rides for pleasure so is there really anything wrong with her riding him in the hack??

How severe is a hackamore? It was said that it is abusive to the horse but if the horse is happy and responds to light pressure is it ok?
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-19-2009, 06:34 PM
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Depends on the hackamore.
Mechanical hackamores, I think, have the potential to be very harsh. If she has light hands though, it's not going to matter.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-19-2009, 07:27 PM
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There is nothing wrong with using a hack if used properly.
Deeper question is, has her horse always been tough with a bit or is it something that came on?
We bought my daughter a 7 y.o. gelding a year ago. He was acting up a lot: tossing his head, fighting when trying to turn, etc. Turned out that he needed his teeth floated and he had a few sores in his mouth.
We put a hack on him, initially for short term, and he was a different horse. We tried a bit once since, and went back to the hack. He rides and barrel/pole races as good if not better with a hack.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-19-2009, 07:41 PM
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As the PPs said, it all depends on how he is ridden in it. The shorter the shanks are, the milder it will be. I personally don't like the mechanical hacks. If I want to go bitless, I either do a rope halter or a bosal/loping hackamore type thing.

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post #5 of 10 Old 09-20-2009, 01:31 AM
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I would say if he goes well in the hackamore, she should be fine. If he goes well in a halter, she could ride him in that too, especially if all she does is ride for pleasure. As long as the horse is calm, responsive and enjoying his job, then I don't think she is doing anything wrong.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-20-2009, 12:50 PM
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Hacks are great, and I think people don't realize how much pressure it really really takes to make one dangerous, short of leaning back with all your weight on a hack I don't think you can damage your horse, and if you are watching your horses reaction it should never lead to that dilema. I ride on contact with a hack, though my hands are stable and subtle, and I like it when schooling a horse that lugs on you during halts, or needs a refersher course on what whoa means. The type of pressure that could cause serious damage with a hack is the kind you wouldn't want to use with a bit, or anything, short of a halter.

Troubled TB ~"A thorn by any other name will prick just as deep." @-'--,---
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-20-2009, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for the advise and help. I will surely pass this on and that she is indeed not doing anything wrong. The horse has had his teeth floated this year so we know that was not the cause of him tossing his head. Thank you all again for the help!!
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-20-2009, 07:05 PM
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A hackamore (mechanical) has the same effect and signals as a curb bit. You just don't ride a horse in a curb before it's ready for it, not only because it's severe, but because it gives different signals than a snaffle or the like gives, and won't be any good for teaching the horse the basics.

If she wants a bitless for a young horse, I'd reccommend a good ridingcavesson or a sidepull.

But since the horse works well in a halter, it seems like it doesn't understnd the bit, and that won't be helped by a bitless. You could use a bit (perhaps a straight bar or mullen mouth D-ring, many horses understand and accept them, however some dislike the tounge pressure) together with the halter or sidepull or whatever, to teach the horse what the bit means.

Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.

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post #9 of 10 Old 09-27-2009, 12:43 PM
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I don't see any problems in using a hack on a young horse....western riders (i am one) frequently train young horses in a hackamore before training with a bit, because it keeps the horses mouth soft while learning to respond to pressure. I'm sure we've all heard the explanation of "would you rather have someone turn you with their finger in your mouth, or push on your face?" As long as your friend has used a hackamore before, and knows to use light hands, there shouldn't be a problem.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-27-2009, 03:15 PM
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Mechanical hackamores were designed to be harsh. A TRUE hackamore is one made out of rawhide or rope. I will ride my horse in a rope halter hackamore occasionally, but I would never ride any horse in a mechanical hackamore.
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