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girl_on_black_pony 08-01-2008 09:12 PM

Hackmore Help
Im leasing a horse that has never been trained in a bit. He responds well to a halter and lead but I cant stop him. He is trained with a hackmore, but I havent ridden him with it because Im not sure how.
Can anyone tell me how to use a hackmore correctly? We ride western.
Also, it it too late to train him with a bit? He is 14-20yrs old and hates having things in his mouth ( you should see me trying to deworm him).
I ride in a prescision drill team, so we have to make sharp turns at a canter, hand gallop, and sometimes even a gallop. Will I be able to turn as good in a hackmore? Thanks!

HooverH 08-01-2008 10:25 PM

You should be able to get the same control in a hack as a bit. I would hesitate switching him since he likes the hack, and may fight/ be uncomfortable on the bit. I'd talk to the person you're leasing from about how to use his hack, what his previous cues were, etc.

Rudimentary Hackamore placement (I'm assuming this is mechanical):
You want the noseband above the nostrils, and leaning forward a bit. Hoover's is about an inch and a half to two inches from his nostrils.The curb chain should be loose when the shanks are up. The amount of tightening on it depends on what level of correction he needs. I tighten to 2-3 fingers loose, in other words, I can fit two to three fingers in between the chain and his chin when the shanks are up. Tacking him up is the same as with a bit, other than watch that the noseband doesn't catch the end of his nose above his lip as you're pulling the bridal up.

girl_on_black_pony 08-02-2008 05:47 PM

Thanks. How does the Hack actually work? Do you plow or neck rein?

Fox Hollow Deb 08-02-2008 06:50 PM

if the hackamore has long metal shanks you normally would neck rein, if the horse does that.
You should also check into just using a bosal, which is very light and can be used either neck reining or direct reining. The bosal sits about 3 inches or so above the nostril. My mare overreacts to even a short English hackamore, but she goes beautifully in a bosal.
I don't think hackamores or bosals should be set too low, too close to the nostril. Either one should work by squeezing the nose and jaw, not restricting your horse's breath.
For drill team work, you might find that a sidepull works for you, since you can direct rein a bit more directly. If the horse neckreins perfectly, then the choice is up to you.
Just as with a bit, you should have a light hand when using a hackamore or a bosal.

girl_on_black_pony 08-02-2008 11:56 PM

yeah, mine sits about 3 inches from the nostril, but he does sometimes over-react. It has pretty long shanks.
This is about what mine looks like:

How much are bosals, and how are they different than hackamores? I used to think they were the same?

And is a sidepull like a bitless bridle?

girl_on_black_pony 08-09-2008 05:49 PM

I took a pic of him in my hackmore:

Fox Hollow Deb 08-09-2008 10:37 PM

If you are going to use that hackamore, I'd suggest you try it with a curb strap instead of a chain. Most horses don't need the chain, it's too harsh. Use a light hand for your signals too.

A bosal is either all rawhide/leather, or some have a cable/steel core. The rawhide is less stiff, over time. There are no shanks, but the reins are attached to the bottom or end of the bosal. A new stiff bosal can rub the horse's nose or cheeks so you do have to check it daily and adjust the fit if necessary. If you do get a rub, I'd use something else for a week till the rub heals.
I use an old well-broken-in bosal, some might say it's too soft, but I like it and so does my mare.
A horsehair rein is traditional to use with the bosal, some use a cotton rope; I use a leather rein. The horsehair is bulky and very scratchy. Cotton is also bulky, I don't like that either.
You can direct rein with a bosal or neck rein.

A side pull is a stiff rope noseband, with rings on each side of the nose for the reins. It's very good for starting a horse, you mostly direct rein with it. Again, the stiff hard rope can cause rubs, you have to check your horse for abrasions, or wrap the noseband in fleece or padding.

Fox Hollow Deb 08-09-2008 10:43 PM

forgot to note: watch the joint of the mechanical hackamore, where the shanks attach. That swivel point can pinch the horse's cheek and make a nasty sore.

bosals can be had new for $30 -$40, I paid $38 for a new one a few years ago. I bought 2 used ones for less than $15 each. If you get the whole headstall and rein, they run about $60 and up I think, usually higher. Look in consignment stores or used tack sales if you have them.

iridehorses 08-10-2008 09:26 AM

GOABP, anything with shafts should only be used on a horse that neck reins. To turn or stop your horse you should be using all your aids, as in legs and seat.

A mechanical hackamore can be very severe depending on it's placement on his nose, the adjustment of the curb chain, and the hands of the rider. There have been many horses that have had their noses broken or jaws fractured by heavy handed riders. A nicely trained horse will work off your legs and seat with the reins as an enforcement not a primary aid.

A bosal looks like this:

Many horses that do not like bits can usually be traced back to either bad experiences or dental problems. Be use to rule out the physical.

Hope that helps.

girl_on_black_pony 08-10-2008 07:02 PM

Thanks. I only use my reins as a last resort; i try to use seat and leg positions, even vocal commands. WOW broken? My hand is not NEAR that heavy. Thats sad. I try to be easy on my guy anyway :)

The chain is as loose as it can get. I hold my hands waist-width apart, and loosly

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