The Hackamore Horse
Continuing onto the Hackamore horse in this "series" of threads. Haven't got around to making videos yet, with the sudden snow storm we had yesterday, and I've been feeling less than 100%, I figured I would do an in depth post on the true vaquero hackamore horse. IMO, the hackmore is the most fundamental and important stage of the bridle horse process. And a lot can go wrong in the hackamore stage if the bosal is used wrongly. Gwynn Turbull Weaver once made a statement, "We may never be able to lead a camel through the eye of a needle, but the vaquero has sucessfully ridden a horse though one" This makes me smile everytime I read it.
There are so many different "feels" and manuevers that must be learned by the horse in the hackamore stage. Mant believe that a hackamore is simply used like any other biteless option, to be "pulled" on and to directly rein the horse. This is where the biggest mistake is made in the hackamore stage. Really, hackamore training is teaching a horse to move and postition his self according to where the hackamore is moved on the face. Soft tugs and soft positioning of the bosal on different places on the horse's face teaches the horse to move his body "with" those positions.
Another thing people don't take into consideration is that the hackamore is a signal tool. The most direct form of it, but still a signal tool. The snaffle is a direct training tool. The hackamore training relys on striving for softness and using the lightest signals possible and still have the horse understand them.
"If a buckaroo can’t control his own responses, the hackamore will destroy him. One fit of rage, one volatile day will forever taint the hackamore horse. There is a saying that "muscle doesn’t make the man" and similarly it will not make the hackamore horse either." (Stated by Mr. Weaver also)
This is so true, you CAN NOT muscle a horse around in the hackamore, you will only destroy all of the horse's respect for it. They will learn to run though it, and ultimatley ignore any signal the rider gives.
IMO, before a hackamore horse even comes close to a transition into the two rein, they need to be very, very advanced in every basic manuever and working aspect, and respond to the rider's lightest seat, leg and hand cues. They need to stop straight and aligned, drive off the hock, collectively flat spin both ways, etc. Hope this gives at least someone some insight! Thanks!!
I love it!
Beautiful drawing as well :D.
Yank and Pull?? No Thank You!
There is a common misconception about the hackamore, and how it should be handled. I see it too often, people constantly pulling and yanking on their horses face for collection, especially at a lope. And this drives me CRAZY! IMO, a true hackamore horse should keep a collected, correct headset the minute the hackamore is placed on his head. A true hackamore horse shouldnt have to be constantly corrected in their headset, this should have been taken care of in the snaffle bit stage. I also too often, see riders "pull" their hackamore horses to a stop. This is another pet peeve of mine. If you are asking for a sliding stop, IMO, one simple tug on the bosal, and then the "forward" movement of the heel knot against the horses chin, along with a correct seat and leg should "ease" a horse into a stop, not just muscle them into it.
Another huge pet peeve of mine, is when someone inexperienced with the bosal and its movements, gets a hold of one and uses it just like they would a mechanical hackamore. Riding with a constant tight rein and pulling directly back instead of tugging outwards. This is when horses learn to run and push through a bosal. There are so many ways hackamore training can go bad if someone without light hands, experience, and education gets ahold of one. A good, true hackamore horse should be able to be handled with just fingertips.
Below I've attatched a video of a reined cowhorse competition from a few years ago, that was held in my area. Many people see this as a great run, and it is, for the horse. But little things the rider does, just watching it, makes me almost mad. (maybe its my hormone imbalance, LOL) But anyway, if you look closely, IMHO, the rider is in the horses face WAAAY too much. Those constant yanks through the circles are not necessary, and drive me quite nuts. He never let off the rein through the entire pattern, and this is very wrong for a hackamore horse in my book. Yes, the run looks good, but its the little techincal things the rider does throughout the ride that I really don't like, especially the way the rider hangs on the horse's face. In the pictures that follow, you can see that a nice, collected headset can be achieved without riding a horse's head. (Sorry about the captions, I stole them off BBs website!! :D Last picture is of the hubby, but you can still see the horse keeps a nice headset without contact)
Thanks Everyone for reading!!
What do you like a horse to be able to accomplish in a snaffle before you move to a hackamore? Collection, neck reining, etc...?
I ask because I have a coming 4 year old that I've been riding since last April (in a snaffle). She was resistant at first, but has been coming along nicely the last few months. I'm thinking about moving her into a hackamore in the spring (though honestly I don't mind riding in a snaffle either). I'm thinking if the hackamore can help her become even lighter, that will be a positive thing.
I do have fairly light hands, but have rarely rode in a hackamore, so I appreciate this thread.
Could you also tell us a little more about signalling properly in a hackamore? Other than hanging on a horse's face, what are the big things to avoid?
Sure, that would be great.
Really looking forward to learning more about this! I will have some questions for ya for sure :lol:
Thought I'd share this. Started my gelding in the hackamore today. He's been rode about 5 times in a halter/one rein but then I kinda put him away while I worked on some other projects. Thought it was high time he were re-visited and these bridle horse threads helped to re-inspire me to get back with it!
All I'm working on in these early rides is some basic start-stop and lateral body control. I decided to emphasize the stop more than moving out at this stage, based on a suggestion from Les Vogt. I feel like I could have got him loping if I'd been more active but that he was happier to stop and stand, which is fine with me. He's gonna need to know how to do that anyway.
Couple other videos that have inspired what I'm doing here:
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