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gottatrot 03-10-2013 09:05 AM

Using a S-hack and Snaffle together
Has anyone used a snaffle and S-hack/mechanical hackamore together? I've seen this combo in some high level jumping horses and wonder if it might work for my mare.

My riding style is a hybrid of dressage and cross-country. I like to ride with a light contact and to ride the horse forward into the bit for transitions. Because of this, I prefer a snaffle for everything.

Yet my mare is a little too strong at times, and even though we school with the snaffle and she is accepting of it and transitions well in the arena and on the trail, there are times on the trail when we are competing with other horses or around scary things and the snaffle becomes fairly meaningless to her.

Because of this I have been riding in a Kimberwicke at times. Yet I am dissatisfied because the Kimberwicke has a curb action and can't be used with constant contact. So I have been contemplating: Either use a Pelham or double bridle with two reins, or perhaps she might prefer an S-hack with a snaffle and two reins.

What I envision is using the snaffle as I usually do, but when my mare's brains disappear I could have the S-hack or curb as a stronger "hey, listen to me" back up.

Any thoughts?

Saddlebag 03-10-2013 03:28 PM

Why not ride in a double bridle, or an english pelham? Even with the setup you are taking about you have to be adept at riding with two sets of reins (dressage style).

gottatrot 03-11-2013 05:28 AM

Yes, all of these combos would require two sets of reins. It seemed that the hackamore might have an advantage because having the broken mouthpiece on the Pelham can make the curb cues less clear, and with a double bridle there is extra hardware in the mouth. This usually means you choose a thin bridoon for the snaffle, which seems somewhat harsh for my mare who accepts a thicker, softer mouthpiece.

So I wondered if I was missing anything key with the hackamore/snaffle setup.

DancingArabian 03-11-2013 08:00 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Make sure that if you go that route that you get the hack with the bit built in and don't try to stack them together. I think they're called combination hackamore bits in the catalogues.
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gottatrot 03-11-2013 08:43 AM

Hmm...are you sure? Those combination hackamores appear to be using a gag action and the snaffle does not appear to be separate but is incorporated into the hackamore itself. This seems as if it would employ the curb action of the hackamore constantly, or at least a gag action. Gag bits are not made to be ridden into with acceptance of contact.

I was thinking more along the lines of this:
Separate and distinct snaffle and curb action. But I am not sure that it is best used like this...I wonder if the snaffle rein should go outside of the hackamore.

DancingArabian 03-11-2013 09:24 AM

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I guess it would really depend on what you're after. Speaking from personal experience, I did try to stack an S-hack with a snaffle on my horse before (he had never been ridden in a hackamore so I did not know if I'd have any control) and I just couldn't get it all to lie well on his face. The hackamore fit was altered by the bit and vice versa. With the snaffle rein on the outside, I felt that it was spreading the reins out and causing action on the bit when the reins were neutral because they were sitting wider than normal. With the reins inside the hack I thought the bit was kind of squeezed in. In both cases I found that the bit was being "activated" in his mouth by the abnormal positioning of the reins. But my horse has a small head so that could be a factor.

My ex dressage trainer had a number of horses in a combo bit - they were horses that were large boys who would get really strong. It seemed to set them to rights.

I think if you could get the setup to fit correctly then give it a to and see what happens. It just seems like the combo might serve just as well though with less gear.
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NBEventer 03-11-2013 09:34 AM

Why not just a cheltenham gag? You can use the snaffle on it and have the gag action as back up.


verona1016 03-11-2013 10:01 PM

I'd personally lean towards a Pelham- it seems like the cleanest, least complicated solution to me. I wouldn't be all that worried about the jointed curb not giving clear signals- you'd be using the snaffle reins primarily, and only using the curb reins for one signal: "Come back to me!"

gottatrot 03-12-2013 12:35 AM

Thanks, I think I like the idea of the Pelham more than the gag because I don't care for the gag action.

gypsygirl 03-12-2013 04:00 PM

why wouldnt you just use a kineton noseband ?

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