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barefoothooves 02-26-2009 11:36 PM

Mechanical Hackamores
Our oldest horse, a senior citizen, when we bought him, I was told he'd been ridden for years in a mechanical hackamore and that's what he likes, and he's just no good in bits. Well, he's okay in bits, if you have good hands,and I just don't like mechanical hackamores.
I've tried doing groundwork to "soften him" on the bit, and learn to yield, but he will stubbornly lean into it and sort of go into a lala land. Or he works himself into a lather, and he's old so I feel sorry for him. So, I gave up. I ordered a mechanical hackamore or "hackamore bit" for him. I'm not too sure on the adjustment for these things, so tips are welcome, but so far so good! He's been so much BETTER than he ever has for us. It's like there was an audible "ahhh" of relief. So, while I still maintain they aren't my cuppa tea, he's happy, husband is really happy, and I guess I am, too.
I reckon I'm just saying that just because you have preconceived notions about a piece of tack, you shouldn't knock it until you try it. I'm not a huge fan of these things,I won't be using them or suggesting them for everyone, I prefer my snaffle bit.However, in this instance, it's worth it's weight in gold.
*side note, the horse while due for dental exam soon, has been cleared previously for having dental issue to cause issues with a bit. He just is not forgiving of beginners (my husband) with rein pressure. Seems kinda mean to force it on him, and nose pressure seems to be less traumatic.
And what's my gripe about them? They have the same potential for harm as any device and seem like a crutch or excuse to not learn how to use your hands better, because there's the excuse that it won't damage the mouth, but they are nose crunchers, IMO. But as stated, they have a purpose. I still expect hubby to work on how he uses his hands ....and I don't feel the horse really has a problem with the bit and his training overall, but there are some holes in his training. He doesn't tuck his nose, but he will back up. Little things like that, but for a horse that's expected to walk around the pasture once a week, he's fine in a m. hack.

Horsegma 02-27-2009 07:20 AM

As we all know, ANY rough handling of ANY bit/hack etc can cause pain/harm.

When I got my first horse she came with a mechanical hackamore. The kind where the chain is over the nose piece and a long shank.

Me being a green owner thought this was absolutely great! I wouldn't hurt her mouth!

Of course the previous owners didn't tell me how severe this piece of equipment was and I for sure had no where near soft hands at that time.

I later learned that this "beginner" horse couldn't be controlled with anything else. But, that's another story, lol!

Finally someone told me how severe it was and I started educating myself.

I put her in a snaffle and learned more how to use my hands. She did just fine with this approach so I never used the mech. hack again.

Barefoothooves, you are WAY ahead of the game. You went into it knowing how to use it. Knowing it needs soft hands and that it can be harmful if used rough.

So, therefore, I don't think it's in the wrong hands at all. As long as your husband understands it too.

I only wish you would've mentioned it in a post that I would have seen beforehand, I would have mailed you my almost new one for postage/packaging alone.

I myself am going to be trying out the bosal for the first time this spring. I'm excited about that.

kitten_Val 02-27-2009 07:55 AM

Have you tried just a sidepull, halter with reins or jumping hackamore on him? Those much more gentle than mechanical hackamores and should work well (if he has a good stop in him).

I used to ride (not my horse) in one of those mechanical hackamores with wide fleece noseband and very short shanks (and no chains, but leather strap under the chin) and had no problems with it. So as long as you have soft hands you are good. However I don't think mechanical hackamore is a good thing if your horse bolts or very hard to stop.

Eolith 02-27-2009 08:27 AM

It goes without saying that any rider riding with any bit or hackamore needs to develop supple, feeling hands. Your horse sounds a lot like our warmblood started off... heavy on the forehand and leaning into your hands. Usually all thanks to improper training beforehand >_<. We got her when she was seven though, so we were able to make her do quite a bit more in the way of training. She has improved drastically over the years, and we've never really bothered with a hackamore.

Dumas'_Grrrl 02-27-2009 10:26 AM

Thanks for the rundown of your situation Barefoothooves... I like the moral, don't knock it till you try it. I've never liked the mechanical hacks either, always preferred bits. But I suppose when you have an oldie but a goodie, you need to keep your mind open. Good for you and thanks for sharing!!

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