Questions about Bosals/Hackamores/bit fittings.
I was thinking about putting my 3 year old in a hackamore because she chews on her bit like it is going out of style. yeah I know she is young but she was drove VERY extensively last year and rode lightly this year and I would expect her to stop gnawing on it by now. She is not hurting anything by doing this but she is starting to leave some good sized scratchs in the bit.The bit I have on her now is also too big for her and one time I pulled the bit the whole way through her mouth(eep), it is a standard 5" bit. I have never seen a pony bit that is a french link eggbutt though.
So i was just wondering about riding her in a hackamore but I have a few questions...What are the different kinds are hackamores? Are they show legal? I mean I know bosals are but what about the other kinds? What kind of control do they offer? and What about Bitless bridles?
Also if you don't believe I should ride my young in' in a hackamore what do you think I should do about my oversized chew toy of a bit.?
Thanks in advance ya'll
I would look online at like Stateline tack or something for a bit that would fit her, they do have smaller bits that are french link, and truthfully the horse is SUPPOSED to chew on the bit. If she's leaving teeth marks on it, then it is not sitting in her mouth right, it's either hanging to low, or is pulled too tight in her mouth, and needs to be adjusted accordingly. There are different types of chewing, the good is just simply chewing while still going along nicely, and the bad is anything from grinding the teeth, to gapping the mouth, to tweaking the head and holding the bit between the teeth to get away from the bit. I would not jump to putting her in a hackamore just because she is chewing on a bit, especially one that doesn't fit right. I don't know if you ride western or english, but either way, after getting a bit that fits her right, stabilize it in her mouth with a correct fitting flash, and see if that helps calm her chewing a bit. Good luck with her, and I hope that you are able to find a bit that fits. Again, look online, at stateline, or do a search and I'm sure that you will be able to find what you are looking for.
How tight should the bit be in her mouth? At the moment I have it taut but there are are not wrinkles in her mouth but If i put it up a hole it goes right to 2 wrinkles and then she throws a fit and tries to get away from the bit. I will look into finding a smaller bit for her.
I found a Myler snaffle in a smaller size at Stateline. I have not heard anything but goodness about these bits but I don't know what level to get. She is a level 1 at the moment but what if she moves beyond a Level 1. Does that mean I'm gonna have to buy another expensive bit??!
I wouldn't change from a level 1. I used to ride my mare in a myler, I believe level one. It stopped working after a while though, so I had to change to a french link loose ring which I rode her in for the remaining 2 years before I sold her, with no problems, even jumping 5 foot fences. She should have a wrinkle or two in the corner of her mouth, and when you pull back on the reins, the cheek pieces of the bridle should not gape a whole bunch. If you have the option, if she throws a fit, tighten it to where she has a wrinkle or two in the corner of her mouth, and turn her out in the round pen, and work her a bit, and let her figure it out. But I do think that a large part of the problem, is having a bit that is too big for her mouth. I do know that I got a 4 3/4 french link loose ring snaffle that fit the 13 some odd hand Arab gelding I used to ride, so they are out there lol. Hopefully these suggestions will help you out.
I start young horses in a bosel, so I don't see what harm it would do to use one (or a hackamore for that matter). Like dressagebelle said, state line tack is a great resource for pony bits. You can also google for pony tack to find stores that cater specifically to them. As far as what's show legal - I think it mostly depends on the age, but there are bosel classes, and I know several barrel horses that race in a hack.
A hackamore can be gentle or harsh, depending on the hands of the rider. It is a myth that a bit is cruel and a hackamore is gentler. The horse's face is very soft and sensitive with many nerve endings. Misuse of a hackamore can not only cause pain and swelling on the nose and jaw, but improper fitting combined with rough use can cause damage to the cartilage on the horse's nose or break some of the small bones in the nasal passages.
Of course, a lot of this depends on the type of hackamore used, as well.
Which is harshest or gentlest? well, look at the shanks, the material used, and decide for yourself. Bosels and side pulls are generally considered in the same category as hackamores, too.
The pic above is from horse tack international.
Those bike chain hackamores made me cringe. So are bosals and sidepulls pretty mild with decent hands?
I think so. It also depends on the material of the bosel. I use a leather wrapped bosel, and it seems to do the trick. Side pulls I don't use too much. For me, I guess I'd rather just put the reins on the halter and go if I'm using a side pull - which is an option for fun, but obviously would not fly in the show ring.
I would laugh if someone tried to show in a halter and lead ropes. I would laugh even harder if for some reason they were allowed to show and won their class just cause the horse looked like it was actually enjoying itself and the rider was having fun.
I was just looking at the prices of bosals and I was all :shock:. And I had thought Myler bits were bad.
Before looking into a bosal/hackamore, I would suggest getting a bit that fits her mouth. If it's so large that you can pull it through her mouth, then it makes sense that she's chewing out of discomfort. As for the measurement, I believe all you have to do is take a string, measure the length of her mouth with the string, then measure the string.
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