Views on Rocky Mountain Horses in Hackamores/Bitless bridles.
I have a 7 y/o RMH in a hackamore that he does great in. Gaits and all. But I have been unable to enter a lot of shows and have been told I am very wrong about this. I think it is fine to do and probably does better for the horse. But I would like to hear some of your opinions on it. (Please, be nice and respect everyones opinion.:D)
If the rules of a class or discipline say you have to be in a bit then you have to be in a bit. If they are silent then you can ride in anything you want.
Personally I think bosals are great for training but are the equivalent of a "tin can and a string telephone" for any sort of precision work. Hacks give a rider incredible power but no finesse.
The purpose of the bit, or any headgear, is "communication." A bit alows the rider to "whisper" with their hands. The fact that some never get beyond "shouting" is no reason to "deep six" a bit.
If the horse has a conformational problem or mouth pathology that prevents use of a bit (and I once owned one) then use what you need to use. But don't reject a bit for philosophical reasons (as many nowadays seem to do).
Yes, and if I understand correctly from when I was training young horses years ago the hackmore is one of the more severe methods of stopping a horse that won't stop. They are designed to actually cut the air supply off so the horse has no choice but to halt. If not set up correctly they can often do more harm then good.
Basically anything whether you put it in the mouth or not improperly used can be a bad thing. And bits and bitless will be debated for years to come.
But whatever class you show in if a bit is required that is what you use or you don't show.
We had a 21 year old arab who had been abused to the point of 2 teeth broken off by the previous owner because he wouldn't take the bit. We could only use a hack on him, but then he was 21, well broke and we were'nt going to force a bit into his mouth.
Well, we know the RMH association is a bit persnickety,lol, to say the least. They can be big time sticklers for the rules, and I believe the rules for most classes specify they must be bitted. I believe they even have to have one in halter classes once they pass a certain age. They change every year though, and I haven't looked at this years show rules yet.
As far as riding for pleasure, if your boy goes best in a hackamore then by all means stick with it! However, if you want to show him you will probably have to get him used to some form of acceptable bit(once again, check the rules because there are many limitations on what type of bit can be used). You could probably get away with it in smaller open gaited shows, but not RMH shows.
I ride both of my Rocky's and my Arabian in a bitless bridle. I don't show but I do ride on the trails in the bitless as well as in the arena. They all love the bitless bridle and are a joy to ride in them but perhaps you could use the bit in the shows and the bitless for your pleasure riding. Your horse will no doubt learn to know the difference.
Sachmo what type of bitless bridle are you using?
I can't say for RMH but with TWH, the general idea is that a hack can get in the way of a horses head nodding motion and that is why they discourage the use. I have ridden a gaited horse in both and other than simple preference, I didn't notice a difference in the gait.
I use the Nutural Bitless Bridles. They are made in Ontario so I am not sure if you can get them in the US but there are many nice ones out there.
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