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mramsay 09-07-2011 01:57 AM

bit and hackamore combo
Hi all,
I have a six year old reg. solid paint gelding which I use just for pleasure riding ("Blitz" or Western Sugar). He is extremely hard mouthed (I think this is from his previous owners who sold him to me along with his bit--the longest shanked ported curb I have ever seen) his previous owner was extremely green and admitted to yanking on him alot, and sold him because he had too much go. I have downgraded to a thick dee-ring snaffle. He often chomps on it, and fights it (along with all others I have tried) he had had his teeth floated, and mouth checked-it doesnt appear to be a pain thing. He is still quite hard mouthed. He is neck reining about 50% of the time on the trail (with leg) and 75% of the time in the arena. I tried a hackamore on him and WOW-super soft responsive, and supple horse! I have never seen him tuck his nose and collect, or tuck and back up with such smoothness. I took him out on the trail, he was wonderful until he spooked (he is pretty nervous) and he found that if he held he head WAY up the hackamore didnt have much control on him, so no breaks. I wonder if trying a hackamore combo would work? The only problem is that the only combos I can fint have twisted wire snaffles...Boo! I know I am kindo of going backards by putting a bit in his mouth, but there is are my breaks, and I need a much softer touch to steer, controll him--just a thought. The hackamore I tried was a shanked one with a soft braided leather nose band. I just loved him in the hackamore, and he seemed much more relaxed, but i need breaks, lol. Normally I can have him stop on a "whoa" but I need something when this fails, as he is a horse and things will happen, lol. What does everyone think of my situation, and ideas? has anyone tried a combo?
Here are a few I have found (I am in Canada) Hackamore looking at : 251052 & 251072
I would prefer a leather noseband, though. Will continue to look at some other sites too. I like the option on the one to use it with shanks, or as a snaffle

StreakersCowgurl 09-07-2011 12:04 PM

Have you thought about trying a noseband and tiedown just for the trails? That way if you really needed an emergency break he couldn't lift his head beyond your control. It should never be adjusted tightly though...always enough slack to lift up into his jawline. You could still continue to use the hack with this option.

mramsay 09-07-2011 12:50 PM

I have thought of using a tie down, and the truth is that I am not a huge fan of them ( dont like the idea of tying a horses head down, my horse has also never worn one, so I am not sure how he ould respond). I am hoping that maybe once he is reponding better --not so green,. (an maybe learns that lifting his head wont help, I can go back to a staright hack?) I am a bit of a minimalist and like to use the least amount of gear that I can

SorrelHorse 09-07-2011 01:43 PM

I have a giraffe (-cough-, I mean, Anglo-Arabian) who once smacke dme in the teeth with the back of his head.

Ditched the snaffle for a myler shank bit. Still his head was threateningly close.

Hello, magic tiedown. :D

JustDressageIt 09-07-2011 02:12 PM

I'm not a fan of tie downs to begin with - they're band-aids for a larger problem - but I never ever advise tie-downs while on a trail ride. If the horse spooks or gets itself in a position where it needs its head to balance, you're SOL if you're using a tie-down. Extremely dangerous.
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mramsay 09-07-2011 03:00 PM


Originally Posted by JustDressageIt (Post 1165358)
I'm not a fan of tie downs to begin with - they're band-aids for a larger problem - but I never ever advise tie-downs while on a trail ride. If the horse spooks or gets itself in a position where it needs its head to balance, you're SOL if you're using a tie-down. Extremely dangerous.
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Thats what mt BO's opionion is. I am one of the only western riders of a group of riders who ride together, and it is sometimes a show to see who can have the most gear on their horse. What if a horse were to go down and couldnt strech his neck out?
Blitz actually has a very low natural headset-I amke fun of him and call him my peanut roller-it is quite rediculous actually the only instance is head goes up is if he is nervous, or if he spooks.

SorrelHorse 09-07-2011 06:09 PM

When a tiedown is place in a nuetral position, IMO, it doesnt cause a problem.

I ride with mine fairly loose. It has a big noseband so it doesn't rub, I thread it through a ring on my breastcollar so it slides easily and he won't get his legs caught when we run around. I've never had a problem going down/up steep hills, through water, and pretty much any terrain.

I know a lot of people crank down their nosebands, but I don't. I have it just tight enough he can't take my teeth out again but long enough it doesn't constrict him at all. I use it when I run barrels too. He can run barrels without the tiedown, but it gives him something to lean on just in case.

Some horses don't like the tiedown so it completely depends on the horse. My other barrel mare can't stand them.

However, if you are completely dead-set against it, I also wouldn't try the combo. I find that most of them pretty much apply pressure in too many places (Nose, jaw, poll, etc)

I suppose this depends on what you buy, but I don't like them. I tried riding my gelding in one and he hated it. Especially on a green horse.

At this point I would do a LOT of groundwork. Maybe put him in the snaffle bit and work on suppling up, let the horse have his reins tied to the stirrups so there is give, and he learns to supple up on his own. I know a lot of horse owners don't do this, so do it by hand if you want. Teach him flexing by taking the reins in your own hands instead of the stirrups.

With the right amount of groundwork, you won't have a problem by the time you get in the saddle. Be prepared for that to take some time though.

JustDressageIt 09-07-2011 11:57 PM

SH, if the tie down is so loose that it doesn't restrict head movement at all (especially with a horse trying to get up/save its balance) then you may as well not have one on as it isn't doing a thing anyways.
Personally, I really dislike tiedowns, period.
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SorrelHorse 09-09-2011 12:42 AM

That's not exactly what I was saying. What I meant was, it's not allowing him to get his head up vertical like he seems to like to do. Since then we have done the groundwork I suggested and he doesn't ver throw his head anymore, but at the time I used it as a sport of ebrake and support for him and a safety check for me.

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