Do I have to use a bit on the trail? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 07-30-2011, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Do I have to use a bit on the trail?

Is there some sort of unwritten rule that you have to use a bit on your horse on a trail ride?

When daughter and I went with a group on that trail ride last month, daughter and I used hackamores on our girls. Daughter used a nice little side pull that her horse has been trained with since she was started under saddle. I used a mechanical hackamore on my Dancer because that was all I felt she needed - she responds to it quite well.

One of the other riders told us we should be using bits on our horses on the trail rides, but she didn't say why. She did seem pretty upset that we were using hackamores.

I'd like to ride with groups again - it was a lot of fun. I sure don't want to upset anyone - though if bits are some sort of requirement, I may have to pass.

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post #2 of 33 Old 07-30-2011, 10:05 AM
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Feel free to use whatever you want. There are no rules like that. That lady was out of line.
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post #3 of 33 Old 07-30-2011, 10:31 AM
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Sounds like a rider who is misinformed. I ride Bonnie on all types of trails in either a Little S hack or a bosal.

There are probably many riders who believe that you need more then a hack to control a horse - certainly untrue.

I would continue to use whatever your horse goes well in.

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post #4 of 33 Old 07-30-2011, 12:04 PM
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My friend's arab mare won't go out on trails in anything BUT a hackamore (well, she technically uses a side pull, but same concept lol)! If you put a bit in her mouth when you're out on the trail, you are just ASKING for a fight. Our BO uses hackamores on most of his younger dude string horses, too. In fact, I think out of all the horses used on trails (for the dude string) and for lessons at our stable, four of them use an actual bit. The rest use hackamores and don't have any problems. In fact, the horses that ride in bits are generally a little more difficult to handle than the horses in hackamores (probably because they're older and have developed some bad habits from being dude string horses most of their lives).

I'm contemplating using a hackamore or side pull (or bitless bridle) for Aires on trails and just using a bit for the arena work, actually.

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post #5 of 33 Old 07-30-2011, 12:18 PM
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Agreed, you can use whatever your horse is already familiar and comfortable with.
What you don't want to do is use vastly unfamiliar equipment for the first time out on trail.
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post #6 of 33 Old 07-30-2011, 12:29 PM
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Darn, tried to edit but was too late...

Just wanted to add that a lot of people are under the misguided impression that hackamores don't give the same kind of control that a bit does. I've found (through research and talking with our trainer and BO) that it's just the opposite.

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post #7 of 33 Old 07-30-2011, 12:34 PM
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The unwritten rule that *should be written in stone* is that you should have control of your horse when trail riding, particularly in a group.

In your horse was not maintaining accepted trail distance, (At least one horse's length at the walk, 2 at the trot, 3 at faster gaits) was running up on other horse's hind ends or staying parked over the horse in front of them's hind end, unable or unwilling to moderate pace, unwilling to wait after crossing a trail obstacle but barged ahead while others were on the far side of the obstacle, an irritated trail companion might have assumed that the problem was tack, not training.

If you horses are perfectly trail broke, maintain safe following distances, go in front and behind willingly, moderate pace when called for, and negotiate obstacles without drama no one should have any cause to question your tack.

Last edited by maura; 07-30-2011 at 01:00 PM.
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post #8 of 33 Old 07-30-2011, 12:44 PM
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I'm with everyone else. Tack is about control. That's whats important.

Sounds like to me that lady was what I call the "what it's suppose to look like" horse-owner, NOT a horseman. The horse-owner wants their horse to look and act like every horse that John Wayne ever rode, bit included and riding into the sunset....
The horseman knows what works for thier own horse and there is a level trust and training that the horse-owner will never understand because it "doesn't look right".

Congrats for being a competent horseman... or horsewoman! =)
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post #9 of 33 Old 07-30-2011, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heartprints62 View Post
Sounds like to me that lady was what I call the "what it's suppose to look like" horse-owner, NOT a horseman. The horse-owner wants their horse to look and act like every horse that John Wayne ever rode, bit included and riding into the sunset....
The horseman knows what works for thier own horse and there is a level trust and training that the horse-owner will never understand because it "doesn't look right".

Congrats for being a competent horseman... or horsewoman! =)
Just want to say: VERY WELL-PUT!

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post #10 of 33 Old 07-30-2011, 12:57 PM
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In my neck of the woods hacks get a bad rep b/c the stupid people use them. They're the ones that dont control their horse and dont want to either.

No rule of the such is written in stone- nor should it be!

You sound like you know what your doing with it. So keep using it!
The lady will just have to get use to the fact you enjoy using a hack- All I can say is prove her uppidy-ness wrong.
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