Your thoughts on riding a Hackamore trained horse in a bit. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-28-2015, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Question Your thoughts on riding a Hackamore trained horse in a bit.

I recently bought a 10yo Mare who's previous owners would ride with just a halter with a lead rope tied to each side. I test rode her but only on their property and when I did I rode her bareback and just with a halter/lead rope like they do. She was pretty perfect. Since then she has been staying with a friend who is actually the one who raised and broke her.

The mare was trained in a Hackamore but she says she has been rode in a bit bridle as well a couple times but I believe it was years ago. My question is should I try riding her in a bit?

My concern is I am un familiar with riding in a hackamore I have always rode with a bit and I know you give directions a certain way in a Hackamore if it is fairly easy to teach yourself without confusing the horse I am more than willing to do so.

My 2nd concern is that I do not yet know this horse on the trails so our trust has not been built and the recent previous owner did not ride her very much and when she did she rode out with another horse but I usually go riding alone mostly.... My main worry is she might be very spooky her first times off the property with me ****although I do intend to build groundwork before I ever ride her out I still worry she will spook and I will not be able to regain control of her if she bolts...

I ask because people have said it would be silly to ride a bit less trained horse in a bit when it is not necessary. I feel I want to until I know this horse well. Don't get me wrong I am soft on the reins and do not use the bit harshly I just think a Hackamore would be very easy for a horse to "run through"

Sorry for the length I tried my best to be to the point I felt bit of back round would help. Thank you for your opinions and any advice you may have! Just tell me what you would do if you were me :)
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-28-2015, 04:57 PM
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I would try her in the hack first. If she went perfectly in it before, then there's no reason she'd all the sudden be horrible in it. If you ride her in it, and you feel out of control, try a simple, easy on the mouth bit. She may be more confused by the cues your trying to give her with a bit, than she would be with you trying to figure out how to use a hack though. Test it out, see how you feel. It's the only way to know for sure.
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-28-2015, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much that is what I have been leaning towards doing when I think on it!!!

I have started looking into the proper way to ride in a hackamore and will try this out first in the arena then move on out! Thanks you again.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-29-2015, 05:28 PM
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Hi, as for different signals, it's not really any different for the rider(unless you ride English & horse is trained Western for eg), just that the signals feel different for the horse with different equipment - which is why it's best not to transfer to different equipment the horse isn't used to, without a bit of 'brush up' training. Whether it's going from halter to bit or vice versa. So if you choose to use a bit, then I'd give the horse a few sessions of getting used to just wearing it, without reins, before ensuring the horse understood how to follow the feel of the bit.

Regardless of whether you use a bit of a hack/halter, if you don't know the horse, I'd suggest riding(not just groundwork) at home & get to know her before you take her out, and especially if you don't know if she's really been out of her home environment before. I'd also be inclined, if possible, to take her out in company before going out alone. It sounds like you're nervous about it, so that's another reason for that.
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-29-2015, 05:49 PM
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Any horse, even those ridden with a bit, can easily be ridden in a bittless devise, afterall, pressure points are very similar from what the horse learned since first being halter broke
Many horses eventually ridden in a bit, ad that initial education using a halter, side pull or bosal
On the flip side of things, I also believe any horse should be able to be ridden with a bit, unless there is some mouth damage
One cannot simply plop a bit in a horse's mouth, and expect him to transfer what he learned on pressure applied to his face, to entirely new areas in the mouth
Thus, if it were me, as I like a horse that accepts a bit, I would give the horse some basic education using a bit, starting by just having the horse carry that bit under that bittless bridle or bosal
You just rode the horse in her comfort zone, which I hope you realize is not the way to really try a horse out.
If you want a trail horse, then try him out on a trail
Maybe the horse is very respectful of just a halter, but maybe that owner was just sneaking a ride in the horse;s comfort zone
I don't mind when someone tells me a horse can be ridden bittless, but warning flags go up for me if they say the horse HAS to be ridden bittless
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-04-2016, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Yes these were my thoughts and no I certainly do not intend to just put a bit in and go lol. I was just interested in hearing views on it... And yes I am well aware I rode her in her comfort zone...the sale was not your typical sale these people were out of not a flake they called her old owner who called me thats why I looked and bought her like I did. I trust the lady that bred and raised her. (all the info I relayed was what she has told me.)

Im not really nervous I just want to be fair to the horse..and plan my starting point. Im not overly concerned if shes spooky...My gelding was green as green is on trails and now hes a nice trail horse.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-05-2016, 08:39 PM
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If the horse is used to a hack I would try the hack and get used to how she responds to it-as others have suggested-and if you are still worried try to find someone to ride out with for the first time or so. A horse that is hack trained will run through a hack no more than a horse that is bit trained will run through a bit, both are possible. If you do decide to go with a bit I'd try a light snaffle and see how she responds before taking her out with it. Good luck! :)
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-06-2016, 02:22 AM
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As far as "brakes" are concerned, you'll have more brakes with the hackamire that with the bit, because the horse is used to the hack. In fact, in general, a hackamor has more stopping power , I feel, due to the severe compression one can apply. Thus, it can be very severe, indeed.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-06-2016, 05:44 AM
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I like using the hackamore. I'm training my Star mare with a bosal hackamore right now. She can and will use a bit but she loves the hackamore. It's pretty easy really, when you are showing them something that they don't know, you want to use a gentle bumping action rather than a steady pull. If this mare is already trained to a hackamore, more than likely she knows how to neck rein. As far as spooking and bolting, if she does this, you would want to do a one rein stop anyway and this is easier with a hackamore. Never pull straight back for a stop. The only thing I pull (bump) straight back for is to put the head down and back up. My mare has really softened up with the bosal, we both like it. :)
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-06-2016, 07:07 AM
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The traditional hackamore is a 1 to 1 ratio device and not so different than riding in the snaffle bit.
I would suggest riding the horse a few times with the hackamore in a controlled area “arena or round pen” to feel her out and build your comfort level with the hackamore. If the horse was trained properly in the hackamore you should find there is no reason for concern.

If you do choose to use a bit you should keep in mind that some training may be required to teach the horse to respond to a new device. You might consider using a snaffle bit under the hackamore for a few rides until the horse learns to respond to the pressure of the bit.

Best of luck.
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hackamore bitless bridle

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