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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve noticed in pictures of Hickstead a bridle setup that I don’t know. I’m aware many upper level English riders ride in double bridles, but I think I’ve always seen two bits. I could be wrong, but to me it looks like the shanked portion on Hickstead’s bridle here is not a bit. It looks like it’s attached to his noseband. If I’m wrong, let me know. But if I am right about that, can someone explain what this bridle setup is?
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It's a mechanical hackmore and snaffle. Since a connector is being used, when pressure is applied, both the bit and nose pressure activate. Some horses react better to nose pressure vs adding more bit.
 

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German hackamore and snaffle connected by roundings.

They have different actions: the hackamore uses leverage, the thinner nosepiece and longer shanks are more severe, acts on the nose, lower jaw and poll, it's not so great for steering, stops by encouraging the horse to drop its head. The snaffle has no leverage, it's direct pressure; works on the bars of the mouth, tongue, lips; better for steering.

The roundings activate them at the same time, two reins would isolate the actions.
 

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This article tells you more.


I have a myler combination that acts similarly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's a mechanical hackmore and snaffle. Since a connector is being used, when pressure is applied, both the bit and nose pressure activate. Some horses react better to nose pressure vs adding more bit.
Ah, interesting. I use mechanical hackamores (by themselves) all the time but all I know are the Western variety :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
German hackamore and snaffle connected by roundings.

They have different actions: the hackamore uses leverage, the thinner nosepiece and longer shanks are more severe, acts on the nose, lower jaw and poll, it's not so great for steering, stops by encouraging the horse to drop its head. The snaffle has no leverage, it's direct pressure; works on the bars of the mouth, tongue, lips; better for steering.

The roundings activate them at the same time, two reins would isolate the actions.
That makes sense. Thank you! I hadn’t ever seen a hackamore like this before (probably because I’m a western rider lol) so I was a bit confused over it and not sure if maybe it was a double bit and my eyes were playing tricks on me.

Aware of how mechanical hacks usually work, I use the western varieties a lot (but without a bit). Fun fact, my dude Maverick works better in a curb bit than a snaffle, even though I’m so light with the curb that I’m not even putting pressure, just moving my finger, because he’s used to being ridden in a mechanical hackamore and did/does most of his training in one, and the leverage of the two are very similar, it’s just that a curb bit puts pressure on the mouth, chin and poll, and a mechanical hackamore puts pressure on nose, chin and poll.
 
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Agree with the others. It is an interesting solution. Hickstead was super hot and sensitive. I watched him compete once at the World Equestrian Games. He tended to literally bolt between jumps sometimes, and you could see it was extremely difficult to keep him on track while controlling his explosiveness. The day I watched him he won. So it was a good solution for him.
 
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