Natural hackamore- fitting?

Discussion in 'Natural Horsemanship' started by No_Angel, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. No_Angel

    No_Angel New Member

    How should a natural hackamore, or a riding halter fit on the horse? (how loose should it be under the jaw?)
  2. Harry Hobbes

    Harry Hobbes New Member

    It should be loose enough to offer no constriction whatsoever to the natural movement of the horse's jaw, such as when yawning.

    If you review the photos in this web page: may notice that the noseband is quite large; the halter hangs on the horse's face; it isn't tied closely around the horse's head. A loose fit is generally more comfortable than a tight fit. (Just like with things that humans wear.)

    In the context of training, the purpose of the noseband is to "tip the nose" left or right, etc., so it does not need to be tight to accomplish "tipping." (Much as you do not have to put your hand around the horse's nose/jaw in order to tip the nose left/right with your hand.)

    Best regards,
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  3. Crystal Fire

    Crystal Fire New Member

    Personally, I don't think the fit of some of those is that great (sorry Harry, we normally agree :rolleyes:). The arabian one has the knots on the cheek, and there is an appy with the noseband low and on the sensitive part of the nose. Also, if you have the bottom knot too slack it can tuck up into the crook of the neck when you lift the rein, for backup for example, and act on the neck rather than the nose.
    Fitting of rope halters and hackamores is always a fun topic, so on that note I'll back up. I'll just point you to a different view of fitting...
    If you browse around that site you will find photos of well fitting gear.
  4. levi1739

    levi1739 Member

    I prefer a looser fit myself, though I'm not a big user of rope halters. The halter should be positioned differently depending on it's use. Parelli's pictures are a good reference, I would position the halter as seen in the first pic, "Regular Hackamore" when riding or training. The "Pony Weanling" pic. would be how I position it for tying up. One is below the "hard" bone of the nose (training) and one is above (tying).

    When sailing it's "line", when on a horse it's "rope". "Marlinspike seamanship" is how sailors tie/splice 'line' together. Sailors "knots" are used to measure speed ,;) cowboys tie knots in their halters. For a good description of rope and it's uses, visit Samson Rope.

    Keep on, keepin on


    edited to add, I pay $13.00 (US) for a halter and lead at my local tractor supply store.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  5. LodgeRopes

    LodgeRopes New Member

    G'day all
    Hi CF :cool: Guess you guessed we couldn't let this one slip thru to the keeper without offering a shot.
    Click on the link the Harry posted, have a look at the pics for the standard & arab hackamores.
    These are the worst pics I have ever seen!!!
    The Parelli organization needs to have a good look at itself if it considers these pics show what a rope hackamore should fit like. Both of these pics show the rope noseband sitting on the soft nasal cartilidge below or at the join with the nasal bone. This is irresponsible at best, and many would consider it inhumane. Do not, under any circumstance fit a rope hackamore like the standard & arab pics shown on this link. It is wrong and any hackamore reinsman will be able to tell you why.
    I simply challange any Parelli student to defend the Pat Parelli Natural Horsemanship organization when it prints such pics. It is simple things like this that turned us off the Parelli organisation, in the 90"s we had a Parelli study group but the 'system' got in the way of good horsemanship.

    Consider my cookies well and truley griped :eek:

    On a different note, harry h has a good point, a trail riding hackamore should allow the horse to feed, drink, chew, yawn and all the other natural functions.
    The traditional wrap & tie of the mecate below the chin, weights the hackamore to hang in a pressure neutral position. This allows the reins to control pressure like a joystick control or a pendulum.

    Will the parelli supporters please form an orderly cue on the left, I will be there directly for a severe tongue lashing :cool:
  6. LodgeRopes

    LodgeRopes New Member

    Years ago when doing a maritime pilots certificate, I was asked to name all the rope on a ship...
    The answer is easy, the only rope on a ship is attached to the ships bell, the rest are lines.:)

  7. Crystal Fire

    Crystal Fire New Member

    Rob, I'm taking a box of chocs to a demo in Kent sometime soon to make amends for our last big rope halter upset! I'm not taking chocs to Pat P, and that's final. :D:D
    I can only echo what Rob said about halter sitting on the soft cartilage, no horse needs that sort of "incentive" to do as it's told.
  8. levi1739

    levi1739 Member

    Guess we disagree a bit on this Rob. I personally wouldn't consider these pics to be either irresponsible or inhumane. They pretty much follow my own experiences. In the interest of my education, which hackamore reinsman has told you that this is wrong?

    Personally, I position the halter (note, I don't consider them a hackamore or bosal) depending on a number of things. Most importantly that would include the human that is holding the rope. If I want a bit more control, I move it down. For leading or tying I move it up. The amount of pressure applied by the humans hands is what determines the affect of the rope noseband, not the position of that halter.

    I personally don't have much use for rope halters since I want my horse to respond at the "signal" of pressure rather than from the pressure itself. This is the way I've been taught by the reinsman that I know. The reason they used rope halter was for convenience (usually had some rope around the ranch) and for control when tying (reinsman don't use bailing twine to tie a horse up).

    I will use a rope halter when teaching others. For a beginning adult I might like it a bit higher, since due to their strength and inexperienced "hands" they are likely to "pull hard" and cause the horse pain. For a small child I might move it very low, since they are unable to apply enough force to gain the horses respect. I don't consider the position as "static" and adjust for the prevailing circumstances and intended use. One thing for sure, if moving that noseband down on the "cartilidge" will give a yougster more control and therfore make them safer, "down she goes".

    I find that "harshness" in training methods is often prevelent on internet discussions. I've known and studied a few "hackamore/reiners" and they can be pretty harsh when needed. I've handled a few horses along the way and have found that I sometimes can be the same. Actually, I find it impossible to train a horse without some level of pressure and discomfort. Funny though, those that know me consider me a very "soft" horseman. I would consider Pat Parelli the same, certainly not inhumane or irresponsible.

    Keep on, keepin on

  9. Crystal Fire

    Crystal Fire New Member

    Often, the horsemen that people say are "soft" are the ones who know how to quickly be effective. I don't think effective is the same thing as being harsh, to me it's more about being appropriate. I think that some people, possibly even Pat Parelli, don't fully appreciate that they could do less and still be "effective".
    Running along a similar thought process... as a horse can feel a fly land on it's nose, I can't think of any reason why you would need to routinely fit a halter low enough to act on the soft and sensitive cartilage below the nasal bone. Maybe a child should be on a horse that is well trained enough to be "respectful" without that added incentive? Just some ramblings... normally agree with you Levi. ;)
  10. levi1739

    levi1739 Member

    CF, I like your new halter. :) I would just tie it looser, both around the throat and lower on the nose. And I'm pretty sure that Pat knows about 'doing less to get more'. ;) Thanks for the youngsters pic, (your boy?) It appears to me that the halter is on that softer cartlidge. Certainly a bit lower than the positioning on your arab. Would you agree?

    No horse is "bomb proof". What happens if that "fly on it's nose" is a hornets nest. Been there, done that. :eek: For me, the horse (as much as I love em) has to become secondary when a humans safety is involved. I'm a fair trainer, but I'm experienced enough to know the things that do happen. Sometimes softness goes right out the window and rightly so. On this forum, about everyday, I read about horses getting away from their humans. Maybe it's for those folks that I would recommend lowering the nose band a bit?

    Myself, I think "they are the ones who are too effective to be quick."

    Here's a couple pics of my gdaughter. I'm hoping that she just may be a horseman some day. :rolleyes: She has no choice but to be soft. (helmets on order, spare me the lecture:rolleyes:)

    "Use your fingers"


    "Bump, bump, bump"


    Here's a pic of the same horse, flexing with no rope attached to her halter. I've used "draw" to bring her head around (and there were no treats involved!!). Is this considered pressure? ;) (edited: the rope is actually visible on the ground in front of her)


    Keep on, keepin on

    Last edited: Mar 7, 2008
  11. Crystal Fire

    Crystal Fire New Member

    We keep keepin on Levi. :)
    The new halter will drop around the nose a little after it's been ridden in a couple of times, and will then be just right. In the photo there is a little bit of pull back on it, which makes it look "snugger" than it is.
    If the pony gets stung by a hornet it's going to react, and the extra "pressure" on the soft bit of the nose won't make a lot of difference I think.
    I don't think the pony in the picture has the halter down on the soft cartilage, I'll prod her nose tomorrow to check. :D Her nose is a rather different shape to the Araby boy.
    Ah, it's too late at night for clever words - my brain too thick to work it out. When I've watched Pat P at work I noticed he goes from phase 1 - 4 real quick, especially the first time of asking. He doesn't really give the horse a chance to change at the lower "phase". But getting that effective that quick tends to mean the horse reacts as soon as it sees "phase 1" coming the next time. I do actually think that is fairer than what some people do - which is to nag away at the horse and then eventually whack them with phase 4.
    I think we put the horses under pressure every time we want them to do something, even if it isn't physical pressure. But some of us thrive with a bit of pressure.
    No hats? Who said anything about no hats??
    Nite nite x
  12. LodgeRopes

    LodgeRopes New Member

    Levi, good to hear your thoughts on the fitting of tack.

    "One thing for sure, if moving that noseband down on the "cartilidge" will give a yougster more control and therfore make them safer, "down she goes".

    Safer!!!! Who for? you, the horse, the horses owner, the horses rider ????

    I dont agree with Levis posting, in fact I find it repulsive and do not wish to enter into any dialog with someone who, for whatever reasons, excuses inflicting pain and possible permenant injury to horse. There is nothing you can say, do or type that will make your position acceptable. You have your opinion, and I accept you have an opinion, I dont have to agree with it.
    I did start to copy & paste info on the positioning of rope halters, bosals and hackamores, but realised Levi & I dont have a technical difference of opinion, but a difference in our thoughts of what is acceptable when training or riding a horse.

    I did have a sneaky suspicion that harry posted the pics to dangle a bait, well done mate, I took it hook and all...:)

    Well done Harry. Reel me in, I'm done fighting.

    cheers all
  13. Lili & Morgan

    Lili & Morgan New Member

    Well I LOOOOOOOOOOVe my rope-halter, it stopped my BIG (17.2hh) warmblood mare to run off.
    But I fit it very high ... like the photo with poney/weanling, it works !

    Is it because if the horse steps on the rope and panics and pull shard, it will break his nose???? :confused:

    That is why I always fit halter high because I worry about hurting the nose of the horse.

    Rob, Peace and Love Mate!
  14. LodgeRopes

    LodgeRopes New Member

    Hi Lili,
    Your post reflects our opinion... from an early age, riders are taught to protect this vunerable and sensitive nasal area.

    BUT re reading my post I would like to applolgise to Levi, I was far to personal.
    We may have differing opinions, but I will always err on the side of the horse when you dont personally know the rider/trainer/handler involved. Levi may have the softest hands possible and get away with a low noseband, but others, less experienced, may copy the positioning without knowing of the possible dangers. Then it is the horse that suffers!

    The parelli organization should review its published pics and change them to reflect the aims of the organization.
  15. levi1739

    levi1739 Member

    I know of a very experienced breeder that recommends this method of "halter breaking" for her foals. Once she catches them she just leaves the halter and rope on for a couple of days.

    I'm also aware of a few people who use this method when grazing their horses outside the pasture.

    Understand that I'm not recommending either of these methods.

    I do however, consider a "post" to be a very good trainer with perfect timing. ;) I'm glad to hear that your horse is no longer running off with you.

    Keep on, keepin on

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
  16. Lili & Morgan

    Lili & Morgan New Member

    Yes I know of this method. I trained my mare that way ! It took 4 weeks for her to work out that she could swing the rope in front of her for not stepping on it ... But she is very clever mare ....

    BUT the halter was fitted HIGH on her nose not low AND it was a wide nylon webbing halter. I would NEVER turn-out a horse in a rope halter!!! It does not break!
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008

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