View Full Version : Hackamore ?
14th Jul 2003, 08:30 PM
Right, after seeing galadriels' picture in the cafe it has got me thinking about a hackamore.
would it be worth getting one for mysy ?
are they as effective as a bit ?
does it steer ok and do the brakes work ? (using very basic language lol)
are they for more experianced riders ???
just a general wondering really. that may be better for mysy but it may not ?
any info on them please ?
14th Jul 2003, 08:39 PM
i use a hackamore on autumn, the lightest touch will make him stop or turn. they can actully be harder on the horse then the bit sometimes because when you pull all the pressure is put on the nose of the horse. you could try the hackamore on your horse to see if it works, some horses like them much more then bits and are much more responsive, some arn't. i fought and fought with milky a lot and she was MUCH better in a hackamore. and another horse that was put in it was a pig and you had to pull so much it probably hurt his nose so we put a bit back in.
14th Jul 2003, 08:39 PM
I'm not all that up on hackamores as I've only used them a couple of times. From what I do know they work using a combination of nose and poll action. It is essential that you have light hands if you are riding with one as it can compromise your horse's airways if you pull backwards and/or hard.
They are ideal if your horse cannot tolerate a bit in his mouth for whatever reason.
Hope this helps and that someone with more knowledge on the subject can enlighten you further. :)
14th Jul 2003, 08:42 PM
Lots of information here:
14th Jul 2003, 08:44 PM
This has some good info...
As the link discusses, one of the problems is that it doesn't allow the giving of "fine-tuned" aids that you may give with a bit.
That being said - I believe showjumper is training Dolly in a hackamore so she may be able to give you some more info on what it's like to train a horse with it.
EDIT - Sorry, Galadriel & I cross-posted.
15th Jul 2003, 05:33 PM
The other thing worth considering is if you plan to compete a lot as some events and organisations do not allow hackamores to be used. If you plan to compete in dressage it is a definate no no.
15th Jul 2003, 07:09 PM
I don't use a traditional hackamore (the metal one). I use a bitless bridle, which doesn't apply leverage, and is directional. Me and a friend are also going to start experimenting with different types of rope bitless bridles. If you search for Bitless Bridle, you should get a lot of information and pictures that I and galadriel have posted before :D Bitless is great - I will never ride Dolly any other way :D
15th Jul 2003, 07:33 PM
Like Showjumper I'm training my mare to ride in a bitless rope halter with reins attached. When we initially tried it, she had no idea what I was trying to achieve and it was a huge battle.
However, I went back to basics....try teaching your horse basic flexion exercises with your normal halter & leadrope. Do this first from the ground by standing at the shoulder and asking for her to move her head in your direction.
Initially it may be more tugging than asking, but pretty quickly the horse will get the hang of it. When you're satisfied with her response, hop on and do it from "on-high".
IN order to teach stop you need to be on board. Lets say you're walking around the arena and you're following the movement of the horses walk. Stop following the movement and release the energy from your body, then at the same time pull the leadrope rope towards your body. This will actually cause the horse to circle slightly in the direction of the pull and they will have to stop.
My horse (who can be quite stubborn) now knows that when I stop following her movement, she's meant to stop and it requires very little for me to stop her at that point.
I've taught her this in the last month or so, but I havent taken her hacking in the halter....I'm a bit nervous about it...old habits die hard I guess. However, in a couple of weeks I'm taking her on Exmoor and I'm gonna do it then!! Honest!!
If its any help to you, my mare is rising 5, very dominant and sometimes prone to the odd spook. I like the idea of bitless because I want to save her mouth and she really didnt like having a bit in there.
good luck with it!
15th Jul 2003, 07:57 PM
i ride dusty in a hackamoor and both him and i LOVE it!
he has no teeth problems,but he just never liked the bit in general! i also find it alot more kinder to put a hackamoor on my horse than a piece of metal across his teeth and in his mouth!
also,for my horse a hackamoor is great on him for stoping,just the LIGHTEST tug and he stops on a DIME! he will also turn rather well! i havent had a bit on him in about a year...
here is a pic!
15th Jul 2003, 07:57 PM
I forgot to say.... I do Parelli and we're Pre Level 1. They maintain that horses are never taught how to respond to a bit. They simply have one put in their mouths and somehow figure out how that a pull on the right rein means turn right, and that pull back means stop. etc. etc
Parelli maintains that a horse who has been taught to respond properly to a hackamore is actually safer simply because they have been taught. I know people at a higher level of Parelli than I am who hack out in a halter & in a bareback pad with no saddle and they swear they have never felt so safe on their horses.
The reason? The horse & owner have been through hours of training which teaches the horse than the owner is worthy of his respect, and teaches the rider how to help your horse thru any given problem or potential catastrophe.
hope this has helped you.
15th Jul 2003, 08:43 PM
Originally posted by Horsey Bird
I know people at a higher level of Parelli than I am who hack out in a halter & in a bareback pad with no saddle and they swear they have never felt so safe on their horses.
I find that a complete change of tack makes things easier for a horse you are re-training. When I first got her, my off-track TB worked herself up so much any time I got out a saddle or a bridle, that I really WAS safer riding in a halter & lead rope, bareback.
15th Jul 2003, 10:36 PM
I don't know much about hackamores, (please don't be offended iwuvhorses) but that hackamore looks extremely severe. The shanks are the longest I've ever seen and the noseband looks to be sitting on soft tissue, that is supported by very little and fragile bone. The smallest of squeezes will exert a huge amount of nose and poll pressure.
Should it not be fitted so the noseband sits higher up Dusty's nose, where the faces bone structure is stronger?
15th Jul 2003, 10:51 PM
this is a picture of autumn in his hackamore....sometimes i will ride him in just a rope halter though. it has one ear loop, as you can see by the picture... it goes around one ear hehe. i think its cute, my instructer gave it to me when she gave me autumn :)
16th Jul 2003, 10:31 AM
I agree, Dizzy! No wonder it only takes the slightest pressure to stop and turn him!
16th Jul 2003, 02:54 PM
hi thanks for all your input and help.
if i put mysy in a hackamore or bitless would her brakes work still or will she be more reluctant to stop ??
in canter and gallop, is it safe to let her go as i may not be able to stop her in a hackamore or bitless ?
16th Jul 2003, 04:16 PM
If you're asking right, you should have just as much "brakes" in a hackamore or bitless as with a bridle. You don't *need* a bit to "control* (more like, direct) a horse.
If a horse doesn't want to cooperate, no force in this world is going to make him.
16th Jul 2003, 06:29 PM
i thought it may be worth getting a bitless bridle for her if it will have the same affect on her as a bitted bridle.
i was just worried about her brakes thats all. but you have reasured me lol. i will try it out when i move her next week in the school to begin with.
and i know you cant compete dressage with a bitless or hackamore but what about anything else ?
thanks you all so much for the help.
16th Jul 2003, 06:34 PM
At the moment you can jump and do endurance in a bitless, but I'm going to start writing letters to the various organisations and whinge about the rules regarding bitless in other disciplines.
I'm going to say that surely, riding and controlling a horse without a bit shows better training and harmony than riding in a double bridle/kimblewick which is what is most seen at the shows I go to.
17th Jul 2003, 09:10 AM
thanks for all your help.
seems a very fair point you are making and yes i agree i think it shows good training aswell.
do the organisers give their resoning about why they dont alow the bitless.
i really want to get mysy going in a bitless as 1. she hates the bit being put in her mouth - dont knowwhy, she has no teeth problems that thet can see. and 2. a bitless seems to look kinder. and i think i want one but my parents dont seem impressed.
17th Jul 2003, 09:20 AM
I agree with Dizzy, the red hackamore posted looks to be very severe with those long shanks. The hackamore in the pic posted by JumpingisLife is kinder, it has shorter shanks and the noseband is on the nasal bone (or appears to be) rather than on soft tissue.
I don't have a problem with hackamores, but they aren't automatically kinder to the horse than a bit is, and many of them are more easily abused than a bit by nature of the long shanks which multiplies the slightest pressure.
17th Jul 2003, 01:36 PM
Do hackamores work in getting the horse to carry himself properly (ie. on the bit - without a bit), and higher levels of dressage? I know that many advanced horses may do this easily without a bit but can any horse be taught dressage in a hackamore?
17th Jul 2003, 02:37 PM
I would assume so, Mazpup, as the horse's head position is supposedly only 'on the bit' because he is stretching through his topline from use of the legs. But as so many people think yanking the mouth to cause the head to lower is the correct way to do it, I suppose it depends on who is training the horse!!
17th Jul 2003, 03:48 PM
do the organisers give their resoning about why they dont alow the bitless.
This is a direct quote from the last organisation I approached and asked, "A horse that wants to get placed should happily accept a simple snaffle or double bridle. Riding in a bitless suggests the horse has problems with it's mouth, in which case it shouldn't be shown."
can any horse be taught dressage in a hackamore?
Of course - you just have to teach it to use it's back end (ie work properly) instead of yanking it's neck in with a bit.
17th Jul 2003, 04:26 PM
Was just wondering, as to get a horse 'on the bit' the bit is often used to encourage the horse to relax his jaw, allowing him to round his neck. Of course, all this has to be accompanied by all teh other work through the horses hindquarters and back.
17th Jul 2003, 04:47 PM
Acutually have to disagree a bit about the dressage & hackamore. By the time you're getting to high levels of dressge, you're asking for such fine-tuned commands, that a hackamore probably wouldn't provide the level of responsiveness necesary to achieve those commands
17th Jul 2003, 07:22 PM
why should a horse accept the bit easily. ??? grrr. you have never had a bit in dollys mouth so its not that she has a problem with the bit just personal training methods. (which i want to do now lol)
grrr. these rules. i dont like the one about colour of jods either. how is a blue pair going to make you ride worse than a beige pair ???? grrr. showing rules. lol
17th Jul 2003, 08:06 PM
you have never had a bit in dollys mouth so its not that she has a problem with the bit just personal training methods
That's what I tried to get across and I was told that I was doing it all wrong :rolleyes: The BHS are so wonderfully useless and unhelpful
17th Jul 2003, 09:14 PM
Who thinks up all these rules? I can't compete my shetlands nationally (rules may have changed now, this was a couple of years ago) because they are 'too small'. But yet I had won enough local events to qualify for nationals so surely if I can qualify with little ones then I can at least have a stab at the nationals. The daft thing is that there is no rule stopping them competing internationally...its just no-one in the UK can qualify to go international with them as they can't enter the nationals....:rolleyes:
Sorry just an off-topic private rant :D
I think they are secretly scared - a shetland pair from the Netherlands won the international pony pairs (or was it teams?) a couple of years ago :D
Good Luck with getting around the rules;)
18th Jul 2003, 05:54 AM
I intend to keep starting petitions, sending letters, turning up at shows in the bitless, and generally insisting on not putting a bit in her mouth...hehehe should be fun! :D
18th Jul 2003, 10:45 AM
ooh, be revelious ! lol
im sure the competitors wouldnt have a problem with someone in the class going bitless but just the judges. why should we stick to old fashioned rules and the same methods of training ??? times have changed and so should the training. nothing against bits at all but people shoudl be open minded !
dad still hard to convince but ordering one today hopefully ! lol
esther - so they arent too small for international but they are for national. and you cant compete international until you do national ?? i would love to meet the people that amke up these rules !
18th Jul 2003, 11:38 AM
Yey be rebellious showjumper! And if anyone has to much of a go just start crying and say you lost your bit :rolleyes:
18th Jul 2003, 11:45 AM
just start crying and say you lost your bit
lol!!! I LOVE that! :D
27th Dec 2003, 10:50 PM
jUmPingIsLifE a pony i ride sometimes has a hackamore just like that.
I have tryed it on my horse and he hates it. The slightest pressure had him sliding to a stop and tosing his head around. He keept trying to turn in the oposite direction. He got a little better but I gave up and went back to the snaffle.
28th Dec 2003, 06:03 PM
The red hackamore certainly does look extremely severe, and I've never seen such long shanks. The noseband is definitely fitted way too low. I don't think this particular bridle is kinder on the horse. Sorry, don't wish to offend anyone, but that's my opinion, and I certainly wouldn't put it on any horse of mine.
28th Dec 2003, 06:22 PM
I think the red hackamore is a german hackamore. They are actually not the most severe type of hackamore on the market. While they are strong, severe is quite a strong word to use. Hackamores can interfere with and restrict the horses breathing and airways if used incorrectly. An argument is that are the aids more or less clear in a hackamore? I personally think it is something the horse will choose to tell you. Charlie used to be ridden by me in a hackamore because he hates the bit, and responds so much better in it (I have stopped using it however as I'd like him responding to a bit for showjumping and dressage). Some horses respond better to the more 'direct' action of the bit. The hackamore puts pressure on the poll and squeezes on the nose and chin groove (English, german etc) However, as Mysy is only young, I would suggest a much more mild type of bitless bridle known as the scawbrig. It doesnt have poll pressure and is quite mild. It's almost like a side pull, which is also a very good bitless bridle for a young horse. The cross under can be good for youngsters as well as they push the horse rather then pull.
I would have to agree that Dusty's noseband is very low and will interfere with his breathing a lot more and make it stronger
29th Dec 2003, 01:13 PM
Hackamores are no use for any decent level of dressage. Because of how they work they effectively pull the horse's head down however carefully you use your hands - this makes it difficult to create true connection. They are also relatively ineffective for lateral work.
I have ridden in bitless bridles and have mainly used them when horses are mouthy due to teething.
I do worry that people think bitless bridles are milder - the nose is far more sensitive than the mouth, even a correctly fitted bitless bridle will exert pressure on the nerve bundles in the nose, and permanent nerve damage is not unheard of. In the right hands they can be useful, but in my experience few people have the knowledge to use one correctly. I remember when Eddie Macken appeared with one on Boomerang (a lot of years ago) and lo and behold 90% of the riders a local SJ classes suddenly turned up in them. (The current fashion item is a Dutch gag :rolleyes: )
29th Dec 2003, 01:17 PM
I dont think the nose is more sensitive than the mouth. It has a hair covering wheras the mouth is a very sensitive organ with no cover.
I imagine that a harsh bitless is less severe than a mild bit, but the nose is not nearly as sensitive as the horses mouth. some bitless bridles dont even put presure on the nose.
29th Dec 2003, 01:34 PM
There is actually a major nerve bundle in the nose, this is why it is so sensitive - the amount of hair is no protection as there is little flesh between the skin, nerve and bone. The mouth is surprisingly poorly supplied with nerves in comparison - just think of their ability to eat thistles etc.
29th Dec 2003, 01:40 PM
I don't do dressage at all so couldn't comment on a hackamore's suitability for advanced dressage - I will bow down to Lgd's superior knowledge there!
However, it is certainly true that a hackamore can be extremely severe - it can put tremendous pressure on the nose and also the poll. Please don't think it's like riding in a headcollar or halter. All bitless bridles of the hackamore family are designed to use pressure on the nose and poll.
My stallion was (and still is) ridden in a hackamore following an accident out on loan that left him with a near phobic reaction to bits. It's important to have an understanding of how a hackamore works before you just put one on, so I'd recommend at least one lesson for horse and rider to get used to the idea. Also bear in mind that while some horses love them and go really well in them, it's not the case that every horse does - just as some horses like snaffles and others like curbs.
A hackamore is capable of exerting a huge amount of leverage on a horse's face. Never underestimate the sensitivity of the horse's reaction to it. Think of a pressure halter, and how effective they are - and then think on to the fact that a hackamore is stronger still.
Any horse in a hackamore should still be ridden "on the bit" - you don't really need a bit for this to happen! It simply means that the horse is carrying himself correctly, engaging his quarters and working in the correct outline. My stallion even worked with a wet mouth whilst wearing his hackamore.
A hackamore must also be fitted correctly - if not, then it will interfere with the horse's breathing and can cause immense discomfort.
If you go ahead with a hackamore for Mysy, get your instructor to fit it with you and have a couple of lessons to show you how to ride with it. It's important to understand its action, as with any piece of tack.
Hope it goes well! :)
29th Dec 2003, 01:43 PM
ok sorry I will have to adgree. I guess I have always had it drumed into me that the horses mouth is the most sensitive part of the horse. Even parelli says that. where are the nerve endings and can the hackamore be placed to advoid them.
29th Dec 2003, 03:10 PM
as ever there are exceptions to every rule. the hackmoor in the "red" picture is indeed a german one. i used to use one on my extemely strong sj, it is the most severe hackmoor and the way it is fitted in that pic is totally incorrect. it should be in almost the same place as a cavason noseband. the other picture however is the milder english hackmoor which is a good bit for mouth phobic horses, but doesnt give much braking or steering during the education of a young horse.
29th Dec 2003, 03:56 PM
WV - you can't really avoid it - the nerve bundle runs down the nasal bones. It is one of the reasons a hackamore can be so effective in the brakes department. Plus you also get action on the back of the jaw (also pretty sensitive) and the poll (very sensitive). As a general rule the longer the shanks below the nasal pad, the greater the nasal and jaw pressure. The longer the shanks are above the nasal pad, the greater the poll pressure.
I'm not against hackamores in principle - they do have a place for some horses.
29th Dec 2003, 04:14 PM
Another point to note is that if a horse has a strong dislike of the action of curb bits (like pelhams, for example), they may also react badly to a hackamore since it has, in effect, a curb action without a mouthpiece.
Fin, the stallion I mentioned, was bitted conventionally with a metal bit. He was backed and ridden away with the bit and was already working well in an outline when he went on loan and had his accident. When we first put him in a hackamore he started going heavily on the forehand, because of the "head down" action Lgd describes. It did take a while and lots of leg work to lighten him again - although, as I said, he did end up going very well in it.
To be honest, if a horse was unhappy with a bit I'd be inclined to try a different bit before trying a hackamore - for example, if he was unhappy with a metal bit it might be worth trying a rubber one. This is not to say bits are any better than bitless - but it is worth bearing in mind that just going bitless is not necessarily the solution to the problem.
29th Dec 2003, 06:12 PM
Each horse is an individual. You can't label a specific bit like the german hackamore as harsh because to another horse, a simple eggbutt snaffle is harsh. All bits and hackamores can be severe in the wrong hands, but in the right hands, although all bits are different with different pressure points... (I'm just trailing it here because I can't get it into words. Its in my head but I cant write it for some reason soz!!!) Ok think i gottit, they arent neccesarily that severe (AAAAAAAAAAAAAH CANT GETTIT OUT!!! very sorry:o )
Charlie would find an eggbutt snaffle severe, but something like an english hackamore would feel better and more comfortable to him. It ios impossible to label a bit as 'bad' (OK there are exceptions eg the bike chain bit, cheesegrater bit..)
And you can get hackamores that dont act on the curb, but purely on the nose, and higher up.
29th Dec 2003, 07:12 PM
An interesting website for those interested in bitless bridles is www.bitlessbridle.com. This is an USA bridle by a chap called Dr Robert Cook.
29th Dec 2003, 07:26 PM
Aaah the cross under bridle. I love those bridles! They are excellent because they push the horse, rather then pull it in the direction you want to go. I was considering getting one for Charlie but then decided the bridle plus P+P to England would be ridiculous
29th Dec 2003, 08:50 PM
shaka, I know what you're trying to say and I totally agree with you - one horse might find a plain snaffle severe but go well in a bitless, while another might be the exact opposite. I think what worries me, and what I was trying to say, is that people sometimes assume that because a hackamore has no bit it is a mild bridle, which is definately not the case.
By "acts like a curb" I meant most hackamores have a similar action to a curb bit - that is they exert leverage on the nose, under the jaw and at the poll which lowers the head - not that they act on the curb. Again I agree that there are degrees, just as there are degrees of pelham, according to the length of the cheeks or shanks - but the action remains much the same however mild or harsh.
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