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Old 29th Dec 2003, 02:10 PM
showjumperchick showjumperchick is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: melton mowbray, leicester
Posts: 301
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.
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Old 29th Dec 2003, 02:56 PM
Lgd Lgd is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Sunderland, UK
Posts: 4,870
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.
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Old 29th Dec 2003, 03:14 PM
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chev chev is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Location: right here, right now
Posts: 10,054
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.
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Old 29th Dec 2003, 05:12 PM
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shaka shaka is offline
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Manchester
Posts: 5,344
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 )

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.
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Old 29th Dec 2003, 06:12 PM
doris doris is offline
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: essex
Posts: 1,322
An interesting website for those interested in bitless bridles is This is an USA bridle by a chap called Dr Robert Cook.
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Old 29th Dec 2003, 06:26 PM
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shaka shaka is offline
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Manchester
Posts: 5,344
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
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Old 29th Dec 2003, 07:50 PM
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chev chev is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Location: right here, right now
Posts: 10,054
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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