Hackamore vs Snaffle Bit

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Hackamore vs Snaffle Bit Expand / Collapse
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Posted 7/20/2012 10:46:58 AM


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A little background first: I bought Blackjack back from an Amish guy i sold him to. I don't know what kind of bit they rode him in, but they said he was light in the mouth. they direct reined him.

When I brought him home, I put a sweet iron O-ring (I think) snaffle on the bridle and put that on him. He chewed and yawned CONSTANTLY on it. I couldn't get him to do much of anything in it because he was so preoccupied with it in his mouth. i'm pretty well convinced he didn't like it.

Now, I'm a big fan of a hackamore, and I decided to switch him over and see how he did with that. It was like a flip of the switch! I put the hackamore on him and I'd ask him to give his head, both down and flexing his neck, nose to chest, and i mean, instantly, he was doing it. it was almost like magic. lol ask him to give his head to the side, instant response.

I was just kind of wondering what people thought of starting a horse out in a hackamore. Is it possible or do you absolutely HAVE to start them in a snaffle? And if i were to do that, how do i get Blackjack accepting of the bit i.e not chewing and yawning? Seeing as how well he responds in the hackamore, I will probably just stay with that, but I just kinda wanted to see what people with more experience thought.

(sorry if this is in the wrong place. :s )

 
 
Cowgirl up!
 
"You can outrun any horse that's lookin at ya." ~ Clinton Anderson 
 
"Darlin, if he has to remove his cowboy hat to kiss you, you musta picked yerself one mighty fine fella."

Horses don't come into this world knowing what we want. Stop riding your horse like he's supposed to know what you want  ~ Craig Cameron

Start with a walk, and end with a walk  ~ Craig Cameron

Half the secret to good horsemanship is knowing what you want before you get there ~ Craig Cameron

 
 
 
Ace of Spades~ 4 yr old Tennessee Walker/Paint gelding
Post #412548
Posted 7/20/2012 10:57:46 AM


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What kind of hackamore? I started Lolly in a side pull,cause she HATED the snaffle..and put her tonge over it all the time no matter what. So I used the side pull on her, she did great with that, then went to the snaffle,and same thing.. she HATED IT, so I put a curb in her, and she was great, she liked it better, so I used that, and now i'm starting to use the snaffle.. I guess since i've used the curb on her, she'll take the snaffle idk, she is really mouthed both.. snaffle or curb, or even side pull/halter.

Post #412559
Posted 7/20/2012 10:57:49 AM


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cowgirl_up20 (7/20/2012)
I was just kind of wondering what people thought of starting a horse out in a hackamore. Is it possible or do you absolutely HAVE to start them in a snaffle?
What kind of hackamore are you talking about?  Mechanical, side pull, bosal?  Makes a HUGE difference.

The vaqueros used to start their horses in bosals.  The current tradition is to start the horse in the snaffle and then switch to the bosal and then transition to the two rein and then straight up in the bridle.  I like that progression.  Personally, I think it's important to a horse's training to be able to go in the snaffle.  But that does not mean others will not have differing opinions.

With horeses you don't have to do anything.  The addage "what ever works for you and your horse" really applies.  If you don't want to start in the snaffle, then don't.  No biggie. 

Post #412560
Posted 7/20/2012 11:04:20 AM


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ah yeah sorry. lol i shouldve specified. for me it just goes without thinking when i say hackamore, it means mechanical, and i always forget to specify that. lol so yeah, mechanical hackamore. i like other types, but mechanical is what I've always used.

so you don't think it would leave holes in his training? like, is there stuff you can only teach a horse in a snaffle that you can't in a mechanical hackamore?

 
 
Cowgirl up!
 
"You can outrun any horse that's lookin at ya." ~ Clinton Anderson 
 
"Darlin, if he has to remove his cowboy hat to kiss you, you musta picked yerself one mighty fine fella."

Horses don't come into this world knowing what we want. Stop riding your horse like he's supposed to know what you want  ~ Craig Cameron

Start with a walk, and end with a walk  ~ Craig Cameron

Half the secret to good horsemanship is knowing what you want before you get there ~ Craig Cameron

 
 
 
Ace of Spades~ 4 yr old Tennessee Walker/Paint gelding
Post #412563
Posted 7/20/2012 11:15:10 AM


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To be honest, I do not like Mechanical Hackamore, a person rode Dandy in this http://www.horse.com/item/cp-fleece-lined-hackamore/SLT731329/ and he has a bad head throwing problem.. if i'm gonna use a hackamore..then I use a bosal or side pull.. Could you post a link of what kind of Mechanical Hackamore it is? If it was me.. I would not use it.. It hink the Mechanical Hackamore are for older horses or what not.. I would not start one them.

Post #412568
Posted 7/20/2012 11:24:50 AM


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cowgirl_up20 (7/20/2012)
ah yeah sorry. lol i shouldve specified. for me it just goes without thinking when i say hackamore, it means mechanical, and i always forget to specify that. lol so yeah, mechanical hackamore. i like other types, but mechanical is what I've always used.  so you don't think it would leave holes in his training? like, is there stuff you can only teach a horse in a snaffle that you can't in a mechanical hackamore?

Personally I would never use a mechanical hackamore.  It is designed to put alot of pressure on the horse's nose with little effort by the rider and can seriously injure the horse.  You can see the effect it has on your horse by putting on you.  Bend your elbow, pull the hackmore up your arm, hold the headstall and then have someone pull the reins.  Although I have never used a mechanical hack, after feeling that, there is no way I'd do so now.   If I went bitless, it'd be in a bosal (I've never used a side pull, but I can show in a bosal, so probably wouldn't use a side pull).

A snaffle bit is a direct rein bit (one rein at a time should only be used) designed to be used to teach the horse to bend/flex & follow their noses.  Using both reins at the same time will cause the dreaded "nutcracker" effect.  The snaffle is an invaluable tool to teach young horses what they need to know before they are graduated to curb bit, which is a indirect rein bit (both reins are used at once).  Usually horses transition from a snaffle to a loose shank curb (unless they are put in the bosal in the interim) which allows direct reining, which allows the rider to correct the horse by cues he already knows while getting the horse used to the slightly different cues (and different feel of the cues and the bit) used in the curb.  Once a horse is going well in the loose shank curb, they are transitioned to the fix shank curb. 

Personally, NOT putting a horse in a snaffle will create holes in their training.  And a mechanical hack is NOT a substitute for the snaffle.  The Mechanical Hack is an indirect rein hackamore that is not designed to be used two handed.  Do people teach horses things in the Mechanical Hack.  Sure, but I'd bet the horse will not be as soft or willing or correct (as in body position) as one brought up through the snaffle. 

Further, you cannot show in a mechanical hack (don't know about barrels, but in arena shows, cow horse shows and cowboy races, no mechanical hacks).  So if you want to show in any of these, you'd have to be in a snaffle, bosal or curb.

Post #412572
Posted 7/20/2012 11:31:09 AM


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I like hacks, but I dont think they replace a snaffle and riders need to understand that lack of bit does not always mean gentle.
Hacks are not meant to be ridden in full contact like a snaffle, youneed light hands. However I have found that it actually helps me be lighter riding in a snaffle too.
I flat my mare in a snaffle 1st level dressage, but its night and day difference.ehen I jump her in a hack compared to a bit. Its like the light switch goes off, shes light, resposive, and jumps rounder. She also doesnt blast off on the last few strides. Plus, she loves when I ride in the hsck, and you csnt argue with that.
if it works.for your horse, use it, their comfort is the bottom line. But keep working in a snaffle too, I find they work best when you switch it up. Also be aware of the delicate area under the curb chain, watch for rubbing, you may need to wrap the chain in vet wrap if you ride in a hack more than a few times aweek. Also get a fleece to cover the noseband, over time it can rub the hair out.
I also suggest google ing the subject, you will find lots of opinions. They are currently very popular with jumpers, dont know what sport you do though. sorry for all the errors, I'mon my phone.


Post #412575
Posted 7/20/2012 11:54:30 AM


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Thanks for the input so far, guys. really appreciated. As for a mechanical hack being harsh, any bit or "bit" is as harsh or gentle as the rider's hands. we have to remember that.

i swear, i am losing my mind. lol I forgot to mention that I am going to teach him to neck rein. no direct rein for me.

as much as i would LOVE to show, i unfortunately, can't. I live in a bad area for that, and i can't afford to travel for it, so no showing for me. I just mainly trail ride.

i'm looking for the best way to get him soft and responsive to me and also the best way to get him collecting himself good. can that be taught in a hackamore, or does a snaffle have to be used?

I wouldn't mind using a snaffle, but i can't figure out the best way to get him to quit chewing and yawning with it in his mouth. Like i said, he seems much more attuned to me and what i'm asking with the hackamore.

Here's a pic of my bridle. The chin strap is not a chain, it's just a strap.



 
 
Cowgirl up!
 
"You can outrun any horse that's lookin at ya." ~ Clinton Anderson 
 
"Darlin, if he has to remove his cowboy hat to kiss you, you musta picked yerself one mighty fine fella."

Horses don't come into this world knowing what we want. Stop riding your horse like he's supposed to know what you want  ~ Craig Cameron

Start with a walk, and end with a walk  ~ Craig Cameron

Half the secret to good horsemanship is knowing what you want before you get there ~ Craig Cameron

 
 
 
Ace of Spades~ 4 yr old Tennessee Walker/Paint gelding
Post #412579
Posted 7/20/2012 12:14:10 PM


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cowgirl_up20 (7/20/2012)
Thanks for the input so far, guys. really appreciated. As for a mechanical hack being harsh, any bit or "bit" is as harsh or gentle as the rider's hands. we have to remember that.
That is true in the general sense, but in practical applications bits are designed to work a certain way.  The way a hackamore is designed to work is to apply ALOT of pressure with the least amount of pull.  I can't find the articles I had bookmarked in the past, but they and talking to my trainer, it's a ridiculous ratio of the pounds of pressure a mechanical hack applies to the force being used as opposed to a snaffle or even a curb.  So while, yes, any bit can cause damage if used improperly, some bits (or hackamores) are easier to use improperly just by their design.  Because of that, I would never consider a Mechanical Hack as gentle.

cowgirl_up20 (7/20/2012)
i'm looking for the best way to get him soft and responsive to me and also the best way to get him collecting himself good. can that be taught in a hackamore, or does a snaffle have to be used?
In my opinion, I could only get this from starting in a snaffle.  As previously stated, though, other opinions may differ.
Post #412586
Posted 7/20/2012 12:20:02 PM


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okay, if I were to use a snaffle then, how do I get him to quit chewing and yawning on it? Do I need to try a different snaffle, or just get him working in it so he concentrates on me and not the bit?

 
 
Cowgirl up!
 
"You can outrun any horse that's lookin at ya." ~ Clinton Anderson 
 
"Darlin, if he has to remove his cowboy hat to kiss you, you musta picked yerself one mighty fine fella."

Horses don't come into this world knowing what we want. Stop riding your horse like he's supposed to know what you want  ~ Craig Cameron

Start with a walk, and end with a walk  ~ Craig Cameron

Half the secret to good horsemanship is knowing what you want before you get there ~ Craig Cameron

 
 
 
Ace of Spades~ 4 yr old Tennessee Walker/Paint gelding
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