A Few Thoughts on Hackamores

Story and photos by Leslie Desmond Published in the June 1996 issue of The Trail Less Traveled

This article is an introduction to a five-part series of articles teaching you how to prepare your horse for the bridle and offers a few thoughts on hackamores. The first article in the series is "Preparation of the Bridle Horse."

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Feel that is developed in a halter will later be applied--and understood--when the horse is placed in a snaffie bit, rawhide hackamore or bridle.         

Take time to learn an approach that combines timing and balance with reciprocal feel between you and your horse. You'll share the pleasure with your horse, but the pride will be all yours.

8b73607fe9The traditional hackamore (shown here) is made of 5/8" 8-plait braided rawhide "bosal" (the actual nosepiece). The "hanger" attaches on either side of the bosal and turns behind the horse's ears. Beware of look-alike bosals with a steel cable core. They defeat the hackamore's purpose.         
f3e1e9f8c8This is a mechanical hackamore with a chin chain. The nosepiece is made of preshaped, latigo-covered metal. When pressure is applied, the rider's weight is leveraged against the lower jaw at the chin groove as the chain tightens. This configuration was designed to give the human greater power and does not promote willingness, suppleness or softness in the horse.

Be sure to read the series of articles following this, starting with "Preparation of the Bridle Horse."