Hackamore

I got to the barn on Tuesday all fired up to try out Connor's new mouth, and then I realized...

I took his (one and only) bridle home to clean it and forgot it there.

And then I remembered the post that Karen at Not-So-Speedy Dressage had posted earlier that week about bitless bridles, which inspired me to ride him in the barn's hackamore. So, Karen, this is one part an answer to your post, and one part "Well, shit, my bridle is 38 miles away!"

Had to borrow someone's horse-sized reins, haha.

I'll start by agreeing with the scientific folk out there that this is a poorly constructed experiment, because I changed two variables: bridle -> hackamore and teeth unfloated -> teeth floated.

That said, it was the best flat ride I've had in about a month, and the most he's worked over his back and sought the "bit"? in probably two months.  I know it could well be that his teeth can now slide past each other properly, but the feeling of him pushing into the hackamore and really truly being between my inside leg/outside rein was mind boggling!  He was light in the bridle and obedient to the slightest of half-halts, and his lateral work was bangin'.  It was better "real Dressage" than I've gotten in a very long time.

The coolest moment came when I realized I had too much inside rein on a 20m left circle.  I thought about my trainer's command to "pet his neck" with my inside hand.  The second I gave with the inside hand, he started licking and chewing the not-bit, and I felt him come more into the outside rein.  I am in no way a hackamore convert, there are things I need to convey with a bit that I can't in a hackamore, but it was a neat experiment and a great reminder that the bit does NOT create connection/being on the bit by itself.

I'm dying with curiosity about tonight's lesson, with a bit.  I imagine the teeth will continue to make a difference, but the question is, how much?

SPRING!

MORE SPRING!

18 comments:

  1. I love the 'pet his neck' idea. I will totally use that now!

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    1. Awesome! It's really effective for me. Especially to the left I tend to over-use the inside rein, and she wants me to prove that he will still carry himself even with less inside rein, so she has me give forward and pet like the middle of his neck every so often.

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  2. That is cool. I am interested to see how a lesson with the bit will go.

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    1. Me too, and we're doing XC schooling for it too. Double excited.

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  3. I really hate the phrase "on the bit" since it gives people the wrong idea. Riding in a hackamore shows that point. I used one on Barry because he had Melanomas in the corners of his mouth. But he would find a connection even if I used a halter and lead lines. Very cool you saw a difference though.

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    1. That's interesting that you used it for a medical reason. Yeah, definitely cool to feel that difference.

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  4. Oh interesting! I think hackamores have a lot of really great purposes. Glad he liked it.

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    1. Thanks! I think so too. Fun change of pace, anyway.

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  5. I have ridden hue in a hackamore. I loved it. He was so soft when I jumped in one. That said the cheeks of my bridle were sliding in his face which I think bugged him. They make peices of leather to go under the through lower than a throat latch (attached to the cheeks) that can fix that issue though.

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    1. Interesting, so that would make it like a Micklemamore? Haha. That's a good point, I don't think this one did that to Con, but I'll pay closer attention if/when I ride in one again.

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  6. Love that this went so well for you!

    I think Henry would never stop if I rode him in a hackamore lol ;)

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    1. Haha, nahhhhh. Well, maybe, I haven't met Henry! Con was so light in it though, the slightest touch and he stopped.

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  7. Those reins... looks like someone was trying on Daddy's shoes or something! LOL!!!

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    1. Hahaha well, they actually did belong to the one guy on the eventing team, who owns the tallest horse in the barn, and I own the shortest horse in the barn so yeah. Haha. He was the only person around and I hate borrowing without asking.

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  8. I rode a big, willful mare in a Dr. Cook bitless bridle once and she was great. She moved like she was on the bit even though there wasn't one.

    Having newly floated teeth can make a big difference too.

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  9. I really really now want to try hackamore, they are just so expensive to buy and no one I know has one that I could try on :/ Glad it made such a big difference to Connor too, can't wait to hear your lesson report! :)

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  10. Sometime I would like to experiment with a hackamore with Loki and see what he thinks.

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  11. Since that is a mechanical hackamore it works on the poll, so it is always going to make your horse more round, but it is definitely not "accepting the bit". If the horse was going the same way in a bitless bridle that does not work on the poll, then you would have a true connection. These hackamores work similarly to a pelham, with added pressure on the nose. They tend to create a false frame.

    I bet the new teeth will really help once the bit is back in his mouth!

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