A hackamore is a type of bridle without a bit. It is designed to control the horse via pressure points on the nose and chin, instead of using pressure in the mouth like a bit does.
The hackamore is derived
from a Spanish tradition, and thus more often seen in western
events, although they are also seen in show jumping, eventing,
and endurance riding.
The bosal is a mild and "true" hackamore, meaning it does not work off of leverage. It balances on the horse's nose and uses pressure on the nose and jaws to direct the horse. It is often used on young horses because it is very mild. The bosal consists of a thick, stiff noseband with a knot at the bottom where both reins attach. The reins on a bosal are traditionally called mecate, and are often made of horsehair. Even though it is mild, a bosal is best used by an experienced horseman with light hands.
The mechanical hackamore is sometimes not considered a "true" hackmore because it works off of leverage.
It consists of a stiff
rope or leather over the nose, with two metal shanks, and a chin
strap or curb chain. Like a curb bit, the severity of the hackamore
will increase with the length of the shanks.
The side pull is a very
mild hackamore which functions much like a halter with a lead
rope clipped to each side.
is a simple hackamore
that consists of a loop of material over the nose and reins that
connect directly to the side. It uses direct pressure to control
the horse, not leverage, and thus is very mild. The noseband is
often leather and has a strap that goes under the jaw of the horse.
Because a sidepull is very mild, it is good for inexperienced
riders so they do not injure the horse's mouth.
Some riders feel the
hackamore is less harsh because it does not involve pressure in
the mouth, however a hackamore must still be used with care. Hackamores,
if used improperly, can cause just as much damage as a bit can.
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