Disclaimer: In posting this in no way do I believe that I know it all or am trying to say that. Experience is a wonderful teacher and you will find what works best for you and your horse as you go along. However, I thought someone using a hackamore for the first time might appreciate this video!
The hackamore is an exciting time in a horse’s training. You feel like “Yes! We are doing it!” And honestly, there is something so incredibly beautiful to me about the patterns in the rawhide that it makes my heart smile.
However, if you don’t use one properly you might as well ride your horse in a halter. If your horse is not responsive and you are not quick in your release and good with your timing, you will have a very dull horse, very quickly. Don’t be afraid to ride your hackamore horse in the snaffle bit occasionally to remind him of what he does know.
I like my hackamores to have a shorter noseband, anywhere from 7-7.5 inches long. Also, make sure to check your horse after your ride to make sure that the body of the hackamore isn’t rubbing all the skin off his face. You can wrap the bars with some tape if it feels too rough to you.
Stay away from cheaply made gear. The rawhide will be a very light color, the strings wide and not beveled very well in cheaper made gear and you’ll find these for around $100 in any feed store. It’s better for your horse and you to get something of good quality. A lot of those hackamores that are made down in Mexico don’t have a good core in them and will rub a horse raw. You pay for what you get! I love Bill Black’s hackamores, he cowboys so he has function and balance in mind when he builds them, not just looks.
My mentor Dick Bushman gave Adrian and me The Legendary California Hackamore and Stock Horse by Bobby Ingersoll years ago and it’s one of my favorites. If you’re interested in training horses, cowboy gear or just enjoy beautiful photos you’ll love this book. It’s a good one to have in your horse library!
Good luck on your journey and I hope this helped somewhat!
Special thanks to my friend Nicole of Dry Bridle Photography for filming this video!
xo xo Liz