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Old 02-04-2013, 11:24 AM   #21
drgrimmett
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I am so new to this that I probably have no business commenting, but let me at least share what I've found from my hackamore journey this past year.

I come from a background of showing, hunt seat and saddleseat and "head set" was the name of the game. Capturing and holding your horse's head in place was an important aspect of a good ride and a blue ribbon.

Letting go of that mentality has been a huge transition for me. Riding with the hackamore has taught me how to LET GO and I know my horses are happier with it. I put my 10 year old show horse in a hackamore last spring and did all my schooling in the hackamore. Then I would put the bit back in for a show after not practicing with it at all and I couldn't believe the difference in my horse. The hackamore taught him self carriage.

I've ridden under instructors who have given me a bunch of conflicting advice this past year about what I should do with my 5 year old hackamore horse. I have heard everything from drive them up into it, to go back to a snaffle to get more break at the poll to stay off the face completely until they figure it out. I imagine it depends on what your end goal is, but I've gone with staying off of him. He has naturally gotten collected and soft through lots and lots of backing, and transtition work and has found a nice place to carry his head. When I forget and start hanging on him more than I should he reminds me and completely quits listening to the hackamore at all. It's such a wonderful tool to help teach the rider to teach the horse how to feel back to him.

Anyway, the point of all that rambling is that I tend to think that "head set" has no place in a discussion of making a hackamore horse. The very term (at least in my head) implies forced flexion and capture without the full body collection that we are after.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:11 PM   #22
Rex Easley
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Hackamore headset to me is where the horse finds the neutral point of balance in the hackamore. This is the place where over time a horse will find and learn to stay. This position is where the hackamore will hang straight down from the poll and have the least amount of pressure on the nose. It is the rider who will create the lift in the reins to help the horse to find this place.
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:57 PM   #23
Corry
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Thank you for this interesting thread. I found in it a lot of issues addressed that I'm currently thinking about. May I, please, ask a question with regard to how to foster the horse finding the neutral?

To what extent do you mean the size of the hackamore you start a horse with is crucial for finding the neutral? I learned that in earlier times horses were started in 1 inch, 7/8 or 3/4 hackamores. Today, if I got it right, mostly 5/8 hackamores are used for starting and the most elementary part of schooling. I wonder whether at the beginning it's easier for the horse to "understand" a 3/4 than a 5/8 and hence easier to find the neutral? Or would a 3/4 or bigger overpower modern (breed, raising, etc.) horses? What size do you use for starting and the main part of training?

Happy trails
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:22 AM   #24
Mauifarrier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corry View Post
Thank you for this interesting thread. I found in it a lot of issues addressed that I'm currently thinking about. May I, please, ask a question with regard to how to foster the horse finding the neutral?

To what extent do you mean the size of the hackamore you start a horse with is crucial for finding the neutral? I learned that in earlier times horses were started in 1 inch, 7/8 or 3/4 hackamores. Today, if I got it right, mostly 5/8 hackamores are used for starting and the most elementary part of schooling. I wonder whether at the beginning it's easier for the horse to "understand" a 3/4 than a 5/8 and hence easier to find the neutral? Or would a 3/4 or bigger overpower modern (breed, raising, etc.) horses? What size do you use for starting and the main part of training?

Happy trails
Great thread. I agree very much with the two posts upstream of yours, Corry. Headeset can be a word that folks choke over. With all the gadgets in the show world like draw reins, tie downs, etc horses have been forced to pose their front ends a certain way regardless of whether or not they can find their balance without the free use of their head and neck.

Finding neutral may have more to do with balance than just the balance of the bosal. Though balanced gear is important, of course. Corry I suggest you experiment with bosal selection to see what works best for an individual horse. It can be painstaking to develop an inventory of bosals, but owning a variety can be well worth it. Even a cotton bosal can be very nice. I just finished braiding an 8 strand cotton cord bosal over a core with soft leather knots over the noseband. I tied on a cotton breaking rein and the horse seems to like it quite well.

Your horse may find neutral, if only for a moment at first. They sometimes pop right back out of it because they are simply finding their balance. Especially the young ones. Transitions, bending, and lateral work help develop the hind end and guide the horse into finding its balance. For the horse to carry itself and balance a rider on its back can take years.

One more vocabulary word to add to this discussion is "connection". The relationship of the riders hands to the horse's feet can be described as a connection. Both rider and horse can break or spoil this connection. You can have it for 3 strides and then loose it, and then seek to develop it again. There is no substitute for time spent in the saddle. I don't log nearly as many hours as I wish to, but improvents can be made in a few days, and more across a few months. It is the journey that is so enjoyable.

Aloha,
Gretchen
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:43 PM   #25
Corry
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Hi, Gretchen

Thanks for your helpful answer. I absolutely agree with everything you wrote.
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Originally Posted by Mauifarrier View Post
Finding neutral may have more to do with balance than just the balance of the bosal. Though balanced gear is important, of course.
Right. I see the hackamore and the vaquero-style bits as tools which do not work by themselves but are devices for communication with the horse. What matters is the feel and the skills of the rider. I like to compare bosals and bits with musical instruments. If someone is not a talented and accomplished piano player even the best piano would not help him to play well. But for a great piano player it makes a big difference whether he plays on a poor piano or on a Steinway piano.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mauifarrier View Post
I suggest you experiment with bosal selection to see what works best for an individual horse.
I do a lot of experiments just because here in Germany it's hard to find instructors for vaquero-syle horsemanship and also other riders with whom I could share experience. In Germany, we are still few--but the number growing--and spread all over the country. Therefore, I have to find out most things by reading and watching DVDs and, subsequently, trial and error. In fact, I think all riding is kind of experiment. The only one who can teach you riding is your horse. But other, more accomplished riders are needed to help you finding your way for riding is so complex. I think the more I can learn from others with more experience the less I have to bother my horses with experiments. I want to expose my horses only to experiments well thouroughly thought through before. This is why I'm very grateful for all input I can get

Happy trails,
Corry
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:59 PM   #26
rafterp
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Hi all! Just found this site while Googling something and looks like a great forum. I've always been kind of interested in hackamore horsemanship. I have one young horse I've been riding in the hackamore and another I'm going to start soon. Here's some pics of the horse I've started riding in the hackamore.
Sorry they're kinda big...not a techie, lol!

Here's one of him backing up.
[IMG][/IMG]
Here's one starting the turnaround.
[IMG][/IMG]

Last edited by rafterp; 05-29-2013 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 05-29-2013, 02:11 PM   #27
Baquero
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Welcome to the group! Nice looking horse!
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Old 05-29-2013, 06:29 PM   #28
rafterp
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Thanks.
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Old 07-19-2013, 02:36 PM   #29
Maria
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This is just wonderful..im so grateful i found this group..love the comment´s here. At this moment i feel like im loosing the balance with my horse.. and they told me to go back to a snaffle or change to a
billy allen snaffle with chanks .. but i dont feel happy about it .. and my horse i dont feel like he is happy about it neither ..i feel a bit lost

Gracias
Maria
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