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Old 10-01-2013, 12:49 PM   #1
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Doubling is an important part of riding in the hackamore. I have found no better explanation than provided by Ed Connell, with permission from a member on here Leslee Connell Schwartz, I have posted the following letter from Ed to a Mr. Dick Mason.

NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER:
In June of this year, 2011, I received a very nice phone call from R.B. "Dick" Mason of Collins, Mississippi. He had been in the cattle business years ago, while living in Arizona.

He told me that he had written to my father asking about the term "doubling." In January, 1970, Dick received a two page letter on this very subject describing in minute detail everything that is vastly important and that over the years (in my opinion) has been misunderstood.

After thinking about it for awhile, I decided to place it on my website so that the detailed explanation could be seen and better understood. Thank you Dick Mason for sending the letter to me. Hopefully, it will be of benefit to those interested in the training of the California Reined Stock Horse.

The information in the following letters is for the experienced cowboy, horseman, and horsewoman.

My father typed his letters on an old Smith Corona typewriter, and it is far easier to retype it than to duplicate or scan the original. His letter below is exactly as written.
Leslee Connell Schwartz



Livermore, California
January 13, 1970
Mr. R.B. Mason
11841 No. 67th Street
Scottsdale, Arizona

Dear Mr. Mason:

Just rec'd your letter from the Longhorn Press regarding the book HACKAMORE REINSMAN. Sure glad you like it and are able to use the information contained in it.

You mention that you are from the North country which is Snaffle bit and Grazer bit country. That must be up around Montana thereabouts. I know that is Snaffle and Grazer bit country. Years ago when this country was mostly cattle country there were some really good riders that came out of there. Rough string riders and good ones.

You state that you do not quite understand the term "Doubling". I am not surprised at your question. Over the years since the book has been out, (1952) I will state off hand that I have rec'd at least 500 letters regarding the term "doubling". The reason that this has happened is that when the book was being published, the Publisher got a little scared that it was not going to go over, as this was the first time that a book of this kind was ever published, and he kept writing to me to cut it down to a bare minimum, so I cut out too much on "doubling".

Doubling is known also as "pulling", also in the vernacular of the old time horseman was known as taking the horse's head away from him, commonly known as busting.

Doubling is the most important basic principle of all. First, It is the basis of control of the horse without which the horse could run away with the rider commonly known as stampeding. By taking the horse's head away from him around to the side, remember, it breaks the stride of the horse and he cannot run. His stride is broken with the first pull, although doubling is a series of pulls, not just one. After each pull his head goes back straight again until he is stopped and turned around the way the rider wants him to go. When doubled the horse's head is never held around to the side as he can learn to run with his head in that position and then he is on the road to being spoiled. Always let his head go back straight after each pull, and the rider can change sides too, if he does not stop quickly enough.

Doubling should be done when the horse is started, not after as then it will be a little difficult to get him coming in the right direction. It is the basis of control of any saddle horse and it does not hurt him in any way. No matter what the horse is going to be trained for he should be doubled thoroughly at the start.

Through doubling the horse learns respect for the hackamore and he will start to lighten up on it. He has to be light or he cannot be trained to stop and turn correctly. He has been doubled and he knows what the pull is to make him follow his nose around.

Then, when teaching him to stop with the light pull he pays attention to the pull. That is caused through doubling. When teaching him to turn right (correctly), he pays attention to the light pull to the side which goes back to doubling again.

I want to stress this fact to you now. Never double the horse too much or he will learn to take his head away from you and then you are in trouble, too. Double him when he needs it and then leave him alone. They all need it once in awhile. When he does not want to pay attention to your signals reach down and get him and he will respect you for it. It is better to always pull the horse against a board fence or a long barn and pull his head into (towards) the obstacle. This makes him stop short and turn short at the start.

From your letter you do not know anything about doubling a horse so you will have to learn how to do it. There is a knack to it which you can acquire after you get acquainted with doing it. I will give you the basic principle of doubling which you will have to practice to get so you can do it right.

Remember, doubling is a hard pull to the side with the rein gripped half way down to the heel knot of the hackamore. Remember this: always pull when the horse's front feet are leaving the ground, on the way up. Doing this enables the horse to get his hind feet up under him. If the pull comes at the top of the movement he will hit the ground with all four feet. If the pull comes on the way down in the movement he will hit on his front feet. At the start it is always better to double the horse while he is galloping against an obstacle. It is always better to not let the horse run too fast before doubling. If he tries it, pull him before he gets going fast.

I would like to have you remember this; we are concerned here with the reined horse only. Practically all the reined horse does is set (stop) and turn and he has to learn how to do it correctly. A smooth stop without bouncing with his hind feet up under him. A turn half way on his hind feet in the right place or he cannot do it correctly. It takes time to teach this to the horse and he cannot learn it over night. It takes time and the horse should be given time without crowding or he will spoil. There is nothing nicer to watch than a real top reined horse perform.

In order for the horse to do all this correctly his hind feet have to be in the right place or he cannot do it. Therefore, the horse's feet are positioned by the way the reins are handled on his head only. There is no other way to position his feet. For the rider to position his feet he must make the horse light on the Hackamore. He has to pay attention to the slight pull on the rein at all times.

The only place in the Western Hemisphere that the reined horse was ever made was in California. In years gone by the Southwest never made the reined horse but they made some very good self working horses on cattle. They never doubled their horses and the same for the North as the Grazer bit went up there with the early day trail herds with the Tejanos.

In the last several years I have been corresponding with a famous European horseman who is also a historian and he tells me that the only place in Europe where they break horses, that doubles the horse is in Andalucia, Spain. So that is where the Californian got the doubling through the Conquistadores in Mexico, and then up to California with the Mission Padres and the Mexican occupation of California in the 1800's. Very interesting to look back on.

Well Mr. Mason, I have given you quite a resume of the term "doubling" and I hope it will clear up some of the things that have been bothering you regarding it.

Anything else I can help you with let me know and I will try to get you straightened out on it.
Best regards,

Yours truly,

Ed Connell
P.O. Box 762
Livermore, California 94550
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:28 PM   #2
Jimmy
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What Ed Connel did was document the use of the hackamore during his day.
I think there are problems with doubling just like everything else. But one thing is clear, and that is what doubling is.
There is some confusion as to what this does, and some are trying to relate it to disengagement, because that is what is taught first at all the clinics and stuff.
I've been around long enough to see horsemanship change from the seventies to now. Some for the better , some not so much. But I do know exactly when this idea of disengagement came about. First it was just called kicking them out of gear, then moving or yielding the hindquarters, now its's called disengaging the hindquarters. Its even worse when they call it a one reined stop.Whatever you call it, in every case it is about horse moving his hind end to the side. It is taught at the clinics to get control and not get bucked off, some form of that is taught. Your get the neck to bend, you move the hindquarters over. You "disengage" the horse so he can't run off, basically. For initial control, without much force, it works great. There is a lot of value in it. There is a lot of value in knowing how your horse is traveling. Equally, more with the front, or more with the hind.
But what it certainly isn't is doubling. Ed Connel makes it clear here what doubling is. Whether you like it or not, that is what it is. And you can read Williamson's book too, Breaking and Training the Stock Horse. To him, a halter was for leading. Riding a horse in a halter would make a good hackamore man cringe.
So when this new age generation of people start going all gaga over "disengagement", I get cranky.
Ed Connel refers a little bit to the Spanish horses. Classical horsemanship was all about the engagement of the hind end, teaching a horse to sit behind, and shift the center of balance to his hind end, to better carry a rider, and be "collected".
Maybe Ed would have liked the disengagement idea, and would have found a place to use it. But it was not a part of how horses were taught then, I'm pretty sure. I might even venture to say the Ed or guys like him would have thought that disengagement was for wimps! LOL
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Old 10-02-2013, 01:11 AM   #3
Cody Deering
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Good Thoughts Jimmy
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:19 PM   #4
burnsranch
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The depression in the 1930's killed off the last of the horsemanship apprenticeships. The riding jobs in the 30's were brutal on both the horses and the riders. The traditional apprenticeship was 12 years under a master horseman, so one has to separate the skilled horseman from the horsemen that just used brute force to get the job done.

The question is was was the difference between the skills of the horseman who went through a formal horsemanship apprenticeship verse the rider who just go the job done.
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:41 AM   #5
Jimmy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burnsranch View Post
The depression in the 1930's killed off the last of the horsemanship apprenticeships. The riding jobs in the 30's were brutal on both the horses and the riders. The traditional apprenticeship was 12 years under a master horseman, so one has to separate the skilled horseman from the horsemen that just used brute force to get the job done.

The question is was was the difference between the skills of the horseman who went through a formal horsemanship apprenticeship verse the rider who just go the job done.
The problem is in how information and knowledge are passed on. You can have a school, even and apprenticeship, but if it's crap, you just produce more crap. Unfortunately, that is what "natural horsemanship" has turned into.

As far as doubling, it is something a student of the hackamore may have to know how to do. It may be rough even, but if you feel you gave to do it, do it right, and know what it is and what it is supposed to do.Every now and then, very rarely, in shoeing, I may have to kick a spoiled horse in the belly. It is crude, socially unacceptable, but there is a way to do it that is effective. Believe it or not, there is a way to do it right, if you're going to do it. Doubling is kinda like that.
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Old 10-24-2013, 10:48 AM   #6
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This is fantastic information.
I need to improve my use of the hackamore. This really improves my use of hands.

The concept of Doubling confuses me. I have read Ed Connel, Bobby Ingersonl, etc. My main concern: How much pressure do you apply, & when.
How much pressure on the "bumps" ?

I want to avoid too much or too heavy pressure but, I want to provide necessary reinforcement. I don't want to install or worsen existing braces. I want to ensure I am providing the best deal for the horse. I have been working with horses for many years. But, I find it necessary to re-think my approach.

This stuff is humbling.
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:34 AM   #7
DianeOraif
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RESPONSE TO DOUBLING: I started reading Western Horseman magazine when I was a child. When I was 13- or 14 I got Ed Connell's book, Hackamore Reinsman, and then got the third book. I was fortunate enough to be around a few good horse people, as well, and learned how to use the bosal at a young age.

I didn't have a lot of money as a young adult, and so only was able to get horses that were given to me or that were priced to cheaply because they were 3, 4 or 5 and were at best green broke if even that. If there is any way to turn yourself into a "real" horse trainer, it's by working with the ones that pose a real challenge. A 3 y.o. mustang that had almost no handling was brought to my farm. She was a cute blue roan, with some growth still needed on her. I put her on a post with the sort of rigging that Ed Connell recommended in his third book. I also hobbled her with soft rope on her feet. I ended up taking her down to the ground, blindfoling her, and sacking her out. This looks like a cruel method to some people, but after that training session, that mustang was not only far more gentle than most "gentle raised colts" yet was far more respectful. She got a lesson she will never forget, and she did it all to herself by fighing my restraints until she made a choice on her own to not fight it.

Doubling is like that. You teach them from the ground, from the "git-go" that they have a choice. They will most certainly make some wrong choices in the beginning, but then they keep trying different choices until the horse finds the choice that works.

As to JB Horse, if you have your horse already doubled from the ground, he will let you know how much you need from the saddle. It's far easier to do a hard, forceful double from the ground, so start there. Do a lot of groundwork first. If you are going to experiment with doubling, that is the place to do it.
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:41 AM   #8
DianeOraif
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RESPONSE TO DOUBLING: I started reading Western Horseman magazine when I was a child. When I was 13- or 14 I got Ed Connell's book, Hackamore Reinsman, and then got the third book. I was fortunate enough to be around a few good horse people, as well, and learned how to use the bosal at a young age.

I didn't have a lot of money as a young adult, and so only was able to get horses that were given to me or that were priced too cheaply because they were 3, 4 or 5 and were at best green broke if even that. If there is any way to turn yourself into a "real" horse trainer, it's by working with the ones that pose a real challenge.

A 3 y.o. mustang that had almost no handling was brought to my farm. She was a cute blue roan, with some growth still needed on her. The local riding club wanted to have me train her so that she could be put in a raffle. I put her on a post with the sort of rigging that Ed Connell recommended in his third book. I also hobbled her with soft rope on her feet. I ended up taking her down to the ground, blindfolding her, and sacking her out. This looks like a cruel method to some people, but after that training session, that mustang was not only far more gentle than most "gentle raised colts" yet was far more respectful. She got a lesson she will never forget, and she did it all to herself by fighting my restraints until she made a choice on her own to not fight it. By the time I was done with her, she was ready for the day of the raffle. She came to me as a wild-eyed mustang, and after only 90 days at my farm, she was kid broke.

Doubling is like that. You teach them from the ground, from the "git-go" that they have a choice. They will most certainly make some wrong choices in the beginning, but then they keep trying different choices until the horse finds the choice that works. When it's their own choice they remember it, and you can build on that as a foundation.

As to "JB Horse", if you have your horse already doubled from the ground, he will let you know how much you need from the saddle. It's far easier to do a hard, forceful double from the ground, so start there. Do a lot of groundwork first. If you are going to experiment with doubling, that is the place to do it.

Decades later, and countless horses having been in my hands, I still use this method and have found none better. A horse is a big animal, and my 125 pounds was never a match for an animal 10 times that at 1200 pounds. Doubling is meant to get inside their brains.
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