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1. Jason wrote:
, was roughly twice as long. I cut it off to its cuernrt length using a cutting wheel and a Dremel Moto-Tool and then ground it smooth so that there were no sharp edges.This last kind of hackamore has had a very positive effect on Max because the torquing action causes him to flex at his poll. With this hackamore, Max will frame-up like a dessage horse. So I am very glad that I made the change.I am going into all of this, because I think it is quite possible that the hackamore may be very effective for you. The only way to know for sure is to run the experiemnt. Obviously, if one can remove the source of the horse's issues (because of past trauma), one is much, much better off. However, I would be a bit careful about it and would not just slap an English hackamore on your horse as it will probably be too severe. I know from your question that you are very experienced, but as others may read this as well I want to emphasize that caution and good sense is in order.I don't know if you have ridden using a hackamore much before, so I will briefly describe it. For me, riding in the hackamore is no different than riding using a bit. I use the hackamore in exactly the same way I use the bit. Feathering (repeatedly squeezing the rein like squeezing a sponge) against stiffness is the same, indirect rein if the same, half halts are the same, teaching your horse to seek contact is the same, etc. I had thought that the hackamore would be very different and that I would have trouble teaching Max to bend correctly in circles and so on. This has not been the case. For the horse, the logic of the hackamore seems to parallel the logic of the bit. Overall, I have been amazed at how little difference there is.At this point, it might well be possible for us to re-bit Max. Max is a very, very different horse now than he was when I began reschooling him. We have thought about re-bitting Max because it might be interesting to try to do some beginning eventing on him, and you have to have a bit for the dressage. But right now, we are busy enough doing pony jumpers that we have not gotten around to it. Also, Max goes so very well in the hackamore and the hackamore operates so much like a bit that there seems to be little point in trying to go back to the bit.When we switched Max to the hackamore, we did it on the lunge line. I was riding and Laura was in the center of the circle with the line. As I remember, I think I left the bit (a rubber snaffle) in his mouth (on a headstall) but completely inactive for a month or two after starting to use the side-pull. The conclusion was that it was pressure on the bit rather than the bit itself that was causing him to flip out. Because we were re-schooling a horse that had done a very dangerous thing, we worked on the lunge line for 2 or 3 months (I forget now) before I rode him off of the lunge. I forget when I actually got rid of the bit completely (instead of just letting it hang inactive in his mouth), but it was early on. I have not had a bit in his mouth since, which is probably about 5 years now.In any case, if I were to change a horse over to a hackamore today, I think I would start on the lunge line just to be safe, especially if the horse was at all hot or if I was unsure of how the horse might react. Incidentally, with Max, the transition to the hackamore went very fast. As I say, the logic for the horse of the hackamore is essentially the same as for a bit, so it is not like the horse has to learn everything, or for that matter, anything, from scratch. In just a few sessions (meaning 2 or 3), you should be completely switched over.Based on your question, I have a few ideas that might be worth experimenting with with regard to your use of poles in jumping. But I am out of time right now. I will try to follow up in a day or two.Also, I would be very interested in any follow-up questions or hearing about your experiences.Regards,George Easton

Wed, November 28, 2012 @ 4:23 AM

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