Contact information:

Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

December 8, 2008

Calling for information on hackamores to fit arabians...

Those of you who ride bitless, I'd like some feedback on a hackamore that has some "whoa" yet isn't brutal. The goal is to have her attention, immediately, but not to induce misery. I've been looking at S-Hacks from one of the distance gear sites. One is an aluminum S-Hack with a curb chain, and then a slobber strap which stabilizes the thing. The nose peice is neoprene with an overlay of Biothane. A little pricey at $75, but horse stuff in general = $$$.

I have a few questions about riding with a hackamore in general. I ride two handed, using a Dr. Cook's bitless. She steers well with it, but does not respect the bridle as an aid to slow down her pace. I'm looking for a tool to get her to rate better.

Will I still be able to do a one rein stop in an emergency like I can with the Dr. Cook's?

On a turn, with a hack, do you single rein the turn? This horse doesn't neck rein, she has been taught a direct rein. Will I confuse the issue?

Someone help out the Granny!



  1. Here is a photo of the S-hack I use:

    Don't laugh - that is vetwrap on the noseband (top), and duct tape on the chain (bottom). It's been that way for years, lol. Every so often I replace the vetwrap on the noseband.

    I don't usually start a ride in that on Chief - he tends to put his nose through it and knows how to get away with 'speeding up'. I can pull him up in it pretty quick, so stopping isn't the issue with him - it's rating his speed when he is moving that can be a problem. I usually will put this on him halfway through a 50 or after the first day or two on a multiday ride.

    Some horses do better in hacks than others - I keep trying with Chief but I know that it's never going to work to 'start' him in a ride with one on the first day.

    Have you looked at vosal's? They are more severe but work well on some horses because you don't need to pull on it very often, but when you do they definitely pay attention. It allows them to eat and is comfortable for them - just be sure not to pull on it by accident.

    Good luck in your search! Country Supply has a few different models and they are fairly inexpensive.

  2. Karen,

    Is that a rope noseband or one of the fleece/neoprene setups?

    Right now the issues I'm having in the Dr. Cook bridle is rating her speed. She just totally ignores the bridle in a group training situation and her head says
    R-A-C-E! She pushes right out of the trot in three or four strides to a canter then I have to really fight to get her stopped, and we start again, and repeat that whole process all over again. I was happy to discover that she does have some go, but she is far to young to be galloping along with the front runner in a group of experienced endurance horses. We've had two group rides and she's done this both times.

    I'm looking at an S-Hack from Running Bear, don't know if you have their catalog, it is on page 24, looks just like your's with the chain, slobber strap, but the nose piece is padded neoprene.

    Do you think she's going to pull through this as well?

    What do you use on day one of a ride? Do you go with a light snaffle? ~E.G.

  3. I think she'll run through the S-hack - probably do what Chief does and push his nose through it and then you almost have to let the reins out because she can't see where she is going - they learn that real quick!

    For starting I use a kimberwicke -for some reason that works on him without having to do a lot of arguing. I posted a pic of it not too long ago in my blog.

    I've also tried hackamores with longer shanks on the sides, and that didn't work either - plus the shanks interfere with drinking or eating on the trail.

    My S-hack has the regular rope noseband with a vetwrap cover over it. I had used sheepskin but it can block their vision and is really a big heavy icky mess when it is raining.

    You may be surprised though and see that she does well in the S-hack. Maybe you can find one to borrow that you can try out?

  4. I'm going to try out a hackamore and see what happens. Surely it could be no worse than what I'm experiencing. Hoping to get some miles in on Sunday as the weather is warming to 50 degrees! I live and die by the weather *LOL*

  5. Your a brave woman! I would go to a bit. A mullen mouth or kimberwick. I have one like what Karen is talking about if you want to borrow it. Why are you hesitant about trying a bit??

    Just courious.

    Michelle Detmer