Side Pulls, Hackamores, Rope Nose-band Hackamores
- November 8, 2016
- Lynn Kohr
Side pulls, hackamores, rope nose-band hackamores…It might be time to make a change if your horse gets uncomfortable with his bit. First, lets ask what would cause your horse to suddenly be uncomfortable with his once favorite bit?
These are the top three major causes for definite and sometimes dramatic changes in your horse’s demeanor towards his mouth and bit.
a. Caps: 2 ½ years and 3 ½ years of age, horses shed their baby molars, Deciduous Molars. These can be uncomfortable until they shed.
b. Hooks and sharp points on teeth. Can develop at any age. These are worsened by poor mouth conformation.
a. Cut tongue.
b. Sore corners of the mouth or the Commissure of the lips.
a. Poor introduction to a bit.
b. Poor use of a bit or the use of an inappropriate bit.
Regardless of the cause, if your horse is suddenly uncomfortable with his bit: pushing through your hands violently, running off, getting uncharacteristically hard or frantic, switch the pressure to his nose for a change.
With any change, start on the ground introducing the side pull to your horse. Show him to flex side to side with gentle bumps until he gives to the slightest pressure. Do your ground work as if he was haltered, ask him to move around you softly and lightly and then disengage his hind end. All of this teaches him to give to a new point of pressure and given any past of ground work in a halter, a familiar pressure.
There are several choices in side pulls or hackamores. Choose the one that best fits your hands and your horse’s conformation and softness. The side pull with no leverage or shanks will give you the least amount of control. Here are several different kinds.
I take time and educate each horse I put in a side pull so that eventually they ride in it soft and flexible, as if they had a bit in their mouth. I can shape, collect, soften, stop and move forward just like in my favorite bit. A side pull does give the hands of the rider quite a bit more leeway and if their horse is overly sensitive, it provides a buffer, whereas a bit does not.
About Lynn Kohr
I am a barrel and pole horse trainer, giving springtime barrel racing and pole bending clinics and workshops, competing in barrel racing and pole bending futurities while marketing our horses for sale. I am a Mom of 3: Sage, Cedar, and Stratton. And wife of...