Most people find it really hard to believe that my OG OTTB prefers a hackamore over anything else when it comes to jumping. Of course, only in stadium-boy needs a bit out on XC...but regardless, people used to be stunned we could skirt around jump classes and win them with a *gasp* hot OTTB and a hackamore.
Suck it, haters.
I discovered Yankee's preference for the hack by accident on day while on a trail ride. There were logs on the path and I noticed that he jumped them so much better than usual, and was lighter and more responsive than with a bit.
Then I tested it over actual stadium fences and it was an earth shattering discovery. Now, I prefer he never be jumped over rails without it and I am lucky V trusts my judgement and uses my tack.
|Double thumbs up for hackamores|
I have been thinking about trying it with B for some time now since he seems like one of the horses that quite literally just hates bits. He is always fussing, licking, tossing and trying to spit it out. I've known a few horses like this, and while they can never be competed legally in dressage, they are lovely riding horses in a hackamore.
I was resisting for a few reasons...
1) I really didn't trust him while jumping yet to not bolt and then have no brakes. Sure, to some horses a hackamore is actually more leverage than a bit in their mouth but I wasn't willing to try just yet on my psychopants
2) I REALLY wanted to try and get him to accept the bit, especially because I was still eventing focused and you kind of need a bit to compete in dressage. Maybe one day they will allow bitless... I think I mildly succeeded too, but it is still obvious that he hates bits, period. Thankfully, I am no longer focused on eventing, so thats fine.
3) they are ugly as sin. But then again so is my tack (to most), and I love it.
So for our first two rides back after his bout with lameness, I threw a hack on and we just......hacked around. He took to it like he had been ridden in one his whole life. Some beasts don't quite understand how to respond to the turning aids, or toss their head in halt, but he loved it and was consistent and relaxed the whole time.
|Trying it out in the open for the first time.|
I decided to try it for real over fences. Sucked it up and gave in to what I knew would probably work for my dragon.
I popped him over a few low fences and we learned how to half halt again. He REALLY didn't like it at first; I think the leverage action was too much when he was spazzing out upon landing. But I kept my hands soft and focused on slowing his gait with my seat and other aids and he caught on that I wasn't going to inflict pain on his mouth bars or any part of his face.
|Casually stepping over 2'3|
|Maybe one day my position while jumping him won't suck|
|listening and listening CALM|
It was so humid, that after 15 minutes we were both soaked, so I kept the session short and the fences super low. B improved with every round we negotiated. I could really feel him relaxing and not being so spazzy after each fence (where he tends to rush) and really sat back and slowed with the hackamore.
|Hind end power|
Yesterday I kept the hack on and just flatted him outside and he was lovely. Through the contact, forward, springy and responsive....better than he ever has been with a bit. #Revolutionary
I kept the ride short again because we are heading to a jumper show (last minute planned) today for some schooling opportunities. The show only goes up to 2'6 so I figured this would be a fun way o test out my theory & its not that far away.
Both the boys will be going and I am really excited about it. I was sidelined for what seemed like forever and I am lucky he bounced back so quickly and with such fervor! I hope Yankee keeps his feet off the rails today (lazy over small fences) and that B continues to improve with his newfound favorite thing!