Angel’s Bucket Fund Receipt and The Gentle Control Hackamore

Friday is always one of those days that you just hope goes by quickly so you can start your weekend!

Yup, I agree.

So, today I’m going to make it easy on you and be light and breezy.

First, I would like to show you all the receipt for donations in memory of Angel and Gypsy who passed earlier this month at Alaqua.  So sad.  But, this money does ease the pain of all the vet bills, if nothing else.  I know Laurie was heartbroken to lose those two, especially one right after the other.  Ouch.

Thank you all for your wonderful thoughts and emails for Laurie.  I’ve got to say that the response was overwhelming!  Truly.  You all outdid yourselves emotionally and really showed your support.  You are a great group, for sure…

From Laurie:  “What wonderful people.  Thank you!!!!”

Receipt for Alaqua in Angel and Gypsy's honor.




While I was strolling around the Horse Expo last weekend, I saw this item.  It is called the Gentle Control Hackamore.

The Gentle Control Hackamore

Now, I’m not a Western rider and my horses don’t know how to neck rein.  But, I do like things bitless if they work well.   I especially like them if they are pretty/handsome.

This contraption stopped me in my tracks.

It was very odd yet tempting… like green frosting or edible teacups.

Basically, it is a shaped plate that sits behind the horse’s chin.  It is attached to the reins and the headstall and the upper part of the plate has a flat edged cup.  If the rider neckreins, the the plate tilts in the direction of the rein and the cup catches the chin and guides the horse one way or the other.  If the rider pulls back, the reins pull the plate back which puts pressure on the top of the plate against the chin and on the noseband.  That’s it.

The release is instant.


I don't neck rein but I still thought this was a very interesting idea...


I was on the fence with it because the plate looked like it could feel severe against the chin bone of the horse.  I played with a few of the hackamores and tried to make it hurt me (or my finger, to be exact).

It pinched but didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would.  I would call it a firm discouragement if you yanked on it.

I asked the maker if he ever put sheepskin on the plate to ease the bite.  He said, “Yes” – but none of the display models had it.  I asked him why not and he said that he used to make a little fitted sock for the plate but no one used them.

I would.

He told me that people at therapeutic riding schools use these all the time because you can put a lead rope through the catch and lead a horse – which keeps the plate away from their chin – while the rider does whatever he wants with the reins.  The horse never feels it.


Anyway… I was interested enough to ask him if I could take one home to demo on Finn.

He was very agreeable and didn’t even ask for money or a credit card or anything.  He just rigged one up (with a gorgeous headstall, I might add…) and gave it to me.  Just like that.

Nice.  Nice guy.

This kinda shows it... but this looks more industrial than it really is... and I like the versions without the cable.


OK, well, I’m a nimrod.  I have no idea why I thought Finn would be able to neck rein without ever being taught how.

Silly me.

I set him up and put the hackamore on – he didn’t mind it – and I got on and tried to make him understand this weird thing on his face.

He didn’t.

I didn’t know how to teach him.

We were like Laurel and Hardy in the arena.

But, even though he had no idea what I wanted, it didn’t seem to hurt him.  And, it did make him kinda move around but not exactly how I intended for him to move.

We trotted and did several turns, but it wasn’t pretty.

Still, he didn’t fling his head or refuse to move or turn around and give me a dirty look.  He was OK with the thing… it was ME that was the issue.

Here it is on Finn. You can see the shaped sides and how it directs the head, basically. The clips are my reins.


I swear, all the photos on the website are not really very explanatory – certainly not as obvious as when you have the plate in your hand.  If you are holding it,  it makes perfect sense.  I should have taken a pic when I had one in my hand.  Oh well.

Here is the website for you to poke around for yourself.

Finn doesn't care at all... I put the fleece on the noseband. It doesn't come with that.


So, I gave the hackamore back to the nice man and told him that I had failed but the piece was very lovely.

He was sad and a bit flumoxed that I didn’t know how to neck rein at all… he kept saying how easy it was.  So, I guess I am not too smart in that area.

For me, I just want you Western riders to know that this exists.

Maybe it is something that would really help round out your tack room.

I thought it was interesting.  I want you to let me know what you think…

From the website


What I found even more interesting was the ‘scrapbook’.

Yup, the maker of the Gentle Control Hackamore had this old scrapbook of his father who invented this device.  His father, in the 50’s, created this hackamore and used it on their horses at their ranch.

The son thinks the father made ‘about 8 of ’em’.

I loved that.

Anyway, the family used these hackamores ALL THE TIME.  In fact, other family members would beg him to make one for them on holidays and things like that.  They never broke and they lasted forever.  He said their horses never, ever wore a bit.

Towards the end of Granddad’s life, Son decided to ask for the recipe, as it were.

And he got it.

It was then that Son decided to make it easy on them all so he created a fabricated version.  Son got the patent and the rest is history.

From what son tells me, he sells quite a few…

The booth was really pretty.  I swear he had some of the prettiest headstalls there.  Really.  Nice.

Anyway, give it a try and let me know how it works on a real neck reiner… I’ll be sure to tell Finn!  ;)


HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!


CLICK to help Itsuko, our June Bucket Fund mare.




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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

2 comments have been posted...

  1. Sheryl

    I LOVE the Gentle Control Hackamore. It’s a the only thing I use for trail/limited distance riding. I have used it about 4 years, and tell everyone about it. It does teach the horse to neck rein without even realizing you are training them. My horses love it. I it is gentle but still gives great control. It was the only thing I could use to get a horse I once had that wouldn’t even respond to a severe bit (he’d push through everything else but would respect the GC) .

    This is the one piece of tack I refuse to compromise on. After getting use to using it, I don’t feel like I communicate with the horse well with a snaffle. I also feel I have to be heavier handed with a bit in order to get the same response/control. I start my horses in them and don’t ever have a need for a bit.

    I’m a forever GC user and won’t accept anything less for my mustangs since they deserve the best.

    Additionally, Howard and Lalie provide customer service that is as great as their product!

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