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!!!!”
THE GENTLE CONTROL HACKAMORE
While I was strolling around the Horse Expo last weekend, I saw this item. It is called 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.
SO I CHECKED IT OUT
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.
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.
FINN WORE IT
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.
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.
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.
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.
I WANT YOU TO KNOW IT EXISTS
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…
EVEN MORE INTERESTING
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!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.