Hackamore Style Notes


There are countless different styles and types of bosals available, and quality will vary as much as design. The bosal should have a balanced feel, some give in the cheeks and a shape that conforms well to a horse’s face. A well-made bosal will be skillfully constructed, symmetrical, and have smooth and uniform braiding. Wide, loose plaiting is less expensive, but it will have a rougher feel against the horse’s face than a smaller and tighter weave. The choice between rawhide and leather will depend on your horse’s sensitivity, as will the degree of stiffness. As a general rule of thumb, a heavier bosal with more “thump” works well for a heavier horse, while lighter horses do well in a bosal with more give. 

The bosal’s contours affect the distribution of pressure, as well. A teardrop shape will make more contact through the cheeks. While that might be suitable for a narrower face, an oval shaped bosal is a better match for a larger horse. 

One thing a hackamore shouldn’t be made of is metal. A bosal with a metal core is heavy, unbalanced and unyielding, a device of intimidation, not communication. In addition, a “mechanical hackamore” isn’t a hackamore at all. It works off leverage and presses into the horse’s nose, chin and sides of his face simultaneously.

Choosing an appropriate good-quality hackamore might set you back a few dollars, but you’ll see the payback in your horse’s performance.

Back to Hands-on Hackamore Training.

Subscribe now

Previous article
Next articleHorseChannel Newswire
Dale Rudin is a Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA)-certified riding instructor, welfare-centered trainer, rehabilitation specialist, saddle fitter, and certified equine nutritionist. She is a founding member of Force-Free Tennessee, an animal advocacy organization that promotes humane, low-stress training and handling of all animals. Dale's No. 1 goal is to create joyful experiences for horses and the people who love and care for them. She uses compassionate, reinforcement-based training methods that reduce stress and benefit the horse both emotionally and physically, and specializes in restoring health and wellness to horses with mild to severe physical, emotional, and behavioral issues. Dale offers instruction and consultations in person and online. She accepts horses for training and rehab at her farm, Lyric Valley Ranch in Santa Fe, Tenn., which is also the home of Pure Joy Horse Haven, a sanctuary for traumatized and abused horses (purejoyhorsehaven.org).



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here