Have you ever wondered how to measure your horse for a hackamore? Dennis Moreland, owner of Dennis Moreland Tack, says it’s one of the most common questions he gets. “It’s also confusing just where on the nose to measure” says Dennis. In this tack tip we’ll focus on measuring for a Texas style hackamore with a hackamore rein. There are many varieties available but the technique will work for any Texas style hackamore with a noseband and heel knot.
A hackamore needs to fit well so it can function correctly. There needs to be enough space between the noseband and the nose so the horse can breathe comfortably and chew. This space also allows for a slight release of pressure to occur when the reins are dropped. This release of pressure also acts as a reward for the horse when he brings his head into position for collection as he is driving forward from behind. Hackamores are great tools to use in the training for collection because they work with a pressure and release system, just as a bridle does, but without the bit.
When the hackamore rein is pulled the heel knot moves up as pressure from the noseband is applied to the nose. When the rein is released; caused by either the horse moving his head into a more lateral position or the rider releasing the pressure (or a combo of both) the heel knot falls. As it falls the pressure is released on the nose. All this relies on the hackamore fitting correctly.
Follow along in the video to learn the simple way to measure your horse for a hackamore. You’ll need a lead rope that’s approximately ½ inch in diameter (twine and string don’t work well because they get too tight on the nose while you’re trying to measure) and a marker.
Place the lead rope around the nose where you want the hackamore noseband. Although this is personal preference a good choice is half way between the point of the eye and the bottom of the nostril. The bridge of the nose supports the hackamore here. It isn’t too low in the sensitive area of the nose and it isn’t too high where it can’t function correctly. Mark a line on the lead rope where the 2 lengths meet under the chin. This is where the heel knot begins. Since the hackamore rein will be tied right in front of the heel knot you want to make sure you have enough length to accommodate the rein. There should be space between the edge of the rein that is closest to the chin and the chin. After your lead rope is marked lay it out flat and measure between the marks. This is the size hackamore you need.
Hackamores are the first tool of communication used on young horses in many training programs. A lot of horsemen and horsewomen find their horses work better in a hackamore regardless of their age or level of training. Dennis Moreland has been making hackamores for horses by hand for more than 40 years. “They fit like they are supposed to and respond to the pull and release of the rein smoothly and instantly”. Please call us at 817-312-5305 with any questions.
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