View Full Version : Happy Mouth Hackamore

Merry Fox
Jul. 2, 2010, 03:37 PM
I’d like to solicit opinions on the Happy Mouth Hackamore.

I have a low level event horse who does all of his schooling and conditioning work in a plain happy mouth snaffle. When we go to events/clinics I jump him in a Micklem headstall and happy mouth boucher bit—he tends to lean and root with his head without a slightly stronger bit. This combo worked well until recently when it has begun to rub his lips where the noseband crosses under the bit. I’ve adjusted the headstall every way I can but I don’t think it fits him correctly (he has a wide muzzle and thick lips). I’m considering the hackamore as a switch so that I can use a regular bridle headstall.

My questions are for those of you who use a Happy Mouth Hackamore…..

1. Does it really help with forward horses that pull and/or root?
2. Any negative side effects?
3. Is it legal for competition?

Thank you!

Merry Fox
Jul. 8, 2010, 02:25 PM

Jul. 8, 2010, 02:49 PM
Is there such a thing?? A Hackamore has no bit...so I wouldn't think so. A Hackamore is legal for jumping but not dressage.

I guess I don't understand why don't just try a regular headstall and happy mouth bit.

Or if he is pulling and/or rooting....maybe try a regular metal bit?...or make sure you are not pulling on him or forgetting to kick when he pulls;)

Jul. 8, 2010, 03:38 PM

Jul. 8, 2010, 03:52 PM

If that is it.....that is legal for jumping only. And I would say that bit looks like it would put a lot of pressure on their nose and has a lot of leverage. So I think if you are thinking about that just because your horse has a few rubs....I'd think this is too much bit. Especially for a horse that is fine with a happy mouth snaffle for his work at home...

Jul. 8, 2010, 04:00 PM
These are not uncommon in the jumper ring. I have used one on two of my horses at one point or another on my trainers suggestion. They where both extremely hot horses. These bits where not happy mouth, but had a nathe mullen mouthpiece and where much more expensive at $250 at the time. I was showing up at Spruce Meadows at the time and they sold them in their tack store.

It is a very strong bit. There is a lot of power there, even with the gentle mouthpeice, and you need to have very soft hands. I am not a big fan of strong bits, and wouldn't have used it if not for the trainers suggestion. I tend to ride everything in a plain snaffle if given a choice. I am not familiar with using a Micklem noseband, so I don't know how strong that is. I think this might be a stronger combination than you are looking for.

Jazzy Lady
Jul. 8, 2010, 04:03 PM
I ride mine in a home-made version. I have a leather western hackamore and a snaffle and I use bit converters and attach them together and use one rein.

I have a strong horse that needs to stay round in sj or else he gets strung out easily. This is what I use. It's not enough for xc, and I can be very soft in it, but it allows me to ride a nice rhythm and he doesn't back off of it.

That being said, my horse is strong. If your horse is not a strong horse and doesn't require strong aids to keep him together, I wouldn't recommend it.

Jul. 8, 2010, 08:06 PM
That is a pretty strong bit. How about a Kineton or lever noseband instead? I've had great luck with a kineton on a horse that normally went in a snaffle and just got strong on xc. When you pull on the reins it puts pressure on the nose but not LEVERAGE like the bit you're inquiring about.


Merry Fox
Jul. 9, 2010, 04:38 PM
Thanks for the feedback everyone!

I've never actually seen a Happy Mouth Hackamore bit so I wanted to get a few opinions. It sounds like it may be too much. I really like the response I get with the Micklem but I don't know how to stop the rubbing on his lips with the strap that fastens below the bit.