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Understanding leverage i.e. hackamores

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  • Understanding leverage i.e. hackamores

    Does anyone here understand lever arms and the amount of pressure they create when used? I am thinking of some of the "western" types of hackamores that I have seen that seem quite severe. I once heard someone say something about for every inch of length in the lever, it created so many pounds of pressure. He was talking about bits though and I guess the pressure would mostly be on the curb chain and at the pole rather than just the mouth.

    It seems to me that some of these hackamores could create a great amount of pressure on the nose, under the chin and at the poll. I understand that some hackamores could actually break the "nose bone" when used harshly.

    I have been studying bits and hackamores of late and am just trying to figure out how much pressure these things might create.

    So does anyone have expertise in this area?

  • #2
    The pressure they can create is immaterial, it is the skill or lack there of, of the cowboy on the other end of the rains that determine the pressure applied.
    Charlie Piccione
    Natural Performance Hoof Care


    • #3
      My only contribution to this discussion is that Fella was ridden in a hackamore and has permanently discolored hairs across his nose. This says to me that hackamores can indeed be damaging.

      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


      • #4
        My cousin has an older gelding quarter horse and rides with a hackamore. It works just fine on him but they do little more than go up and down country roads and chase butterflies in the open fields.


        • #5
          Leverage is physics and the lever arm multiplies the pounds of force used. The arms are on two sides of a fulcrum. You can move a twenty pound object with ten pounds of force if you have a lever of one unit length on one side and two units on the other side, push down on the long side. 20x1=10x2

          A curb bit doesn't exactly work that way, you are using the arm to squeeze the bars of the horse not lift anything, but the basic concept is close enough, a long shank will create a multiple of the force applied.

          So yes, mechanical hackamores can put out a lot of crushing force.
          Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
          Incredible Invisible


          • #6
            Nearly twenty years ago our oldest daughter did a science project on the mechanical advantages of different training equipment...must have took as she is now a teaches Physics and is the department head

            The "Horse " (Pinocchio, named so because he was a wooden headed thing) had springs in its head with a measurement gauge attached ...she is holding a fish scale to messure force required


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by clanter View Post
              Nearly twenty years ago our oldest daughter did a science project on the mechanical advantages of different training equipment...must have took as she is now a teaches Physics and is the department head

              The "Horse " (Pinocchio, named so because he was a wooden headed thing) had springs in its head with a measurement gauge attached ...she is holding a fish scale to messure force required

              Wow! That is awesome. Smart girl!

              Do you have any idea how much pressure the various set ups created?

              I think people don't always think about this.

              "ReSomething": Thanks, this is what I was looking for!

              I have always thought people and their horses would be much better off if they just worked on getting the horse to give to pressure and soften it's poll and neck from the ground before they tried this long lever armed hackamores and bits.

              I use hackamores a lot. I often take the bit out of a horse's mouth as I am reschooling them then put it back in once I have developed better responses.

              I have also done a lot of bridleless riding as well.


              • #8
                When you talk "hackamores", you need first to make an important differentiation between "mechanical" hackamores and cowboy, bosal, side pull type hackamores.

                I think that, since you are talking leverage, we are then talking ONLY about "mechanical hackamores" here.

                Yes, those are using a nutcracker effect to talk to the horse, are meant to put some more control directly thru the head, but not that good for lateral type aid.

                Many playday competitors use those to train and compete.
                One they like is the S hackamore, that in itself has one of the more mild leverages.

                Mechanical hackamores are valued by many as a tool for more whoa, understanding you don't have as much fine control with them, especially lateral, direct rein effect.
                When some try to use a mechanical hackamore with two reins and direct rein with it, the shanks will twist and turn in any one way, poke here and there and not be of much use.

                The more shank length you have, the tighter the curb chain or strap, the more leverage you will exert and for some horses that are well patterned already, but need a bit of rate, those mechanical hackamores work well to do just that.

                All kinds of hackamores are "just one more tool".
                They are best used where that tool is appropriate.
                They are just as fine a tool, or abusive one, as the hands and minds behind them make use of them.