I often get the question about riding horses in the hackamore or the snaffle bit—when and why. With my personal experience, as well as my observation of other riders, I’ve seen situations where either one can work best, and situations where either one has been worse. And, basically, to a great extent what it comes down to is that it’s not the equipment—it’s the hands using the equipment.

A lot of times people do things because it’s what Grandpa told them. If they learn something from one mentor and are afraid to look outside the box or if they’ve been told not to look elsewhere for direction, they are going to do things one way—and one way only. Personally, the horse is my teacher. If anyone from any discipline can guide me to a better way to communicate with my horse, I am all ears.

Obviously, there are plenty of people that believe a snaffle bit is the better tool because more people ride in the snaffle bit on young horses. I believe that the general population, as well as the average horseman, should ride with the snaffle bit for a variety of reasons. But, I do believe that riding a horse in a hackamore makes a better horseman out of you because it puts more responsibility on developing good hands and less responsibility on the horse submitting to the pressure of the sn