Do You Start Your Colts in a Sidepull, Bosal or Snaffle?

There is a wide variety of equipment used to start horses. Here are some of the handmade options from Dennis Moreland Tack!

A. Bosal — The bosal is a noseband, that when combined with a headstall, makes up the vaquero hackamore or la jaquima. According to Luis Ortega in his book California Hackamore la jaquima was introduced into California from Northern Mexico, the great cattle empire of that time, in the 1770s. It was used by the Dons of Spain who helped colonize parts of California and start large cattle ranches. Each ranch had a caballada or band of highly trained saddle horses which were started in hackamores.

The bosal works off the nose and chin. When the mecate (rein) is pulled the bosal applies pressure to the nose opposite the pull and the heel knot rises. When pressure is released the heel knot drops instantly which releases the pressure from the bosal. Whenever the mecate is pulled it is important to pull and slack, never pull steady, until the desired movement is achieved.

B. Sidepull — Each rein when pulled individually to the side (plow-rein) applies direct pressure on the ring at the side of the jaw to bring the nose in the direction of the pull. The noseband applies direct pressure to the nose and indirect pressure on the poll when the reins are pulled back. The straps attached to the cheek rings help to stabilize the noseband and headstall and they also increase the pressure on the poll as the reins are pulled. Using a sidepull is a nice way to teach horses to move through turns without putting any pressure on their delicate mouths.

C. Snaffle — A snaffle bit has a broken mouthpiece attached to an O or D Ring or to an egg butt. When the reins are pulled by the rider the broken mouthpiece forms a V shape in the horse’s mouth causing pressure first on the corners of the mouth and then on the bars and tongue. The horse learns to give or yield to the direct pressure from the pull on each side of his mouth. A curb strap can be attached to the snaffle to keep the snaffle from being pulled through the mouth. D Ring and Egg Butt Snaffles have a wider distribution of pressure because when a direct pull is made on the fixed ring it also pulls on the opposite side of the face. Loose ring snaffles have more pressure on a smaller area of the mouth. Snaffles should always be ridden with a browband headstall so the throatlatch can keep the headstall in place.

All of these pieces of equipment are handmade and available at Dennis Moreland Tack.