Hackamores function by applying pressure on the nose and jaw rather than on the mouth like a bridle with a bit. They are especially useful on young horses that are transitioning from deciduous (baby) teeth to permanent teeth but horses of any age can be ridden in a hackamore.
Texas-style hackamores came about when cowboys combined characteristics of the vaquero style hackamore (with bosal) from the west with the sidepull style hackamore from the east, both having been used in North America since the 1700s. The vaquero style hackamore functions by applying pressure on the nose and jaw when the rein, called a mecate, is pulled. Because of the weight of the heel knot, this pressure is quickly released when the horse gives to the pull or when the rider releases pressure on the mecate. The eastern style hackamore has reins attached to each side of the nose thereby allowing a direct rein (plow rein) aid without a snaffle. Texas hackamores combine the properties of both the pull and release of the vaquero style hackamore with the sidepull aid of the eastern style hackamore in various ways.
Texas-style hackamores have a noseband, a headstall with fiador and a hackamore rein. The nosebands are made of rope in various degrees of stiffness. A stiffer rope gives the horse a stronger signal than a softer rope. This variety makes it easy to find a hackamore that will work well on almost any horse. Some hackamores are available with rawhide braid covering the rope noseband. The rawhide increases the strength of the signal. The fiador helps to stabilize the headstall and will prevent it from accidentally being pulled off. Hackamore reins are also made of rope and come in a variety of textures and degrees of stiffness.
The hackamores made at Dennis Moreland Tack range from those with extremely soft nosebands all the way to those with very stiff nosebands. Several hackamores are made with hand braided rawhide covering the noseband.
The Dennis Moreland Single Rope Hackamore with Rawhide Nose is a very good hackamore for starting colts. The rawhide noseband also makes it a good transition hackamore when you need more than a rope hackamore but aren’t ready for a bit.
The Grass Hackamore with Reins is made entirely from a single piece of rope. The nose button is covered in hand braided rawhide and spliced wide at the bottom to give sidepull action.
The Soft 4 Plait Loping Hackamore is comfortable to a horse and good for everything from trail to pleasure riding. It can be a great tool to help stressed or tense horses relax.
The Hard 3 Plait Flat Hackamore gives a strong signal. The weight of the heel knot causes it to fall instantly when the rein pressure is released and this releases the pressure of the noseband providing an instant reward for a proper response.