Grazing hackmore

Okay, here me out! :sweat_smile:

I… am lazy. Sometimes, especially when it is cold out and snowy and my horse is warm and snow free, I clamber aboard and “hand graze” from his back. Currently I take his reins off my bridle and switch them to his halter.

The easy thing would be to put clips on my reins for easy trading but I hate the look and I have a whole second bridle I do nothing with, so I’m thinking of getting a hackmore. Anyone use one for grazing? Looks like the flower hackmore is small enough to avoid interference. There’s also a side pull but every now and then he gets a bit strong when he spots a green bit of grass and it takes a second to get him stopped in his poorly fitted (for riding) halter. I can safely WTC this horse in a halter/off my seat. No need for major power in the hackmore/side pull, just curious if a properly fitted side pull would allow the extra 2% of power I’d like or, bump to teeny tiny hackmore?

Yes, yes, I know. Shouldn’t let my horse eat while riding. Shouldn’t let him put his head down/have my reins at the buckle/have no control of a large dangerous animal. Blah, blah, blah. Walk on, dear internet trainers. Walk on. cluck-cluck

I graze in a side pull and also in a straight out long shank Western hackamore with a fairly loose chin strap. Works perfect.

Because my English reins are a bit short for grazing, I have attached an old flash or Western throat latch or similar to the end of the reins. That gives me something to hold and also a built in quirt :slight_smile:

My mare will dive for ditches no matter whether you let her graze or not, so in summer I need to ride with attention and then let her graze when we find a really good patch of grass. It probably manages her naught grazing a bit actually.

Little S is a good choice

I have used a rope halter with western clip on reins. The rope halter has the knots on the nose. I think it offers a smidge more “control” than his flat leather halter. What I don’t like is that the halter tends to slide around a bit more than a bridle. I’ve been considering getting a bosal or a wee hackamore.

I’m just not very familiar with any of those types of equipment. Please do keep us updated on what you try!

Also, Warwick Schiller lets his horses graze under saddle. Just an aside so you know you’re not alone.

I have no input to the question but just wanted to say that an old friend of mine used to call this activity a “hack and snack” :grin:


I also hack and snack! Last year I did it in French snaffle w/o noseband (allows for better chewing). This year I am going to try sidepull with traditional leather noseband and sidepull with rope over nose for a little more bite. Only three more months until grass! :joy::sob:

I used to hack and snack with my first horse, either with an old styles Jumping Cavesson (modified side pull) or with a regular single jointed snaffle.

We had a deal. He did not rudely start to graze with no warning, pulling me over his withers. In return during my rides when I saw a good bunch of grass I would SOMETIMES, not always, stop him with my reins and give him the voice command “Time to graze” and loosen the reins.

When it was time to go I would say “Enough!” in a firm voice, and eventually I trained him to quit grazing right away even if he did not think he was finished with that wonderful, tasty patch of grass. That took a while to get the whole idea through his head, but once he “got it” I never had any more problems.

But he was a rather civilized horse with a wonderful cooperative outlook on life.

Hack and snack! Love it!

It does make me feel better that Warwick Schiller does it, but even if all the big trainers threw fits, I’d still do it. :rofl: My horse! My problem if he turns into a rude barger! He’s actually very polite. I wouldn’t do it if he was an arse but he stops when I tell him to and starts on my command, so I’m pretty darn comfortable with “spoiling” my horse by letting him graze while I ride. Actually, back in the day I remember John Lyons talking about using the “head down” cue to teach your horse to graze and drink on long trails.

I’m considering just starting with a side pull although the Little S @TMares mentions looks interesting. I definitely don’t need the rawhide nose piece and chain chin strap I see on a lot of them, but the all leather ones look like an option and people seem to feel they get decent unilateral movement.

@lenapesadie - I actually use a rope halter (no knots on the nose) for lunging, as it stays in place and gives me just the tiniest bit of bite when he’s trying to pull out, but the one time I tried to ride it in did not go well. No side pull loops on it, so I just tied the rope around to the chin like you see the trainers do. It didn’t give him quite enough feedback with the direct reining and mostly what he got out of it was pressure with a muddled “maybe to the left?” pull. He’s a sensitive soul and was immediately highly upset and confused and I bailed pretty quickly on the plan. Ah, well! It was worth a try!

Wrap the nose with latex and use a leather curb if you like. It’s an inexpensive option a lot of horses like for its lightweight and loose feel.

They appear to make all leather versions so no need to DIY. I can stick to my lazy roots!

1 Like

My reins have alligator clips so I just put them on the nose band, above the split. I agree that if it had purpose loops to attach reins to it would be better. That’s funny that yours doesn’t slide around. My horse has a funny shaped head (cheese wedge lol). They do make rope halters with little loops for reins, I haven’t tried one though since I suspect it will slide still due to cheese wedge.