Hackamores provide control without the use of the traditional bit. The hackamore bridle applies pressure to the nose and lower jaw to control the horse without the use of a bit and without causing interference in the mouth area. It should be used with care so as not to injure the horse's nose bone.
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The hackamore is a bitless bridle that acts on the horse's nose bone. It consists of a noseband with a padded metal part, metal levers - the suits - and a chinstrap. The reins are buckled into the suits. As it has a strong effect on the nose bone, it can easily cause pain and serious injury if the rider is too rough or clumsy. The noseband must rest on the bridge of the horse's nose, not on the nasal bone underneath. The latter is very thin and might be broken if the worst happens. Also, if the noseband is too low, you can cut off your horse's air supply. For the same reason, the chinstrap should be placed as high as possible on the lower jaw, not directly on the chin.
To ensure that the bitless bridle does not fit too tightly, there should be a finger's width of space between the straps and the horse's body.
The Californian version is a bitless bridle and very popular with western riders. It is often called a bosal, although this is really just the name for the nose piece of this bridle. The bosal is made of braided cowhide. This adapts to the shape of the horse's head due to the horse's body heat. On the right and left side of the bosal are the "nose buttons". The cheek pieces leading to the neck are attached there. Slightly thinner strands run from the buttons under the chin. The rope reins are attached to the lower part of the nose piece. These rope reins were originally made of horsehair. Today, nylon is often used for this purpose.