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Cross-Country in a Hackamore with Cristina Barbour

Cristina Barbour, who operates Echo Hill Eventing with husband Curtis in Shelburne, ON, was having ongoing bit issues with her 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Rather Loud. Horse and rider have been much happier since Cristina started riding him in a hackamore last year. A hackamore exerts force on a horse's nose rather than its mouth, and a curb chain or strap presses behind the chin. The shorter the shank, the less the pressure; curving shanks are less severe than straight shanks; and wider nosepieces are less severe than narrow ones. Cristina talks about her experience with a hackamore: Rather Loud (Larry) has a really sensitive mouth and even without pulling much on the reins, he'd develop little cuts on the left side of his mouth and wouldn't want to turn in that direction. I tried elevator bits, ports, even a Myler combination bit with a nosepiece, but nothing worked. Kyle Carter…

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