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Transitioning to the Hackamore
When is the right time?
How do you know if your horse is ready to advance from the snaffle to a hackamore or into a bit? It’s a question Joe hears a lot. His answer: “Try it and see.”

Chances are you’ll learn something about yourself and your horse. “A lot of times the horse will feel lighter and more responsive, especially at first.” Joe says. “So you need to ask yourself, why wasn’t he this way in the snaffle and what can I do to keep him this way?”

“It’s not just the headgear that’s changed,” Joe explains. “It’s you. You’re presenting yourself differently to the horse and you’re probably more aware of what you’re asking the horse and how he’s responding.”

Joe points out that you don’t have to stay with the hackamore, or any particular headgear. “I think it’s good to change things up. You can take what you learn, go back to whatever you were using before and see what you can do to improve on it.”
Upcoming Clinics
More dates & details at 2016 Schedule
Joe Wolter Montana Clinic Group
February 4 - 6  Dillon, MT
Horsemanship, Cow Work

March 18 - 20 Tiger, GA
Versatility Ranch Horse

March 30 - April 3  Aspermont, TX
Texas Ranch Clinic

April 7 - 10  Woodstock, IL

April 20 - 24  Aspermont, TX
Texas Ranch Clinic

May 20 - 22  Waxhaw, NC
Colt Starting, Horsemanship

June 2 - 6 John Day, OR
Colt Starting, Horsemanship
Cow Work, Ranch Roping

June 10 - 13  Fort Collins, CO
Colt Starting, Horsemanship 1 & 2

June 24 - 28  Ballantine, MT
Montana Ranc
h Clinic
Joe Wolter Montana Clinic Students
Thoughts on Choosing a Hackamore
I think a hackamore should fit a horse a lot like a cowboy hat should fit your head. It's like when you see someone wearing a hat that doesn’t fit, it just looks wrong and you know it probably isn't that comfortable either.

That's why I like a fairly soft hackamore that can contour to the horse’s nose, so that there’s no daylight or space at the corners. The only place I want space is under the jaw. The stiffer the hackamore, the softer you have to be. A soft one is a little more forgiving. Of course, I want something that's pretty to look at and that’s well made, but you can use whatever you have. Just remember your responsibility in it and that it's up to you to figure what the horse needs and how he feels about things.
-- JW
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