Where’s the Bit? Part III: The Sidepull

Last week on the “Where’s the Bit?” series, Lindsay Rausch taught us about the Mechanical Hackamore. This week, we move onto the Sidepull.

Some refer to the Sidepull as “the Mechanical Hackamore without the leverage.” This means that the rider still is using the pressure points of the nose and chin, but without the “nutcracker” leverage that the Mechanical can provide.

The picture above is a Sidepull that is acting on the nose of the horse. This picture illustrates that, since the Sidepull is a new noseband and chinstrap, it can be added onto an existing bridle where the bit would snap into the headstall. The reins would then clip into the top O-ring that is visible. This allows the noseband to pull with pressure on the rein. There are styles that only pull on the noseband, which can cause the whole noseband to roll to the side because counter tension is not kept with the opposite rein. When this roll happens, it can reduce the effectiveness of the bridle.

The more common style of Sidepull uses the rein to  activate the chinstrap, thus providing a squeeze around the nose. The reins attach to O-rings at the side of the noseband, but each ring is connected to a band that crosses under the chin and is tied off on the other side. Using this style, when one rein is pulled, it pulls tension from that side of the head in a simple sliding control that allows the horse to reduce the pressure when they turn into the rein that is being pulled on.

There are many different variations of the Sidepull on top of what was covered this week. Next week I will showcase some of the different Sidepulls that are available on the market.

Here is a video that shows a quick introduction to the basic Sidepull styles that we have looked at today.

Lindsay Rausch learned to ride at a young age from her mom who had been a trainer and horsemanship instructor in a previous life. Lindsay has always been a western trail rider, and even though she has not owned a horse of her own she has always looked for any chance to get a leg in the saddle. She is currently setting up a 10-acre farm for cattle and horses. Lindsay would love to hear questions that readers have about the western world that she could research for the Horse Nation.

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