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Hackmore and Bridle Notes:

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Hackmore and Bridle Notes:

Postby OldDog/NewTricks » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:58 pm

This is the best article I’ve forund on the subject and the way I was taught by Charlie Maggini the 50's.
I'm still looking for a copy of a Movie, I've heard about, on Charli's life called "The Bridle Man". I read where many of the better known Horse Trainers brag about riding with him for a week or two. I got to ride with him off n On for Years.



MAKING A BRIDLE HORSE

A “Bridle Horse” is both a “process” and a “result”. The finished horse has a unique carriage/neck set. Not any horse can be “bridled”. Horses that flex in the 3d vertebrae are candidates. Thus the horses with desert blood are naturals and others are not.

A finished “bridle horse” horse works on “signal” not “leverage” and is therefore sometimes referred to as a “signal bit horse”. It takes five years or more to train a true bridle horse. So why would you want to do it? The answer will be easily understood by those who are practiced in the shooting sports and it is like having a custom trigger that breaks with mere ounces of pressure versus a difficult 10 lbs. You can hold such a horse in your hand like water…soft, supple, light but not on the muscle.

The most common bit in the United States and Europe is the snaffle bit which came from the Greeks to the Romans to the Europeans to the colonists on the east coast of America. By contrast, the hackamore and spade bit came from North Africa to the Moors to the Spaniards to South & Central America with the conquistadores and to Alta California with the DeAnza Expedition. Picture in your mind the time of the land grants, the Don’s, the Vaqueros and a true horse culture.

When Lewis and Clark were crossing the continent the Vaqueros of Old California were riding the finest, trigger reined stock horses the world will ever know and were roping Grizzly bears for fun. When Freemont came to California every dragoon was wounded or killed by the lance at San Pasqual in an engagement with the Vaqueros who were superbly mounted.

The “Vaqueros” were many things: reinsmen, expert dally ropers with the long reata, and skilled braiders. They could tail a cow on the run, fight bulls with the lance from horseback, and would bet their horses on how far they could slide them. They did not know what a snaffle bit was. They had a unique horse language……“Amansador” (the horse breaker), “Reinador”(the one who makes fine reined horses), “Dar La Vuelta” (translates “to take your dallys on the horn), “Testarazo” (a body blow with the horse), and “Capriole” (the movement in warfare where the horse leaps in the air and kicks out with both hind feet to rid his rider of attackers on foot).

It is said these old timers “never tightened a rein”. They rode a long time in the hackamore. They did not put a bit in the horse’s mouth until he had his bridle teeth after he was 5 years old. Only one man rode each horse. Thus the horse and rider had an affinity for each other. The horse could almost read the man’s mind. They used double reins, their legs, their voices anything but pull on the horse’s mouth.

The culture spread throughout the Great Basin of the U.S. “Vaquero” (properly pronounced as “Buc-Ker-O) became “Buck-A-Roo”. The flat hats, armitas, the long reata w/ 20ft loop, dally roping vs “hard and fast” and pride in how soft you could rope and lay a cow down to be doctored all this came from the Vaqueros. But most importantly they spread the use of the “Jaquima” or “Hackamore”, the two rein and the “Spade” Bit. This unique culture and tradition survived into the 1950s when these men who had the complete skill set began to die out. But Ed Connell wrote “Hackamore Reinsman” and “Reinsmen of the West” and Arnold Rojas wrote “Last of the Vaqueros” and Luis Ortega wrote “California Stock Horse”.

And the tradition hung on in California, Nevada and Oregon into the 1960s with such men as Tony Amaral and Dick Deller (One Man’s Opinion About Spade Bits). Through the advent of the National Reined Cow Horse Association, the hackamore gained ground with gifted trainers like Bobby Ingersoll and today there is a renaissance with men and women who can bridle a horse such as Ray Ordway, Mike Bridges, Buck Branaman, Pat Puckett, Martin Black, Richard Caldwell, Shelia Varian and more who now demonstrate their skill in that unique competition, The “Californios”. And there are some books recently published to include Vaquero Horsemanship published by Ed Connell’s daughter Leslie, in Texas that features many articles on horsemanship by Ed that were published in magazines in the 1950s-1960s and those priceless letters exchanged between Ed and Al Grandchamp.

The old way was hackamore, to the two rein, to the bridle. The purpose of the hackamore is to “make” the horse before the bit is ever introduced into the picture. The whole system is to take the horse to “lighter and lighter” signals…..so several changes of mecates (the horse hair reins used with the hackamore made from mane hair twisted in strands) by weight are made with each of the different size hackamores and bosals. When the bit is finally introduced, it is perhaps a “Mac Mouth Piece”, a “Mona Lisa” or a “San Joaquin”, working up to a true “Spade”….and the reins are never “pulled”.

This process takes several good hackamores of decreasing size (3/4, 5/8, ½, 3/8, ¼) and weight. A Hackamore is all rawhide braided with a core, a nose button, bars, and a heel knot and they are described by size, length, plait count, and bevel of the strings.
It may have a fiador (a special throat latch), and it will have the mecate reins and the whole set up is called a hackamore. The braided nose band alone is called a hackamore as well but when it is 3/8 and below in diameter it is a “bosal” not a hackamore.

The mecate balances the hackamore and thus it must be no larger in diameter than the diameter of the bars of the hackamore. A hackamore works opposite from a snaffle. Instead of being “pulled” by the corner of his mouth the horse is learning to move away from the pressure of a signal on his nose and on his jaws generated by nose button rotation and by bar signal. The principle is Signal and Release or rein/release. Q. Which hackamore is right for my horse?? Mike Bridges wants medium stiff lay in his bosals and Shelia Varian wants them as soft as possible. And Al Grandchamp with over 100 years of experience says: “It depends on the horse” (and the personal preference of the horseman).

You can train with just one good quality 5/8’s hackamore or with ten of every conceivable size (you can play golf with nothing but a #2 iron but you won’t play well). The main point is that until the horse is performing at top level in that size you DO NOT CHANGE. And if you start a horse in a snaffle (that’s the new way) you might go back and forth from hackamore to snaffle. And you might two rein with the snaffle and the hackamore. The sequence of hackamores is 3/4 to 5/8 to 1/2 and when the horse is solid in the 1/2 then you introduce the bit and a 3/8 bosal and the two rein.

Bits are a whole different topic. Let’s look at a true Spade. I won’t try to describe it as Dick Dellums has already done that very well. But I will add that Arnold Rojas wrote that “from the bar to the top of the port must be at least 3 ¼”.” The port must be at an angle so that it will signal the horse just as the curb tightens….use only a leather curb with the spade NEVER A CHAIN. Horses have different size mouths, different tongue thicknesses.We want the effect of the bit to be in proportion to the sensitivity of the mouth of that particular horse. We want no wrinkle in the horse’s mouth and two fingers between the curb and the chin groove. We want the horse to “pack” the bit (pick it up with his mouth and ‘carry it”. The secret of the spade is that the horse never learns to lean on or brace on the bit and thus never has a hard mouth. When the bit is first introduced we’ll leave off the romal (the braided reins) and just guide with the mecate and the 3/8 bosal. Then we’ll add the Romal with the Mecate in front and the Romal behind. We’ll eventually introduce Romal signals and finally place the Romal in front and the mecate behind it and signal primarily with the Romal. Finally, the mecate is removed and the horse is “Straight Up in the Bridle” but he wears a small “Bosalilo” to “honor the horse” and a get down rope to lead him.

This has been a broad overview to a very deep subject and the old adage to “drink deeply or not at all” applies. If you are interested seek out one of the men I named and become an understudy.

Copyright John M. Hutcheson, 539 Gab Creek Farm Road, Dahlonega, GA, 706-864-3690. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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“Hope I can Learn N ACCEPT”

BAR BAR 2

Postby BAR BAR 2 » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:59 pm

That was a very interesting post Old Dog. The Vaquero style of horsemanship is something that I try my best to study and get better at. When I was a kid coming up in N.E.Tx. that sort of thing was virtually unheard of. Its not an easy thing to learn, but one that is well worth the effort. Thanks for posting.

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Postby OldDog/NewTricks » Wed Jun 30, 2010 5:17 pm

An other Artical

By Kendra Santos
PSN

I didn't have the privilege of knowing Charles Maggini during his lifetime, and it didn't take much research to realize that it was my loss.

Those who did know and love him tell me he was a cowboy to the core, an extraordinary horseman long before anyone coined the catchy "horse whisperer" phrase, and a card of a character who just might actually try to pull your leg all the way off in the name of a good joke.

The man they called "Charlie," who "always enjoyed a good horse, a good dog and good whiskey," was born Aug. 9, 1894 in San Benito, Calif. And long before the PRCA predecessor Cowboys' Turtle Association was even formed in 1936, Maggini won world titles in the team roping and steer roping events in 1929. That was the first year world titles were recognized in professional rodeo, so Maggini was the first cowboy ever to win world championships in more than one event the same year. Earl Thode was that year's all-around and saddle bronc riding champ.

In the course of looking further into this legend's life, the PRCA archives turned up a hand-written letter that was personally penned by Maggini on Nov. 1, 1957. In it, he tells of time spent in his youth working at the world-famous Miller and Lux Ranch, which at that time had operations in California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Idaho.

At 21, Maggini started working for Miller and Lux in 1915, and worked in Oregon, Nevada and Utah before returning to California to serve as cattle superintendent over Miller and Lux's Los Banos Outfit in the San Joaquin Valley.

He knew horses before there were horse whisperers. He was just a cool old guy, and he knew how to get a horse to work.
— 1982 World Champion All-Around Cowboy Chris Lybbert

"We ran 36,000 head of cattle," Maggini wrote. "We branded around 8,000 head of calves each year, and we roped them, so we had plenty of practice."

Maggini roped and rode for Miller and Lux until 1928, when the operation started to sell off its ranching interests. He then served 18 months as a Quarter Master Sergeant for the Remount Service up in Washington during World War I. Maggini was in charge of training horses for the U.S. Cavalry unit at Camp Lewis.

"I won the single steer stopping and team roping championships in 1929," his letter continues. "Although I never made rodeoing a full-time career, I always continued to take part in it throughout the years. My first rodeo was in San Jose, California in 1913, (and I competed in) bull riding, bronc riding and roping. I also have a very strong interest in breaking and showing working cow horses."


Maggini sported tails and a top hat for a special fundraiser rodeo held during World War I. He was the 1929 world championship team roper and steer roper.
At first, I wondered if he'd written steer stopping by accident, in a pre-typewriter typo that meant to say steer roping. We don't even have steer roping in California. I showed the letter to my dad, PRCA gold card member Dr. Frank Santos, to see what he thought. He was born more than 40 years after Charlie, and wasn't yet alive when Charlie won his world titles. But because he's a generation ahead of me, did have the pleasure of seeing Charlie in action and has a more direct line into the lore of legends lost in our part of the country than I do, I wanted his wisdom on this one.

"Steer roping was a different event back then," my dad explained. "It was steer stopping. They didn't trip and tie the steers in those days, like they do now."

Are you reading this, Guy Allen?

My dad's current partner at the PRCA gold card team ropings, two-time World Champion Steer Wrestler and ProRodeo Hall of Famer Jack Roddy, confirmed it to be true. Roddy was raised right up the road from Maggini, who was the pivotal person in Roddy's career path in this sport.

"My dad came from Ireland, and when I was a little tiny kid I used to ride my pony with my mom and dad through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco riding flat (English) saddles," Roddy remembers. "My dad met Charlie Maggini when Dad had the rodeo grounds in South San Francisco, in Colma, and they became great friends. Charlie's the guy who got my family involved in rodeo. He rode horses for my dad, and showed the first winner of the reined cow horse class at the Cow Palace, a horse by the name of Johnny, in 1942.

"Charlie Maggini was the best cowboy I'd ever seen. He learned from the Mexican vaqueros how to train the California bridle horse. He rode saddle broncs, bulls, roped calves, team roped, steer roped and trained some of the top bridle horses. I used to go to brandings with him, and he's the best hand in a branding corral that I've ever seen, bar none. Will Rogers came out here to California to rope with Charlie one time, because he'd heard Charlie was an artist with a rope. He was a cowboy all the way. Charlie was still breaking horses when he died."

Maggini could head and heel with the best, but primarily heeled in the rodeo arena. In the (Late) 1950s, he went to work as foreman of Henry Coe's Rancho San Felipe out of San Jose, Calif. That's where his life's path crossed with that of 1982 World Champion All-Around Cowboy Chris Lybbert, who grew up right there in Coyote, Calif., and so admired Maggini that he dedicated his golden 1982 season to his old friend and horsemanship mentor.

"Charlie was such a good horseman, and he helped me be a better horseman, which allowed me to win more rodeos," Lybbert sentimentally states. "He knew horses before there were horse whisperers. He was just a cool old guy, and he knew how to get a horse to work."

Lybbert's late dad, Verl, was Maggini's horseshoer. That's how they first hooked up, and Maggini spotted a special spark in the kid.

"When Charlie ran that ranch for Mr. Coe, I'd go over there with my dad when he shod the horses and Charlie would let me ride some of his better horses," a grateful Lybbert recalls. "It was so fun, because his horses were so broke. Charlie was a great horseman and a great roper. Even when he was older, he could out rope anybody in the branding corral.

"When I was in high school, I'd go up and start colts for Charlie. I'd ride them twice, and then he'd go on with them. He was in his 80s by then, but that didn't slow him down any. A horse flipped with him and broke his hip. They replaced his hip, and he was back on a horse in 28 days. As soon as the wound heeled up, he was good to go. He was as tough as you've ever seen."

My dad worked six days a week until two weeks before he died (at 86). He always believed in giving a man an honest day's work, and he did that 'til the end. He worked circles around most people.
— Karen Maggini

The way Lybbert saw it, Maggini was "the greatest horseman I knew, a hard worker, wild and a lot of fun."

"He used to ride 30 miles to get to the rodeo in Salinas," Lybbert noted. "They didn't have arenas to practice in, so he'd rope people's cattle as he rode by. Charlie won the bridle class at Salinas one year, and he rode that horse up into the grandstands to present the trophy to the horse's owner. He was wild and crazy like that, but at the same time the sweetest guy I ever knew. He could really, really rope, and he was a neat guy."

Maggini, who was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum in 2003, died April 9, 1982. He was featured in a documentary made that same year titled Top Hand, and the directors didn't have to exaggerate his talents and achievements to sell this one.

Maggini is survived by his wife, Pinkie; a daughter, Karen; and her step-half-sister, Jane McKinney. Karen, who was born when Charlie was 63, will accept the ProRodeo Hall of Fame honors on her dad's behalf.

"If he was here today, my dad wouldn't think he did anything special enough to be put in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame," Karen Maggini said of her dad, who carried original Rodeo Cowboys Association Card No. 562 in his back pocket. "But he was that special. He enjoyed life, and he was lucky to do what he wanted all his life, and that's ride and train good horses. My dad worked six days a week until two weeks before he died (at 86). He always believed in giving a man an honest day's work, and he did that 'til the end. He worked circles around most people.

"My dad always said a man's word was his bond. If he said he was going to do something, he did it. He loved to say, 'Chickens today, feathers tomorrow,' and that's how he lived his life. He was an amazing cowboy, and an amazing person.
In Gods We Trust!



I Believe in GOD

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“Thy WILL BE DONE”

“Hope I can Learn N ACCEPT”

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Postby OldDog/NewTricks » Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:44 pm

My family lived in town so when I started with Market Steers and Market Lambs in 4H and FFA I was able to talk Mr. George Millas, the then Mayor of Gilroy into letting me keep some of my animal - by the High School at the “Gilroy Gymkhana Grounds Barns”– Two long barns, mostly made up of Tie Stalls with alleys in the the center and 2 Boxes Stalles on each side to total 8 Stalls. Mr. Millas soon made me the Over See’re of the City’s Barns. A Job had been the job of the likes of Bill Parks and Mr Upton, (Cattle buyers) – George Scoval and Joe Aries, (Cattle Ranchers) – Charlie Maggini, (Horse Trainer) – Tom Clark, (Auction owner) and others who were the real bosses – My job was to “Go Tell” that SOB - so and so.

In 1956 I did not have a stall to give this one Guy – I got the usual Do You Know Who I Am. My advisors went along with me – At the start of the Rodeo just after “The Grand Entry” he and 3 friends beat the (you know what) out of me in the Barns
At the end of the Rodeo – during the “Wild Horse Race” he was in, some one caught him by Both Feet, at the west far-end of the Track and drug him to the East End – out the gate – and a ¼ mile down the road until they cut him loose…
No one could find the Roper!
In Gods We Trust!



I Believe in GOD

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“Thy WILL BE DONE”

“Hope I can Learn N ACCEPT”

Karen Maggini Rubio
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Postby Karen Maggini Rubio » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:39 pm

hello, I'm Charlie Maggini's daughter Karen Maggini Rubio, I know live in Stonewall, OK, you had mentioned that you wanted a copy of the movie they made about my Dad, please contact me at krubio@firstunitedbank.com

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Postby MsSage » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:45 pm

Thanks old dog I have been trying to find info about what the best bosalto use. I got the smaller one since she did really good in the side pull and the bosal was the same size. We shall see how well she does. As for me I am fully willing to let her use the bosal for the next 4-5 years. She might never go any farther.....I know some say she needs to be in a bit, but my question is does she really?
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Postby Faster horses » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:05 pm

Of course she doesn't. As long as she responds to the bosal.
Make sure it fits her right under her jaw or you'll sore her
and she'll throw her head up to get away from the sore.

Using a bosal is really a work of art.
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Postby OldDog/NewTricks » Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:04 pm

I broke my old horse in a Hackmore - then went to a Bridle to finish her but she always work BEST with a 'Hackmore' for 20+ years...
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“Hope I can Learn N ACCEPT”


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