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The Versatile Sidepull

HFAdmin | July 19, 2010

Guest post from Buckaroo Leather

We at Buckaroo Leather have been perfecting our craft over the last 30 years to produce the highest quality and most durable horse tack available. The Buckaroo line of sidepulls are a product of just that – hard work.

The Buckaroo Sidepull is an extremely versatile piece of tack with a range of uses from dressage to western trail riding. Buckaroo uses old world working harness leather tanned in America by Hermann Oak. The leather has a supple feel, is soft on the horse, and is made to last through everyday use. Buckaroo’s Sidepull line currently has many different options and styles from the old west with tooling and conchas, to more refined leather for the English rider.

Buckaroo and trainer Farah DeJohnette are teaming up to create an even deeper line of Buckaroo Sidepulls that will include more bitless options, and hybrid models that allow the rider to easily switch between riding with a bit or bitless. This is great for riders who are new to bitless riding, and want to ease into riding completely bitless. The Hybrid model allows for ease of bit change. DeJohnette was so impressed with her Buckaroo Sidepull that she created a line of videos to show the versatility, uses, and how to fit the sidepull to your horse on her website: http://www.fdhorsetraining.com.


DeJohnette uses her sidepull over 75 percent of the time, and in many different riding styles. One of the best features of a Buckaroo Sidepull is the versatility; one piece of tack that can do everything. As a show rider too, DeJohnette will be helping to design new show styles that will include more refined leather, padding, and black latigo leather for English riders. Show styles will include conchas, buckles, crystal jewelry (cowgirl bling), and animal print styles on the brow band or the entire sidepull.

Buckaroo Leather can also create a sidepull to meet your specifications or match it with a piece of equipment you already own. Buckaroo is extremely conscious of horse and rider communication, and how the horse responds to the equipment. Buckaroo Leather uses only the very best leather with an ergonomically sound design and bitless options to be as gentle on the horse as possible. As natural horsemanship is becoming more popular, the bitless options with ergonomic designs allow for the best horse and rider communication.

Do you have questions regarding how the sidepull works? Read the questions from John Brand below as Farah DeJohnette weighs in with her unique insight.



Brief Q&A with trainer Farah DeJohnette:

John: In discussing sidepulls versus hackamores with my son, he believes that a hackamore (properly set up) pushes, while a sidepull…well, pulls. Do you have thoughts about the differences/benefits between the two?

Farah: Well, this is not a simple question because there are so many types of hackamore designs and Bosals and sidepulls. Everything from completely rope to mechanical. They all have somewhat different feels to the horse and the person. And then there’s how they are fitted to the horse. There are literally hundreds of rein handling techniques and styles. Some people ride in a pushing manner and some people ride in a pulling manner. Some people do neither. As for technical differences, The obvious feel differences would be soft rope which is unstructured on a horses face, All soft leather like a side pull with a leather nose (or add a different nose material for another feel), rawhide has a more solid and stiff structure on the face, Mechanical hackamores have a lot of metal so they can have a more rigid feel, and then there’s hybrid variations and a millions others in between. As for the benefits, of side pulls? I feel the less you can use to communicate the better your horsemanship. So if you don’t need a bit, why use one? Bitless is good for horses with dental issues, or facial injuries, it’s a suitable way to start a young horse or re-school a horse who’s unconfident, frustrated or resentful with the bit. I have found that Side Pulls offer me a feel I really like and my horses seem to as well.
John: How ‘fool proof’ is this side pull? If I have very little skill as a rider, is this a good choice? Or like Pat Parelli always says, “It depends.”

Farah: How Fool proof is it? That question denotes a lot of variables as well. A well trained horse with a learning rider would well be protected by a leather nose sidepull from inexperienced hands. As a big believer is setting yourself up for success and not failure, I am doing short video clips about how to introduce the feel of the Side pull to your horse which will be on YouTube soon. This starts with ground working in it to help the horse get accustomed to where and what the communication will feel like. When I introduce any new piece of equipment, I first try it on the ground, then if I feel it is working positively, I will try it mounted in an enclosed area, always practicing the same things I do in any other equipment to make sure my horse and I are in sync. Then if I feel good about that, I will go out in fields or trails depending on the individual horse and our readiness. I ask the rider to ask themselves honestly how confident they feel about going to the next step. Whatever that step may be. And of course never to be in a hurry to get there and to seek help if they are unsure or feeling unsafe.


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