I have been attempting to figure out a way to write a book review for the last 3 months. I wanted to review "Hackamore Reinsman" by Ed Connell and "Reinsman of the West," by the same author, but I don't think it would be possible! At least, not if the review was to be under 15 pages :-P
Disclaimer: Don't bother with either of these books if you do not want to reread and study them many times. It will take a long time for everything in them to sink in, so expect it to take quite a bit of work!
I first heard about "Hackamore Reinsman" through Larry Trocha, a cutting and reining horse trainer who produces videos on correct training. He gave a rave review and said that if anyone really wanted to learn about the almost extinct method of bridling a horse the vaquero way, that this was the book to read. It is only about 75 pages, I believe, but what he said impressed me enough that I bought it right away. In Larry's article, he said he hardly ever even recommends it anymore, as most people look through the pages and see only the old, black & white drawings and the formal language, and toss it aside as boring.
I still wanted to see what great information was in the book, so I went ahead and ordered it. As soon it came, I started paging through it. Before I finished reading it I went and ordered the other book he wrote. Both books are totally fantastic, and very densely packed with advice and tips that are pure gold!
After reading "Reinsman of the West," which goes into the bitting-up process, how to train and ride in each stage, and how to know when to finally transition a horse into the spade bit, I finally have a bunch of dots connected in my head! For years I have had dozens of questions, especially about what practical purpose there really was in using a bit like the spade, rather than a smaller curb bit, but now I know. If you want to have the same epiphany I did, order these books, and while you are waiting, go read http://www.horsemanpro.com 's articles on bits and bitting. Read each article several times. (Try to ignore his bad attitude, and just focus on what he is saying. There is a LOT of knowledge very clearly expressed in his website) Then read Ed Connell's books several times. It has been so nice to get so many dangling threads finally tied up. I do NOT feel like I know it all, though - rather, I feel like now I know enough that a door has opened that I didn't even know existed. :-D
I hope this is enough to whet your appettite. I have tried to keep this short, and not get into specifics, as otherwise I would be writing all night! :-) Ciao for now...