The Art of Hackamore Training

A Time-Honored Step in the Bridle Horse Tradition

Authored by Al Dunning and Benny Guitron with Deanna Lally

Photography by Robert Dawson

Top horsemen Al Dunning and Benny Guitron have partnered with award-winning photographer Robert Dawson and writer Deanna Lally to create Western Horseman’s latest book, The Art of Hackamore Training.

Old-time California vaqueros left a revered tradition as a legacy to horsemen today—the bridle horse, the ultimate in finesse and control. Hackamore training is an integral step in developing such a horse, and in the past half-century few books have addressed these skills.

Dunning and Guitron are among the few modern masters of hackamore horsemanship. Multiple world champions, the two have claimed numerous titles in American Quarter Horse Association, National Reined Cow Horse Association, and National Cutting Horse Association competition.

To understand the hackamore and its use is to understand its history, origin and development, as well as the bosal, mecate and fiador. Dunning and Guitron discuss these things and more—groundwork, key points under saddle, improving such skills as “connecting the horse’s face to his feet,” turnarounds, stops and fencing, and how to use these skills when handling cattle.          

To Dunning and Guitron, guiding a young stock horse through hackamore training means not only mastering such skills, but also executing them with such proficiency that horse and rider seem to be of one mind.

Dunning and Guitron also share their insights about subsequent bridle-horse training. The book’s final chapters address quarto riendas, or the four-rein training phase, which uses both snaffle and hackamore, and dos riendas, or the two-rein, the finishing touch in transforming a hackamore horse to a full-bridle horse.

With more than 150 color photographs, this book is visually stunning and destined to become a classic in the mold of Hackamore Reinsman and Reinsman Of The West, by legendary horseman Ed Connell.

The Art of Hackamore Training is on sale here!


Western Horseman, established in 1936, is a monthly magazine covering ranching, Western horsemanship, rodeo and equine events, and cowboy culture. The magazine is a member of the Morris Equine Group, which includes Barrel Horse News, Equine Journal, Quarter Horse News and The Morris Equine Group is owned by Morris Communications, a Georgia-based media company.