The English mechanical hackamore acts like a curb bit. It uses leverage on the nose and poll, a leather curb band presses behind the chin. The shorter the shanks the less severe is the pressure. Shanks that curve back are less severe than straight shanks. The ‘wider/thicker’ nosepiece is less severe than the ‘narrower/thinner’ nosepiece. While the hackamore fails to provide a good lateral signal for steering, it does provide a vertical signal for slowing or stopping. It does this by encouraging the horse to lower his head and flex, the same as a curb.