Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra Australia
Just a few questions. Firstly, what size bosal are you using? How tight are you making it with the mecate? Have you got a fiadore with it? How often do you use it? And if you ride for any length of time, say, more than an hour at a time are you adjusting it up and down the horses face or leaving it in one spot for the whole ride? And are you using direct pressure on the reins or a signal through moving the balance of the bosal to ask the horse to do things? And have you thought of wrapping the bars and nose button of the bosal with felt ore fleece?
If the horse isn’t a very advance hackamore horse you should have a fairly thick stiff bosal (probably ¾ inch) that is held in a good position with a fiadore. It should also be fairly firmly tight with the mecate. People make the mistake of thinking that thick stiff bosals are harsh and tightening them is cruel, the thing is though that you do it precisely to stop this kind of rubbing. The thicker diameter of the bosal is there to distribute the direct pressure coming through the reins over a wider surface area therefore decreasing it in any one place and the tightness of the mecate makes for less slippage between the bosal and the horses nose. You also should be stopping, and moving the bosal up or down the horses nose (and adjusting the tightness of the mecate appropriately), as the day goes by to distribute any wear on the horses nose (this is an advantage they have over a bit, you can't shift a bit around in a horses mouth to distribute the pressure the way you can a bosal on a horses snout) Finally the way you handle the reins with a hackamore has to be fairly specific, is the same for all degrees of advancement of the horse except as they get better you dispense with any direct pull, reduce the amount of over all movement of the reins and can roughly be broken down as follows a) the golden rule is always ride on a loose rein, b) only ever use one rein at a time c) when you want to ask your horse to do something as their feet are approaching the appropriate position pick up the slack from the rein, no pull, just pick up the slack d) when the horses feet are right pull the rein to instruct them in what you want, giving no more and no less than needed to get the job done e) give them an immediate release once you have completed the pull. Hackamores are all about dealing with a horses feet.
From here, if you are using the bosal a fair bit the horse will become accustomed to it, both as a way of communication, and in the same way your hands will get used to manual labour if you were out digging holes with a shovel all day, if all you do is type on a computer most days (like all I unfortunately do these days), your hands get soft and will blister up real quick with a bit of manual labour. But do manual labour every day and they thicken up and harden to the work. Its the same with a bosal on a horses nose, our job as a rider is to try to make it as easy and painless as possible for the horse.
Do it right and the horse will get real soft and you can start to loosen the mecate, put on a lighter bosal take off the fiadore and have the horse working off a signal rather than direct pressure, and all the rubbing will be gone. But if it is a road you feel you want to go down, remember, its a long and slow one, it can't be rushed.