Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra Australia
Can’t comment on the gloves or helmet, but Ill comment on the bosal; seems what you want is the full hackamore and not just the bosal (noseband).
If your horse has never been ridden in a bosal it should be one that is thick and reasonably stiff as you still need to be using direct rein pressure at first and the thinner ones can slip and flex and so kind of saw at a horses nose. So what you will want is one that is ¾ inch diameter on the bars, I wouldn’t recommend one less than 5/8 inch. The way you sensitise the horse on a bosal is in how you handle the reins, not in the bosal itself, the sized bosal is important depending on the stage of training the horse is at. Though people will often tell you thick stiff ones are too harsh, it’s actually the other way around at first; once the horse is soft and moving from a signal sent down the rein BEFORE the direct pull, that’s when you lighten and soften the bosal in the hackamore. You will need to get decent lateral flexion with the bosal through ground work, make sure that the horse thinks it can’t beat the hackamore EVER, as Martin Black said a hackamore is a “kind of a bluff anyway”. And make sure you know how to handle the reins as if you just transfer standard snaffle bit techniques to a bosal you will likely end up with a heavy headed horse.
What you should be looking for in a good bosal is,
1) 100% rawhide, forget cable core, nylon, rope, all that. The point is rawhide moulds to the horses face and can do so slightly differently every time it is put on the same horse, adjusted as you go, or on a different horse. They sweat into it and it softens and it shapes to their face.
2) generally speaking the more strands the better, though also more expensive.
3) on a bosal ¾ inch and probably on one 5/8 inch you will need a fiadore.
4) mecate and bosal should ideally be of the same diameter, you have about 1/8th inch wiggle room in that rule.
5) horse hair is the best for a mecate, its used in teaching neck reining, but an often overlooked point is that it nicely balances the bosal, more so than something like yacht rope. You will see things like “high quality mane hair” and “Lower quality tail hair” it’s all nonsense. The quality is in the construction, the difference between mane and tail hair comes into play as part of training the horse. Better to give the horse the benefit of the doubt and get mane hair.
6) on the headstall (bosal hanger) you should look for one that is minutely adjustable, so lots of holes up the cheek straps as you will, especially at first, be needing to adjust it up and down the horses face depending on how long you are riding the horse and how fast, hard, the work you are doing is. I have made all my own but if you buy one Id just get a hole punch and punch extra holes so you have more control in where you can place the bosal on the horses face.
There are some really good bosals on eBay if you know what to look for, though the really good ones are far between, or super expensive, 3 to 4 hundred each. There are plenty of Jose Ortiz bosals and mecates on eBay; they are good quality. Martin Black makes good ones, I have two of his and they are excellent, and probably slightly cheaper than the average Ortiz one (unless you can get a bargain on eBay). Have a look at Ortiz and Martin Black bosals and you will begin to get an idea of what a good one looks like and what an average one looks like. You also may want to think of some felt to wrap the bosal in if your horse has a particularly sensitive snout.