What gloves, bosal, and helmet should I buy? - Page 3

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What gloves, bosal, and helmet should I buy?

This is a discussion on What gloves, bosal, and helmet should I buy? within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category

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    11-08-2012, 06:55 PM
Don’t worry too much about the size of the internal dimensions; the diameter of the bars is the important part; and for the bigger ones inch for example, stabilising it with a fiadore. You can tighten or loosen the bosal by wrapping more mecate around it; indeed, you will do so depending on how well the horse is responding to the signal as opposed to the direct pull. A good rule of thumb I go by is: first few rides, bosal on fairly firmly to minimise any slippage between the pull and the give of the horse (and part of dealing with hackamore reins is it is a light pull then release, never constant contact). As they go better off the signal, I loosen the bosal a bit more. If you are likely to start doing some fast work with cattle or something, you may want to tighten it a bit more. Alternatively, just long slow rides without any real work, have it looseish. And you adjust it on the horses face to distribute any wear they may experience (at first it is like having soft hands and going off and digging a trench. Your hands will blister up, after a month of it you will get calloused up and it won’t bother you). Remember, you ride with a loose rein, only use one rein at a time, and if you are not asking the horse to do anything, have the reins totally silent, no wiggling or fidgeting. When you want something of the horse you pick up the slack in the reins and just feel the bosal on its nose through the mecate, no pressure. This is the signal and what you want them working on. At first they will need the direct pull/release AFTER the signal; or in my experience most horses do; some of the smart ones catch on much better (they will learn to watch what your hands are doing too and so work with that as well). Eventually, if you ride with light hands, they will learn to go on the signal before the pull gets there, this is what you are after and then, when there’s no pull as such, you lighten ad soften the bosal/mecate combination. At various times you will loosen or tighten the bosal via the mecate, and change its position on the horses face. The really hard part at first is getting the timing right. By timing, I’m talking about asking the horse to do what you want when its feet are in the position to give it to you, for that you need to have a good independent seat, and have good feel of where their feet are, and are going, at any given time. The thing to realise is, with a hackamore (probably a bit too I guess) you are not interested in controlling a horse’s head, indeed it has nothing to do with control at all, you control a horse through having its respect. The hackamore is about positioning a horse’s feet.
Getting back to size, if the horse is really thin in the muzzle, you might want to think about smaller internal dimensions. But, otherwise, you can tighten the bosal with the mecate, and wrap the thing around an appropriate sized block of wood first too to give it its initial shaping, there’s a few YT videos about that so check them out.
Just a question about Arabs: I’ve hardly ever had anything to do with them; but is that thin little head natural or something selectively bred into them as a desired trait. I did my field research living for 14 months with a tribe of Bedouin in Jordan and plenty of them had pure Arab horses, I only ever saw one, maybe two, with the dish looking face and thin muzzle and even then they weren’t very extreme compared to ones I see on the internet in other countries. Just curious.
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    11-10-2012, 03:30 AM
Ok good to know. Thank you for explaining to me.. it really helps. What do you think about alpaca and other type of mecates compared to horse hair?

Arabians are selectively bred to have that dish shape face... I think it's somewhat natural but I don't know about the real extreme ones. I think Arab horse owners are proud when they get one that has that look. Some are a little too strong for my taste lol.. I don't think my girl has it that extreme tho.
    11-10-2012, 04:04 AM
Cowboy Vaquero Ortiz Rawhide Braided 5 8" Fancy Bosal 12 Plait Cheeks 24 Nose | eBay

Does this one look legit?
    11-10-2012, 06:05 AM
Yeah that one looks like all the Ortiz bosals I have seen for a long time, they typically have the pineapple shaped heel knot and the same sort of zigzag patterns. Like I said though, he could well be making a few different styles. The thing that makes me suspect some of the ones posted as Ortiz bosals may not be is that if you look at the braiding on the bars of the bosals they don't appear to be of as good quality. Who knows, he may make some cheaper ones with fewer strands, but Id still be careful. But yeah that one looks legit to me.
    11-10-2012, 02:39 PM
Ok that's great cause my mom saw I put it in her watch list so she just bought it for me lol. What do you think about alpaca or mohair mecates? Are they no good compared to horse hair?
    11-10-2012, 03:17 PM
Where to buy bosal, etc.

Buckaroo Leather makes good quality tack too.

Buckaroo Leather - Bosals, Hackamores & Rawhide Gear

They have videos on their website that show you how to rig up your stuff.
    11-10-2012, 07:38 PM
I don’t know about mohair etc., I have never used them (ridden a horse with one) though I have had a look at a few and played around with them. I did use hemp rope till I could get a horse hair mecate (back when I first started doing the hackamore stuff it was a nightmare trying to get the equipment in Australia, there was no ebay or internet stores to go to). Essentially the mecate has to have a few qualities to make it usable.

A) The most important one, and the one I think most people miss is that it has to balance the bosal well since it's changes in the way the bosal moves on the horse's nose that are the commands. So for example, after getting the horse softened up and weaning them off direct pressure commands to signal commands, you want the bosal light, flexible and fairly lose so that it has some movement between you sending the signal and there being any pull, its in-between the signal and direct pull the horse will work (so the opposite almost to what you want at first; at first you want there to be little movement before the pull because you will need to use direct pressure in almost all cases at first and it will skin up the horse if you are not careful). This way the horse learns to move with the weight of the mecate/bosal moving on its nose. This is really crucial stuff, because its the way you get them soft and its the way a thing like a spade bit works in their mouth; signal and balance of the bosal or bit, not direct pressure (and why spade bits are not “leverage bits”). With a bosal there’s no huge problem if you have to give them the occasional pull the get them working something properly (provided its not too hard), once you get to the bit there should be no such thing as a pull directly on that horse's mouth, if you pull direct pressure on the bit, you need to go back to more hackamore generally speaking.

B) This is the thing most people think horse hair mecates are about: The prickliness of the horse hair mecates is about teaching a horse neck reining, which really comes a fair way into their training relatively speaking, you may not actually start the neck reining till the bridling process, I like to get it long before, in a hackamore, personally though (but all the same, you have to go through the process of teaching them to be light and supple through all the other stuff before you get to the neck rein, so think of neck reining as an intermediate to kinda advanced level stuff). Rule of thumb is, mane hair is softer and should be your starting point as you want the horse to move off the slightest amount of stimuli, if the horse doesn’t move off the mane hair that's where tail hair mecates come in; they are harder and pricklier. In conjunction with tail hair you might use a quirt or riding crop to act as kind of like the way you might use spurs, to re-enforce gentler signals through the mecate.

(side note: you will also see horse hair bosals occasionally. They are pretty rare, I have only ever seen 2 on ebay, the first one, which I regret not buying, was really good looking quality, the second one was crap and I wouldn’t waste my money. What they are about is not to “look good in the show ring” as their advertising suggested. They are for a horse that gets heavy in the rawhide bosal, you might use a horse hair bosal for a couple of days to soften them up on the rawhide. So two things here, 1) don’t harden them on a rawhide bosal in the first place and you shouldn’t need the horse hair one; 2) use a horse hair one too much, maybe 3 days or more, and you will harden the horse and may as well start over in a snaffle bit.

C) Horse hair mecates have a little bit of stiffness about them that things like mohair tend not to have and for me that stiffness, and its not much bit just enough, seems to help me feel around with the bosal before I get to a pull on the reins, and it also seems to make the signal clearer and more decisive in a way that I'm not sure something like mohair will, and this stiffness also seems to make them a lot quieter when you are not asking the horse to do anything and are just riding along, they don’t tend to swing about a huge amount (but remember, I have never used mohair so I could be completely wrong). I also read somewhere, could have been in one of the Connell books, can't remember, that horse hair has a fairly low breaking strain to the extent that if you came off and got hung up in it it will snap rather than drag you around behind the horse. I'm not entirely sure about this, could be true or maybe not, don't know (never been willing to test the theory), mine all seem pretty strong, but then I have never really put a lot of weight on them, and indeed the point is that you shouldn’t have to.

So in the end. My preference is for horse hair, but then I'm a bit of a traditionalist and back when I was riding a lot I was a ringer (working cowboy) (ringer and jackaroo are two different things, call a ringer a jackaroo it is an insult actually), and so my hands were pretty hard and the prickliness of them never bothered me, these days though I ride an office chair and a computer all day so it takes a little getting used to. But if you prefer mohair etc. well I guess give it a try. I suppose the best way to think about it would be, by hackamore training a horse I am achieving A result because it all works along B principals. If you can get result A with B principals using a mohair mecate, I guess its fine. But if it upsets the balance of the system then you might be introducing a deficiency that will lead to trouble later. That's just my opinion on it all, doesn’t mean its right.
    11-11-2012, 12:10 AM
100% horsehair bosal

AnrewPL - You know A LOT!!!!!!!!!!! Wow.... I would love to have your opinion on an item I have been thinking about for awhile now.

Product Listing - BCHH

The Guitrons have a good reputation - I was just wondering how comfortable you think this would be on a horses face compared to other bosal material.

Thank you.
    11-11-2012, 01:36 AM
I had a look at most of what they have on the site and it all looks like pretty well made gear, and about the right price for quality (for example if you are looking at buying romel reins and they are advertised for around $60 to $150 unless you get lucky on ebay or something, they ain’t worth buying. But once something up around 3 to 4 hundred its bound to be good quality unless the person selling it is a rip-off artist).

Of the bosals on the page you linked, of the horse hair bosals, I liked the 100% horse hair one the most; but then you have to understand what a bosal like that is about. They are used precisely because they are UNCOMFORTABLE on the horses face. If they harden to the rawhide (so from constant pressure on the reins, or too much or even wrongly timed pressure), the prickliness of the horse hair should loosen them up a bit, provided you don’t make the same mistakes that got them hard in the first. But, like anything, if you over use it the horse will forget the discomfort of it and ignore the prickliness and just get heavier. A horse hair bosal is to a rawhide bosal the same idea as what a Chileno bit is to a spade bit. If you use the standard thing right the first time, be it rawhide bosal, or a spade bit, you shouldn’t need the next thing to soften the horse like a horse hair bosal or something like a Chileno bit (and a Chileno bit is a signal bit too by the way, you should DEFINITLEY NEVER be doing any hard pulling in the likes of a bit like that, you'd be libel to break the horses jaw). But basically these things are there to fix mistakes, they aren’t intended for day to day use; and only used by someone with the lightest of hands; even a Chileno bit is a decent piece of equipment used in the right context, by someone who knows how and for the right reasons. If you did use them day to day, then they will most likely harden your horse and so defeat the purpose of using them in the first place.

Of the other two bosals, Id forget the nylon one without a second thought, I doubt it would really form to the horses face the way rawhide will. The cotton one..........Don’t know. Cotton is a natural fibre, and I guess might shape to the horses face with enough sweat, not sure, I have never used anything but rawhide so can't give you much of an opinion. I guess Id ask why cotton instead of rawhide? Id want to know how it moves on the horses face, how stiff, flexible or soft and limp it is. Also what’s the action like around the ends of the nose button, where it meets the headstall; is there a lot of movement there that might wear on, or pinch, the horse's nose or is it reasonably solid?
I know why the rawhide is used, I just don't know why cotton would be used. So me, personally, I just stick with what I know, rawhide, since I have found over the years it definitely works, and it has worked for people for hundreds of years before that.

The rawhide bosals on the site that I had a look at all seem pretty good, I have had to make do with a few of my own, and have decent but pretty standard bosals (except for my two Martin Black ones, they are awesome; but they cost three times as much as some of the others). If I had the money Id be willing to buy them from this place given what I can see on the website, they look pretty good.
So, I don’t know if that's of any help, but concerning the horse's comfort, I guess I wouldn’t use any of the ones on that link for anything but their intended purpose (in the case of the horse hair ones, and that means only a day or two, maybe three at the most); the nylon one I'd forget about, and the cotton one, well I don’t know what it's purpose is. But the rawhide on the site looks good.
randidod likes this.
    11-12-2012, 11:25 AM
Thank you - you have answered quite a few of my questions over the course of this thread. I checked out Martin Black too - very interesting background and nice products!

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