Mecate help? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-23-2011, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Mecate help?

I have recently been reseearching bosals, and I'm not positive on what a mecate is used for. It's the rope that goes from the noseband to the saddle horn and has slack in it. Any help?
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-23-2011, 11:18 AM
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I believe it's what cowboys have looped around their belt loops so if they have to get off to go open a gate or something, they can lead the horse... I might be wrong, as I have no experience with bosals... Never had a horse that I thought would be good in one.

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post #3 of 17 Old 12-23-2011, 12:31 PM
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It is like riding in a halter with an extra leadrope. It is used
(at least by the people I know as well as myself) to tie the horse if need be, or lead him through something rather than ride through. I sometimes loop it through my belt loop-careful to make sure that it will easily pull out if you fall0or I wtie it around my horn a couple of times so that I can use the end of it as a "motivator" if need be. Some people have a way of tying it safely around the horses neck loosely also, and then it can almost be used as a neck string.

I like mine-it is comfy and simple for trails.

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post #4 of 17 Old 12-23-2011, 12:51 PM
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The Mecate or McCarty is the name for the entire rope, which is usually 22-24' long and is wrapped around the bosal in a certain configuration to create the hackamore. The hackamore itself consists of the bosal, mecate and hanger. Some people also use a mecate setup with a snaffle bit.

Richard Caldwell has some good videos on the subject.
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-23-2011, 01:20 PM
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Here is a decent link to a mecate set up on a Bosal.


As said it is ussually 22-24 ft. long. Made of Horse hair or nylon rope or yacht line. Generally speaking you want the macate to be the same diamiter as the bosal you are using. If you do get horse hair mecates try to get Mecates made from mane hair. It is alot softer than the tail hair Mecates but the are alittle more pricey.

Here's a drawing of how one goes onto a snaffle with slobber straps.

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I use both Horse hair and nylon. I prefer the horse hair for the feel they give the horse but the price makes it tough to own a bunch of them so I do use the nylon ones to.

About the Bosal. Don't get a really cheap one. They are one of those things that you get what you pay for. The more plaits of rawhide the have the smoother the surface. Most are around 12 palit with a 16 plait nose band. They are pricey as well but a good one willl last if taken care of. Also make sure it has a rawhide core or at the very least a rope core. The wire core bosals are a no no. They have very little "feel " and can be pretty rough on the horses nose.
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post #6 of 17 Old 12-23-2011, 01:42 PM
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Here's a video of how to tie the mecate to the bosal, make the length mecate rein you want and the 'git down' rope that's either tucked in under a belt or wrapped around the horn until you need it.

I use Alpaca mecates, very soft and supple. Love the feel.
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-23-2011, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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ok so does it have any purpose with communicating with the horse? Like, would a bosal hackamore work just as well with a normal set of split reins attached to the underside of the nose piece, and not use the extra rein? And if I were to make one, would I be able to just take an old lariat rope and cut it big enough and fit it correctly and use that as my nose piece, then put a leather headstall on it? Thanks for all the input everybody!
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-23-2011, 05:06 PM
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I'm gonna say no, not really. One of the benifits to using the mecate is the wieght and feel to it. With the heavey rope you get a presignal in the hackmore long before you ever make contact with the hackmore nose band. That is what you are going for with the hackmaore set up. if you try to muscle the hose with a rawhide hackamore it will not work. You are using it to teach the horse off of the signal and not nesicarilly from the contact and pressure. With the macate you have weight and the knot on the under side is actually used as a signal as well. The extra lenght is just that, extra lenght. it doesn't really serve a propose for communication but it does come in handy when dismounted at gates or what ever. I usually just tuck it in my belt and off i go. Occasionally I will wrap it with a half hitch around the horn but I just like having in my belt most of the time.

As for the lairat rope, I wouldn't use it either. First lariat rope is usually pretty stiff and the knot would be pretty tough to tie right. Also the lairat rope is considerably thinner than a mecate rein so you don't really have the "feel" as i said earlier. Most bosals that you use on horses that haven't ever been used with a bosal set up are usually 5/8ths inch thick. The mecates are usually about the same. The thinner bosals or bosalitos or pencil bosals are thinner but they are for horses that are more versed in the hackamore or even if the rider is using the two rein to move the horse into the spade bit for a true bridle horse. They are also used as a nose band to lead the horse so you aren't leading a horse with the bridle reins. Again with a mecate tied but different than if using it as reins.
If you were set on making your own Mecate , it can be done. Go to a hardware and get 22-24 ft of good marine rope. it is pricey but it will work. I've even seen people use a good hemp rope to get alittle more bristley feel like the horse hair but I don't really like that. it may work for you though. Hemp feels alot more roough to me and it gets old and dry rots and breaks.

Last edited by Fort fireman; 12-23-2011 at 05:09 PM.
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-23-2011, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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Okay! Thanks! I'll just have to start looking for a hackamore at local tack stores! :)
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-23-2011, 08:59 PM
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I am just going to add that you probably wont find a quality bosal in most tack stores. Quality in the bosal is pretty important just as important as the fit and use. You will probably have to shape it to fit your horse so it sits right. It is pretty rare that you can buy one new and it fit right. If you want a nice one I have number for a guy in Oregon that builds real nice ones or I can give you some names to look for.

Also if you tuck your get down in your belt loops or down into your pant leg, DO NOT flip your rope around to the off side of you horn! I see these clinicians do it and it drives me f-ing nuts! That's a good way to get hung up. If you ever have to step off your horse fast and forgot that your get down is on the other side of your horn you will get hung up. I just had a guy tell me the other day he had a horse fall down on a shale hillside and he went to step off to keep from getting rolled over and forgot his get down was on the other of his horn and he was welded to him and the horse rolled down the hill over the top of him.

I like the tail hair ropes personally, the prickles on them supossedly help teach neck reining but I use mine so much that they are rubbed smooth. We even have a few that we took back to Larry to have retwisted! But again that is personal preference.
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