How to Tie a Mecate

A well-fitted bosal, custom-braided by Guy Murphy.

A mecate (meh COT eh) is a rein made of a single length of rope, about 20–25 feet long, usually of twisted horsehair. Mecates are used on hackamores and snaffle bits. The bosal (bow SAL) is carried on the horse’s head by a headstall, sometimes called a bosal hanger or, more often, a hackamore.

Once attached properly, the mecate has both a looped rein that comes up from the top of the bosal, and a length of rein that comes out from the bottom of the bosal. The end is tucked into your side belt loop and is used as a lead rope.

The knot used to attach the mecate to a hackamore is also used to adjust the size of the hackamore noseband by taking more or less wraps of the mecate around the base of the noseband just in front of the heel knot.

The bosal is ridden with two hands, and uses direct pressure, rather than leverage.It is particularly useful for encouraging flexion and softness in the young horse. Bosals are intended for use by experienced trainers and should be used with caution by beginners, as they can be harsh in the wrong hands.