The Secrets of Selecting a Quality Bosal and Mecate Rein

The Secrets of Selecting a Quality Bosal and Mecate Rein

Finding a Bosal and Mecate/bosal rein: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

Bosal sets that don’t cause pain to your horse.

If you are looking for a mecate rein for the first time, you might be surprised at the price range. A Bosal can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. Let’s face it, quality costs.

Unfortunately, the less expensive bosals that are not tightly braided, with few plaits and made with inexpensive leather or cheaply processed rawhide can peel the hide right off the horse nose and leave blisters and bare spots around the jowls. I know we have all seen those bare spots and know that most bare spots are caused from ill fitting equipment. The white spots are caused when ill fitting equipment has severely damaged the underlying tissue causing unbelievable pain to the horse.

There are several things you want to look at when buying a bosal. A quality Bosal is made from rawhide braided over a core that is also made of rawhide. You can sometimes find a bosal with a metal core, but most professionals will not use these because they are too rigid.

You want to find a bosal that is flexible enough so it can gently shape around the face of your horse. Go to a tack shop and compare the $30.00 bosal to the higher end bosal. You will notice a different in the stiffness, the rigidity and the flexibility within the core itself. Bend the bosal a few times, give it a few twists, and see how it feels in your hands. Is it giving and forgiving? Can you shape it while it is in your hands? Will it Flex and recover? It should be soft and flexible. Image how an inflexible bosal will feel to your horse. An inflexible bosal will leave your horse no way out to be released from any pain. That is how most behavioral problems start.

Your horse is looking for that release and back to a place of comfort so look for a bosal that is built on a rawhide core to provide for the most flexibility. You will be thankful that you spent the extra cash, because a quality bosal is almost impossible to wear out.

Take a good look at the braiding. Can you tell how many plaits are in the braid? Next, you need to take a look at how many “plaits” in the braiding that have been used in the making of the bosal.

Here is how to tell how many “plaits” are in the braid.

Look at just one of the laces and count how many rawhide laces are going under it. If you count 3 just multiply by 4 and you have a 12 plait braid. A quality bosal with have at least a 12 plait braid on the cheeks but you want more on the nose band. Since the weight of the bosal will be carried on the nose of your horse, you want the lacing to be made of thinner, softer laces. I like at least a 24 plait braid on the nose.

The more plaits in the braid the finer the leather the braider used and it makes the weight from the bosal softer on the horse. So the more plaits the braider used the more the bosal is going to cost.

Now run your hand over the bosal. Is it rough in your hands? Does the braid have high spots and more bulk that pulls on your skin? If it does, it will pull on your horse’s skin as well.

The area where the bosal rides is over soft, sensitive tissue so you want to look for the bosal that glides across your own skin. The cheaper bosal have less plaits and the leather or the rawhide is bulky and they have high spots that will tear the shin.

Also, I suggest that you look for American made leather and rawhide, because it truly does matter how the leather or rawhide was processed. The chemicals alone used on imported materials can also cause damage to your horse.

Also remember, that in America when we talk about leather we assume the leather came from a cow, however, a lot of the newer, less expensive items comes from imported leather. Now you are looking at the possibility that the leather is made from water buffalo. Leather that is made from water buffalo has more natural oil, it is stiffer, not as flexible and severely chemically processed, some even being processed with urine. So take that into consideration with the imported leather. It is important. One easy way to tell if the leather is water buffalo, is to smell it. Water Buffalo does not have that leather smell and it always seems to have oil on it. It is slicker.

Like most training equipment you want to look for a piece that will last, that is right for you, your training methods and your horse. I have seen more customers buy cheaper equipment and pay for Vet bills later. Ask yourself, how much is it worth to you not to inflict any pain on your horse? That is the largest price both you and your horse will pay.

As you look the bosal over, you will notice that the bosal has a large knot at the back of the bosal. This knot goes behind the horse’s chin. The knot provides weight so that when a rider touches the mecate the shift in weight is noticeable to the horse. You will want to check to see that the braid is tight and when you are first starting a horse, you want one with some weight to the knot to help the horse respond to the pull.

Bosals come in a variety of diameters. To start out a green horse, you want a bosal with a larger diameter. Most experienced trainers start with the 3/4 inch bosal. It has more weight for an easier feel for the horse and spreads the pull over a larger area. As training process you can go to a smaller diameter.

The colors in the bosal and the design can get intricate which will raise the price significantly in a bosal. They look great, but for all practicality, you can save a few bucks and skip the design. However, they sure look pretty in the show ring.

The making of a Quality Mecate Rein.

Let’s start with the right size.

Do you want to know what size Mecate rein to use for your newly purchased bosal? Most people, even trainers have no idea what size or how many strands it should have. You want to use a mecate rein that is a least as thick as the diameter as the bosal. So if you purchase a 3/4 inch bosal look for a 3/4 inch mecate rein.

The standard length for a Horse size Mecate is 22 feet. If you are using the mecate on a Cob size horse or pony, you might like the 16 foot ones better. Don’t worry 22 feet sounds like a lot of rein, but you once the mecate is tied correctly, part of the reins is used for a lead.

When looking for your mecate rein, remember again, quality matters. Try not to buy a mecate rein made out of tail hair. It will be “prickly” in your hands forever. Tail hair is course and stiffer than mane hair. On the market, tail hair is more readily available so it is less expensive and the hairs are also a lot longer so it makes it faster to make the reins.

But trust me when I tell you, that you will never be happy with the feel of a tail Hair Mecate in your hands. Mane hair is finer, thinner, and softer than tail hair. When you first use mane hair, it might feel a little prickly until the fine hair ends wear down, but use a Mane hair mecate rein a few times and it becomes baby soft, tail hair does not.

Making a mecate rein is very time consuming. A quality mecate reins is hand-twisted by a master braider with mane hair. When a master braider twists the reins by hand this allows him to create endless combinations of patterns all boldly designed and done in a multiple of colors using natural mane hair. We hardly every have two patterns come in exactly the same pattern.

The price of the mecate rein will depend on a several things. First, is whether he mecate is made from tail hair or from mane hair. The most preferred is the mecate made from mane hair.

Let’s look at how many Strands of hair the Mecate has. It is Easy to tell how many strands the mecate is made from. Just count how many strands there are before the pattern repeats.

If the rein is a solid color, give the rein a twist in the opposite direction of the twist. In a quality mane hair braid the hair stands easily separate and it is easy to count the number of strands in the rein. The higher number of strands will add a lot more strength and provide for less stretch in the rein.

The third thing that will determine the price is the material used in the center of the mecate: its’ core. While you have it twisted in the opposite direction, check to see what they have used for the core of the braid. Is it horse hair? The center should be a core of Braided Horse hair. By using horse hair as the core, the flexibility will remain in the mecate.

Have you ever noticed a mecate reins that never seems to never unroll and goes in all directions? This is because the manufacture used inferior material for the core of the rein. So while you’re twisting and looking, take a look at the core.

Another great thing about having the entire rein made of horse hair is the fact that you can easily maintain the rein and wash the rein without any damage. Make sure you learn to care for your new mecate reins.

From this point on the colors of the bosal and the mecate are all most endless. Some horseman chose a one ear or a no ear headstall, but a brow band headstall will help stabilize the Bosal as well.