Friday, January 2, 2009

Mecate Reins and Hackamores- A Brief History....

The Mecate Reins are fast becoming the Rage of the Sage because they are so versatile....

The Mecate is the rein portion of the horse tack, called the Hackamore. The Hackamore is a type of headgear for horse training. The unique part of the Hackamore is that it does not have a bit. It uses a braided noseband called a Bosal. The Bosal is a special type of noseband that works on pressure points on the horse's face, nose, and chin. The Mecate is a rope made from horse hair or soft feeling rope that serves as reins and lead rope.

The history of the Hackamore and Mecate goes all the way back to 4,000 BC. The first Hackamore was probably a piece of rope placed around the nose or head of a horse not long after domestication. These early devices for controlling horses may have been adapted from equipment used to control Camels. Over time, this means of controlling a horse became more sophisticated.

The Persians in 500 BC were one of the first to use a thick plaited noseband to help the horse look and move in the same direction. This was called a Hakma. On this Hakma was a third rein added at the nose, which allowed the rider to achieve more power from the horse. Later this third rein moved from the top of the noseband to under the chin, where it is still part of the modern Bosal style Hackamore with Mecate reins.

The Hackamore used in the United States came from the Spanish Vaqueros in California. From this, the American Cowboy adopted two different uses, the "Buckaroo" tradition closely resembling that of the original Vaqueros and the "Texas" tradition which blended some Spanish techniques with methods from the eastern states.

These types of Hackamores include the Bosal and side pull. The Bosal Hackamore uses the Vaqueros tradition of the braided noseband and the Mecate rope.

The Mecate is tied to the Bosal in a specialized manner that adjusts the fit of the Bosal around the muzzle of the horse and creates both a looped rein and a long free end that can be used for a number of purposes.

For the mounted rider, the free end is coiled and attached to the saddle or tucked under your belt. When the rider dismounts, the lead rein is not used to tie the horse to a solid object but used as a lead rope and a form of lunge line when needed.

The traditional Mecate used by the California Vaqueros was made from the long hair of a horse's tail and was hand braided. Modern Mecates are made with horse hair and synthetic rope with a horse hair tassel at one end and a leather popper at the other end.

A properly tied Mecate knot allows wraps of rope to be added to the knot in front of the rein loop in order to tighten the Bosal noseband on a horse or the rope can be unwrapped to loosen the Bosal.

This Vaquero style of Hackamore is used in Western Riding and is an indispensable part of the Vaquero way of making a California reined horse. It is also used with horses that have dental issues, where a bit would be painful. Some riders also like to use this style of Hackamore in the winter instead of a frozen metal bit.

The side pull Hackamore or headstall is a modern design inspired by the Bosal style. This style has a heavy noseband with side rings that attach the reins on either side of the head. This allows very direct pressure to be applied from side to side.

The noseband is made of leather, rawhide, or rope with a leather or synthetic strap under the jaw. It is held on by a leather or synthetic headstall.

This style of Hackamore is great for beginning riders.

Buckaroo Leather Uses the Vaquero Influence

Buckaroo Leather uses the influence of the Vaquero when creating the many styles of Hackamores and Mecates.

The Complete Mecate Snaffle Bridle Set (as pictured above) has 3/4" Harness Cowboy Knotbrow Headstall, Hand Tooled Basket Design Slobber Straps, and Earth Tone Mecate with hand Engraved "OLD MEXICO" Silver or Brass Conchas and Buckle Sets to match!

Buckaroo also offers many traditional "Old mexico" hand braided Rawhide Bosals.

A variation of the Hackamore is called "Mecate Snaffle Bridle Reins" (see how to tie video). It is used as a rein system for a bridle with a bit. The Mecate Reins are meant to be used with slobber straps to connect to the snaffle bits.. The slobber straps protect the Mecate and helps provide a quick release for training the horse. This variation is used by the Natural Horseman. And has become very popular with Nevada and High Desert Buckaroos...

Buckaroo Leather makes slobber straps (pictured above) to attach your Mecate to your snaffle. Buckaroo makes many different styles from plain get the job done to custom hand tooled leather. Our most popular slobber straps are the ones with a buckle. The buckle allows you to buckle on or off the bit without having to untie your Mecate.

Buckaroo Leather has all your Hackamore, Mecate, and slobber strap needs. We have many styles to choose from and all are fashioned from the highest grade American Made leather, from Hermann Oak Leather. The quality of our horse tack can not be beat!! You will love our style but come back for the quality!

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving
the Western Horseman the safest most durable Quality
American made leather horse tack.......

Buckaroo John Brand

Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand
Visit Our Unique Store Today
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To watch Video on Tying
Mecate to Snaffle Bit Bridle
Click Here


redheadedcowgirl said...

Another great blog by Buckaroo John. I really enjoyed reading bout the history of the Mecate Reins and the Vaquero's. Keep up the good work.

Cowboy Bill said...

Thanks for the new blog and video on Mecate Reins. Very informative. Keep up the good work.