I made myself a mecate the other night. No, it’s not some sort of South American recipe—it’s the rein and lead combination you see a lot of buckaroos and vaqueros use with a bosal or a regular bridle. The mecate dates back to the time of the Conquistadors, and is pronounced “may-kah’-tay”. They are commonly made from twisted or braided horsehair and cost a pretty penny.
Anyway, I borrowed a bosal from my folks recently, for my gelding who doesn’t like the bit, and needed to put a set of reins on it. Not wanting to spend a lot on my own version of the mecate, I went to our local farm supply store that carries bulk spools of poly rope, and brought home a 20 foot length of black 3/4″ poly rope. (They didn’t have white, but my horse is black anyway, so I figured it wouldn’t look too bad.) I used a burning match to melt each end of the rope to prevent unraveling. Then I looked up “how to tie a mecate” on the internet, and found some really good instructions. Within ten minutes I had myself a mecate.
I wanted to share my new-found horse knowledge on my cowgirl blog, so I’ve spent a couple days on these drawings to illustrate tying a mecate. Hope somebody can get some use out of them….as in learning how to tie your own rope. But don’t you dare steal my step by step drawings to use on your own website—draw your own! That’s what I did.
1. Hold the bosal so that the knot is pointing to the right. Put one end of your mecate rope down through the V in the bosal, close to the knot. If your mecate has a tassel, put the tassel end down through the V, so it’s hanging just below the knot. The other end will be the lead rope end.
3. Depending on the size of your horse, make one, two, or three wraps to narrow the noseband to fit your horse. An average sized horse would need just two wraps.
5. Make sure the reins do not twist, and that they are the correct length to hold comfortably from the horse’s back. Then secure them with another wrap of the rope in front of where the reins come out.
6. Bring the end of the mecate rope around and slip between the reins and the final wrap and pull until snug.
Toby likes his new bosal and mecate. I like it because it’s easy to tie him up when saddling, and you don’t have to fool with changing headgear before you head out. The bosal is nice on his face, doesn’t bother his sensitive mouth, and is safer and prettier than riding him in a halter. I’m super excited to see how well it works.