A Homemade Mecate

by Cowgirl on November 16, 2010 · 4 comments

Bosal and MecateI 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.


How To Tie a Mecate
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. 




How To Tie a Mecate 2. Wrap the rope around both sides of the bosal,starting close to the knot and wrapping towards the noseband. Squeeze the noseband tightly together as you make your wrap.


How To Tie a Mecate 

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. 



How To Tie a Mecate
4. Pull a long loop up through the bosal to form the reins. 


How To Tie a Mecate
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. 


How To Tie a Mecate
6. Bring the end of the mecate rope around and slip between the reins and the final wrap and pull until snug.



How To Tie a Mecate
7. If you’ve done these steps correctly, the reins will come out at the top of the knot, and the lead and tassel will hang down from the bottom of the knot.



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.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

silverslider November 17, 2010 at 3:44 am

Another idea….video.

Cowgirl June 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm

That’s a good suggestion, SilverSlider. :) A video sure would have been faster than drawing all of these illustrations. But I love drawing, so it’s okay.

TNCowgirl March 24, 2013 at 3:00 am

Thank you so much for the pictures! I’ve tried to learn this by watching videos and you cannot see exactly what they are doing… I finally have my mecates tied to my bosal right! Thanks again…

Cowgirl March 28, 2013 at 3:58 am

Glad to be a help, TNCowgirl! I really enjoyed tying my own, knowing I was saving a ton of money, and could adjust its length to fit my horse and my preferences. I’m glad it worked for you.

Previous post:

Next post: