Note: Links with green underlines are shopping links and will open in a new window
What Is... A Horse Bosal
A bosal is a piece of equipment put on a horse's head for riding. A bosal, when used with a hanger and mecate, is called a hackamore. The three main parts of a hackamore are:
- The hanger (sometimes called a headstall, this is the part that goes over the horse's head, behind the ears).
- The mecate, or reins. Traditional mecates are made from horsehair but some may be made from nylon or other synthetic materials. The nicer horsehair mecates are made from mane hair, but some are made from tail hair, which is coarser.
- The bosal. The bosal goes around the nose of the horse and has a knot at the back, underneath the horse's chin.
Below: A hackamore.
Typically, a hackamore is used for training and as the horse progresses he or she will usually move out of the hackamore and into a bit. Although every horse trainer has their own way of doing things, it is common for an unbroke horse to be started in a snaffle bit, then moved into a snaffle and a hackamore together. The horse then usually graduates to a hackamore alone. When the horse reaches an advanced stage in the hackamore, it will often then be ridden in both a hackamore and a curb bit, then ultimately ridden in a curb bit alone.
However, the above description doesn't have to be the case: Some horses are ridden in a hackamore, either entirely or for certain activities, their entire life.
Bosal Construction and Diameters
Bosals are commonly made from rawhide braided over a core also made of rawhide. You can sometimes find a bosal with a metal core, but most professionals despise these as being too rigid and wouldn't consider using this type. Bosals have a large knot at the back, 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. Bosals come in a variety of diameters, with the largest diameters usually used on the greenest (most inexperienced) horses and the smaller diameters on more advanced horses.
"Hackamore" vs. "Mechanical Hackamore"
To most horse people a true hackamore is made up of a hanger, a mecate, and a bosal. However, there is another piece of equipment that is also often called a hackamore. This other hackamore, though, is more correctly referred to as a "mechanical hackamore."
A mechanical hackamore is also put on a horse's head for riding, but it is considered a piece of equipment best used on a broke horse, not a horse in training. A mechanical hackamore works off of leverage, whereas a bosal does not, so a mechanical hackamore can exert more force upon a horse by the rider, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
There is a popular type of mechanical hackamore called a Little S hackamore that offers less leverage than a typical mechanical hackamore and is therefore popular with a lot of riders. You can read more about it here: Little S Hackamores.
When talking to other horse people and the term "hackamore" comes up, you may need to listen closely or even ask a few questions to find out exactly which piece of equipment they are referring to.
Below: A mechanical hackamore.
You might also like...
- Attach A Leather Rope Strap
- Bridle A Horse
- Buy Cowboy Stuff On eBay
- Care For A Silk Wild Rag
- Care For Your Felt Cowboy Hat
- Care For Your Saddle Pad Or Blanket
- Close A Gate With A Chain Latch
- Estimate Cattle Age By Their Teeth
- Estimate A Horse's Weight
- Estimate Western Cinch Size
- Fishtail Braid Your Horse's Tail
- Flatten Cow Horn
- Make A Collapsible Wood Saddle Rack
- Make A Flag Boot Out Of A Horn
- Make Homemade Hoof Conditioner
- Make Homemade Horse Fly Spray
- Measure A Horse's Girth
- Measure A Horse's Height
- Measure A Western Saddle Seat
- Put A Horn Knot On Your Rope
- Put A Speed Burner On A Honda
- Recognize Common Horse Colors
- Recognize Common Horse Face Markings
- Saddle A Horse
- Stop A Saddle From Squeaking
- Take Horse Pictures
- Tie A Honda
- Tie A Horse
- Tie A Quick Release Knot
- Tie A Stopper Knot
Tie a stopper knot for the end of a rope,
or a metal, rawhide, or plastic honda
- Tie A Stopper Knot For A Honda
Tie a stopper knot for a tied honda
- Tie A Wild Rag Knot
- Trim A Bridle Path
- Turn Blevins Buckles Over
- Turn Western Stirrups
- Understand Leather / Hide Thickness
- Whiten Bone
- Wrap A Saddle Horn With Rubber
What Is / Are...
- What Are 5 Reasons Horse Trailer Lighting Matters?
- What Are Chestnuts and Ergots?
- What Are Cowboy Chinks?
- What Are Horns?
- What Are Horse Blood Marks?
- What Are Horse Vaccines and How Do They Work?
- What Are Leads?
- What Are Saddle Rigging Positions?
- What Are Some Interesting Horse Facts?
- What Are Some Interesting Charts and Graphs With Horse Information?
- What Are Some Options For Temporary Horse Fencing?
- What Are Slobber Straps?
- What Are Synthetic Saddles Made Of?
- What Is The Angle System For Branding?
- What Is A Bosal?
- What Is A Bull Riding Vest Made Of?
- What Is A Domain Name?
Why would I need one for my farm or ranch even if I don't have or want a website?
- What Is A Fifth Wheel Trailer Hitch?
- What Is Flag and National Anthem Etiquette At A Rodeo?
- What Is Floating A Horse's Teeth?
- What Is Freeze Branding?
- What Is Freeze Branding......What Do Horse Freeze Brands Look Like?
- What Is A Galvayne's Groove?
- What Is A Gooseneck Trailer Hitch?
- What Is A Headstall?
- What Is Hermann Oak Leather?
- What Is Larvicidal De-Worming?
- What Is The Mark Out Rule?
- What Is A Nord Fork?
- What Is The Rodeo Return Gate?