The Secret to Tying Your Mecate Lead to Your Saddle

A mecate is a continuous (direct) rein with a lead, made of a single piece of twisted horse mane hair or nylon, and used on hackamores (bosals) and on snaffles with slobber straps. When you dismount, the lead is used to lead but not tie your horse. While you’re riding, the doubled slip knot is a good knot to use to tie your mecate lead to your saddle with your saddle strings.

When you get ready to tie the lead to your saddle, coil the lead clockwise. Be sure to leave enough length in the mecate lead that your horse can turn its head freely in either direction but not so much that it will step through the lead as you ride. When you want to get off and lead your horse, just pull the slip knot loose.

Follow along on the attached guideline to correctly tie the mecate to your saddle.

  1. Coil mecate lead and place it between your saddle strings (right-most string [a] under coil and left-most string above coil) at the swell (fork or pommel). I like to place the coiled mecate here facing backwards (flip it over 180o) as this prevents the coil from feeding out as I ride. Many riders like to tie it on as it was coiled. Either way is acceptable. With the right-most saddle string under the coils make a complete loop over the top of the coils.
  2. Lay the left saddle string [o] on top of the mecate coils. Make a loop in the right saddle string and hold it with your right hand.
  3. Bring the left saddle string over the top of the free end of the right string and place it through the loop in the right string to make a new loop. Hold this loop steady with your right hand. With your left hand pull the tail of the original right saddle string (now on the left) tight.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to finish the doubled slip knot.

Tying mecate to saddle

Mecates were introduced to the North American west by the Spanish vaqueros in the late 17th to early 19th centuries. The Spanish vaqueros taught the early Californians their traditional training techniques including the use of the hackamore with mecate.

Mecates range in diameter from 3/8 to 3/4 inch. The diameter used is determined by the stage of training and size of hackamore being used. The larger diameters are used on green horses and smaller diameters on more advanced horses. The 3/8-inch mecate is generally used only with the bosalita in the 2 rein outfit.

Dennis Moreland Tack produces both mane hair and nylon mecates in assorted sizes and lengths. Don’t hesitate to call 817-312-5305 or email dmtack@vrfmail.com if I can assist you with mecate information or selection.

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