These are the coloured rawhide strands (e.g. red, black, tan, natural) which create a decorative pattern, they may appear on any part of the bosal including nose button, cheeks or its entirety e.g. linear accent design , natural accents on a black latigo nosebutton


Technique where the edge of the strand of rawhide or leather is sloped, to prevent curling/lifting

Bosal - (Bozal) from Spanish meaning; muzzle

The rawhide nose band

[Parts of the bosal]
Parts of the bosal

Bosal -Sizing (measured by the bars)

3/4” for potentially larger horses
5/8” size normally tended to start horses
1/2” transition into the two rein
3/8” - 1/4” (bosalito) inch for two reining

[Bosal Measurements]
Bosal Measurements

The internal depth of the bosal can range from 10” to 12.”+ , however the average depth being around 11” - 11.5”. Significant adjustment is possible with the use of a shaper and the wrapping of the mecate which can be used to shorten the bosal however this will impact on the balance.

Bosal - Shaping

Bosals can be shaped around a block shaper with a latigo strap. This enables the nose button and cheeks to be pulled into the required shape to suit the profile of the horse.

Bosal - Nose Button

The nose button sits on across the nose of the horse, displacing its weight evenly and rolling when a contact is taken. This consists of a higher number of plaits over a rawhide core. Lengths can vary from 5” to 7”.

Bosal - Side Buttons

These are the 2 small buttons which are at the end of the nose button on each side. Normally higher quality bosals will weave the top button into the nose button with the button beneath being separate. The space between these buttons is where the latigo or headstall is secured. As well as support they provide a contact pressure point.

Bosal - Cheeks/Bars/Shanks

These are the bars either side of the of bosal which contact the lower jaw line as the secondary contact point.

Bosal - Heel Knot & Plug

Acts as a counter balance to the nose button and provides the stop point for the mecate reins. There are different shapes of heel knot depending on the braiders preference including the pineapple and the more elongated pear profile. Dependent on the design of the bosal a gap may be visible above the heel knot and between the bars, this is sometimes referred to as the “plug”.

Bosal - Plaits

These are the exterior braiding to cover the core. Plaits can vary from 8 to 60+ per cheek

Bosal - Flex/Stiffness

The flex of the bosal is determined by a variety of criteria including; a. type of hide and preparation, b. braided rawhide or twisted rawhide core, c. braiding technique. The more advanced the horse the more flex.


Leather made from the skins of calves.


Rawhide core is a hard but flexible centre of the bosal and may be twisted or braided.

Fiador - (Fee-ah-dohr) from Spanish meaning; gurantor/surety

The Fiador is the name of the knot which forms part of the rope throat latch attached to the headstall however it is used as a collective reference for this component. It provides added strength and security and thus prevents the horse from jostling the bosal and headstall off its head/pulling it off.


Hackamore - (Hah-key-mah) : from Spanish word Jaquima

Refers to the complete rig - headstall or hanger, mecate, bosal and fiador.

Hackamore Knot

This is the knot used to secure the Fiador (throatlatch) to the heel of the bosal


A hanger is a single piece of tack which may be braided rawhide with button adjustment or a latigo with/without a bleed knot or buckle adjustment which is positioned behind the ears of the horse.


A headstall is a piece of tack that fits over the ears of the horse either with a crownpiece, browband, cheek straps and which may or may not include a throatlatch,


This is the pelt from animals such as cow or horse. The word skin is used to describe pelts from smaller creatures such as Goat, calf, sheep.

Mecates - (May-kah-tay) from Spanish meaning; rope

Mecates can either be hand or machine twisted with an average length of 22ft (although longer mecates exist up to 30ft). Wrapping around the heel knot of the bosal they form a loop rein with lead rope.

Mecate characteristics

8 strand weave
6 strand weave
Made from Horse Hair (mane softer than tail)
Made from Mohair, Yak,
Made from Alpaca (soft feel)
With raw hide, hitched knots and leather poppers
Single and multi-coloured combinations

Mecate - Wrapping

The number of wraps will vary depending on various factors (see set up). The wraps sit above the fiador and heel knot.


The leather latigo attached to the end of a mecate rein. It secures the strands as serves as a whip.


A Quirt is short braided whip with a large leather thong at the end


An untanned hide

Romal reins

Braided rawhide reins with a Romal attached to the closed reins. The Romal which is approximately 3’ in length, is a separate braided extension with a leather thong at its tip.

Turks Head

The finishing knot which may appear on the end of the mecate, also referred to as a braided wreath.