How to Tie a Bosal

A bosal (boh-sall) is a type of bit-less bridle often used in training young horses in preparation for a bit. Combined with a mecate (muh-cah-tee), the traditional rope reins used with a bosal, a type of bridle combination known as the hackamore is created. This article explains how to tie mecate reins to the bosal, in a process also known as tying a hackamore knot.[1]


  1. Image titled Tie a Bosal Step 1
    Place the bosal correctly. Locate the area of your horse’s nose on which the bosal should be located. Feel for the ‘V’ shape formed by the bones in your horse’s nose; the bosal should sit just above this ‘V’. Too much lower, and it will begin to put pressure on the sensitive and fragile bones and cartilage, possibly causing serious damage.[2]
  2. Image titled Tie a Bosal Step 2
    Check the bosal’s fit. A well-fitting bosal will sit on the nose, and contour perfectly to the shape of your horse’s face (no matter the thickness of the band). If there is any gapping at all, whether it be loose all around or spacing along the sides, the bosal does not fit. Using an ill-fitting bosal can cause sores on the horse’s face, place pressure on sensitive bones which can break, and cause your horse general discomfort and lessen their ability to respond to you. Have a professional help you with the fitting if you’re not sure.[3]
  3. Image titled Tie a Bosal Step 3
    Prepare the bosal to tie to the mecate. If you are certain the bosal fits your horse, take it off and hold it so that the knot on the bottom is sideways and pointing to the right (in your left hand). Pick up the mecate in your right hand, and hold one end near the knot of the bosal.
  4. Image titled Tie a Bosal Step 4
    Place the end of the mecate through the bosal. The bosal should form a sideways “V” shape with the knot pointed to the right; slide the end of the mecate through the top of the “V”, and leave only a few inches sticking out the other end.
  5. Image titled Tie a Bosal Step 5
    Wrap the long end of the mecate around the knot. Hold the short end in the “V” of the bosal, and wrap the long end around the two rope pieces that jut out from the knot of the bosal. The number of times you wrap it will depend on the size of your horse’s face, but will vary from 1-3 times. Squeeze the noseband as you do this, to keep the wrapping tight and to help gauge an accurate size for the bosal.
  6. Image titled Tie a Bosal Step 6
    Pull the long end of the mecate through the bosal to form the reins. Continue holding the noseband and wrappings tight, and pull a long “U” shaped loop through the center of the bosal just above where you wrapped it with the rope. This will form your reins, so pull it to be as long/short as necessary.
  7. Image titled Tie a Bosal Step 7
    Secure the mecate reins. With the remaining long tail end of the mecate, wrap it around the bosal in front of the reins you have just formed. Pull this tightly to make sure that the reins are secure.
  8. Image titled Tie a Bosal Step 8
    Finish tying the mecate. Take the tail end of the mecate and pull it through the center of the reins/final wrap to tighten and secure the reins. If the aforementioned steps have been accomplished correctly, the reins should come out from the top and the lead rope/mecate tassel end will come out the bottom.[4]


  • Bosals come in a varying range of thickness depending on your horse's sensitivity and level of bridle training.

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