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Midnight Foal
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 Posted: Fri Nov 22nd, 2013 08:26 am
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Hey all!

Lately I've been thinking about getting a bosal as I'd like to try my horse in one, and there is another horse that I'm working with that I think would benefit from being ridden in something that doesn't have a bit. She rather dislikes bits.

I have researched a little bit, and will be doing more research, but I was wondering if you guys have any input on what is best to get. Quite honestly, I have never used a bosal or seen a bosal being used, well other then in pictures and on youtube, so I am not at all sure what to look for or avoid. Which is why I'm here. :)

I've ridden my horse in a halter before, though not extensively, and she responds well, she can neck rein to an extent. She has just turned 6 in October, so she is still pretty young. The other horse that I'm working is very flighty and nervous, I've been doing a lot of ground work with her and haven't ridden her a lot, she can't turn very well, and isn't really very balanced, though she is getting better. They're both Thoroughbreds.

I'm thinking that if I get a bosal I need to get a fairly thick one, but besides that I'm not really sure.
So the questions are, what do I want to look for/avoid in a bosal, what kind to bosal do you think would suite 2 fairly inexperienced horses, and do you think a bosal is a good way forward for wanting to stop using a bit?

Thanks for you time and any wisdom you can impart. =)

AdamTill
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 Posted: Fri Nov 22nd, 2013 01:10 pm
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I'm going to give you the California answer. It's not the only set of opinions, but it's the one I've been taught.

A bosal should be fit like a good cowboy hat - no gaps all around, but not tight. Like any true horsemanship tool, it works by release, and so free movement of the bosal is critical. This is a photo of my horse in a 5/8 bosal (the nose branches are 5/8 dia) the first day I received it:
http://www.easphotography.com/Tindur/TindurBosal.jpg
Note that, even though it hasn't been shaped yet, the shadows show that it fits the contours of his nose really well.

Compare that to this:
http://home.datacomm.ch/michaela.wiedmer/Bosal.jpg
...where there are major gaps around the nose.

Likewise, since precision use of the tool requires that the drop off of the rein be as quick as possible, the shorter the nose button (the distance over the nose between the points which the hanger attaches) the better, within reason. Most store bought bosals are WAY too long in this regard. The longer the nose button, the slower the drop off.

Go back to the above photos, and you can see how the other horse has the bosal tie on halfway down the nose. This is a poor option. People often to so to avoid having the hanger in the horse's eye, but a tie back:
http://calclassics.net/php/learn/tying_hanger.php
...is the proper answer.

Next, the heel knot on the bosal should only be long enough to allow at MOST two or three wraps before the mecate would touch before the heel branches of the bosal do (the mecate should not touch first). This:
http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a4/scotchy42/bosal20black20wide20shot.jpg
...shows another poorly fitted example, with WAY too much room between heel knot and chin. The mecate is inappropriately matched in diameter as well.

Fitted as above, the bosal will bounce and swim, dulling the horse to your requests. You should not have to support the bosal with the reins to keep it in place.

Good general link, though I would probably caution against this supplier as an ordering source based off reports from friends:
http://calclassics.net/php/learn/fittingABosal.php

On the progression and what to start with, the traditional progression is 7/8, 5/8, 1/2 bosals, then 3/8 5/16 etc bosalitas. Most finer bred horses in today's modern programs don't really need the 7/8 step, but there's no reason not to start there.

Here are some photos of fitted bosalitas:
http://www.easphotography.com/Tindur/Bosalita.jpg
http://www.easphotography.com/Tindur/CarlyBosalita.jpg

This is a center hang bosalita, used because that helps the lighter gear have a more defined drop off. This is not done with bosals (ie 1/2" and above).

The hanger itself is important in as much as it should NOT interefere with the movement of the bosal. Light latigo or very light rawhide is preferred. This:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/BosalHorse.jpg
...in inappropriate since you can see how the hanger is trying to restrict the movement of the bosal.

When your horse is comfortable at 3/8, the two rein is usually introduced:
http://www.easphotography.com/Tindur/TindurTwoReinPhoto.jpg

The braiding is something worth examining as well. There should be no sharp edges or rough surfaces (indicating that the strings have not been beveled) at the minimum.

How soft the bosal core is is a matter of debate. I like a fairly stiff core because then I know what my hands do is what the bosal does, but other like a bit more softness. At the minimum the core MUST be rawhide, or it can't be shaped properly.

As you gain experience, you can add other personalizations. Some horses prefer a bit more emphasis on the longtidinal component, so a swelled nose can be requested.  Some need a bit more lateral signal, so "nerve buttons" can be a choice (bad name, but the historical one).

The mecate should be matched to the bosal ideally in both diameter and be appropriate for weight. This again plays into the balance of the gear. Natural materials are most ideal here, and the mecate should ALWAYS be untied after each use or you'll permanently distort the bosal.

The use of a fiador with a hackamore has pros and cons. Traditionally its main upside is that it can be used to balance a bosal that's not ideally sized, and it prevents the bosal pulling off the head in cases of unplanned dismount. Most, however, are heavy enough to interfere with drop off, and that' why I've avoided them. One of the guys I really respect has started to use very fine ones on heavier bosals, and says they can actually help the horse to find the center of the bosal, in that they define its balance in a different way. I've never used one, but based off the last point, plan to experiement with one in the new year. YMMV

Whether you should use a hackamore at all is a matter of some debate. I wouldn't recommend just buying and trying, you should find a master to teach you the basics. I don't believe anymore that it's necessary to see the hackamore as a second step from the snaffle, but there are things you can do in the hackamore to ruin your foundation as well (not releasing fully each time and hanging on the rein, for example).

At the minimum, hackamores are not inherently kinder (or harsher) than bits. They have less lateral signal, so if you aren't proficient in teaching correct lateral flexion, it's harder to do in the bosal. What they do extravagantly well, however, is to lay the foundation to teach the horse to telescope his neck properly.

Hope that helps. I've lived and breathed this for the last few years, and love the old ways.


Last edited on Fri Nov 22nd, 2013 01:30 pm by AdamTill

Midnight Foal
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 Posted: Sat Nov 23rd, 2013 03:27 pm
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Thank you for the reply, I am very thankful for it, it helps a lot!
I was getting a bit confused on fit and what to look for but what you've said has definitely clarified things for me. I've still got to decide whether or not I want to take a chance and get one, but you've given me some really good information to think on. Unfortunately I haven't a master to teach me the basics, but I am keeping an eye out. I'm not particularly hopeful though, as bit-less riding of any kind doesn't seem to be a strong suite of the country where I live (Zimbabwe).
But again, thank you for your wonderful reply, it makes a world of difference! =)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Nov 23rd, 2013 05:49 pm
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Midnight: Before anyone even thinks about putting the Mexican equipment on their horse, the person should have a horse that operates very softly and willingly, in good form, almost exclusively from the leg. This is the same thing as saying that the horse takes and maintains a bend through the mid-part of the ribcage well enough that the bend also bends the lower and middle sections of his neck, so that as a result, when the inside leg asks the horse to bend, the result is that the horse fills or stretches the outside rein.

If this does not make absolutely crystal-clear, perfect sense to you, then you are not ready to be trying to ride in a bosal.

It is not possible to ride a green horse in a bosal. Yes, I know you see people at shows doing it everywhere, but you will understand that we here have very little respect for people at shows, for the way the show rules are written in most cases, or for the actual skill level or depth of knowledge or understanding that is usually evident at the show.

The horse that is green, that is to say the horse that does not take and self-maintain in a bend as above described, is to be ridden either in a sidepull (English jumping hackamore, same thing more or less), or else in a well-fitting snaffle bit. This is the equipment or you might say the tools that are best adapted to teaching the horse to bend so that the teaching you give is clear to the horse.

Notice that the fiador, the point where the mecate is tied onto the nosepiece in the Mexican equipment, is under the horse's chin. This means that you absolutely cannot use a direct-pull when riding in the Mexican equipment. This is why the horse has to be able to almost perfectly obey in bending BEFORE you try riding in the Mexican equipment: it is upside-down, and therefore, the only rein aids that can be used are the receiving or "bearing" rein, i.e. the outside rein properly used; or else the most extremely light touch upon the inside rein. -- Dr. Deb

Midnight Foal
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 Posted: Sun Nov 24th, 2013 01:53 pm
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Thanks very much for your thorough and comprehensive reply.  I so appreciate people taking the time to answer me.  We are on the same page about shows and the people who live for them...

You reminded me of some other aspects that had slipped my mind, and I realize that I need to still do some work before USING the bosal, but am grateful for the information in the meantime while I decide what I would like to be moving toward.

My horse goes well at walk and trot but I'd still want to do more work at canter before I changed her tack at all. She's soft as butter on the bit and works almost purely off my leg, any inability to do so is purely my fault for getting in her way. In canter she's just a bit inexperienced, I've done a lot more work at the walk and trot then at canter so she just needs me to kick my rear into gear.

As for the other horse that I'm working, she is a rather tense little mare, her old bit that her owners used didn't fit well. I changed it to a bit that did fit and she now does every thing I ask as best she can, I just get a feeling that she doesn't like it, she accepts it, she responds to it, she just doesn't completely trust it. I was thinking of putting her in a sidepull to teach her until she is ready to move onto something more.

In my eyes the horses would still be fairly inexperienced by the time they were ready and the bosal would be helping to further their knowledge, which is one of the reasons why I'm thinking of it, I would like to start thinking of what my end goal is. Am I wrong to think this?

Thank you again, what you've said is very helpful and I appreciate it.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Nov 25th, 2013 08:13 pm
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Midnight -- So, OK, what IS your end goal -- in other words, what exactly is the type and "style" of horse you'd like to have when the horse is finished? What type of work do you expect it to do? Nobody can answer this but you.

Only if you're wanting to get totally into the Buckaroo style would there really be a place for the Mexican equipment. And, in that case -- most people who do pursue this route would either breed, or purchase young, a certain horse that they would then totally designate to this end, never doing anything else with it than the old procedure which is, beginning in a snaffle, proceeding to snaffle + bosal, then bosal + bridle-bit (of the spade form, which is to say, the horse in the four reins), then finally "straight up" in the bridle-bit alone. This involves all the time you would put into the designated horse from foalhood until around eight or nine years of age, so that by the time the horse is fully finished, he goes with confidence and complete comfort in the spade bit (although you will still ride him in the snaffle bit sometimes). It also involves purchasing a certain type and cut of saddle, an expensive rawhide-core, multi-plat bosal, and a mane-hair mecate; plus also your own outfit, which should reflect your pride in your accomplishment and which should "go with" the Buckaroo style and look.

Your horse then, so finished and so outfitted, would presumably then be qualified to rope off of (and of course you'd be using a 60-ft. braided leather reata); or else, then to turn cattle back more or less in the manner seen in the maturity classes at the Snaffle Bit Futurity/National Reined Cowhorse events and/or at the Ranch Horsemanship type events that Buck Brannaman competes in and sponsors.

If this was not exactly what you had in mind -- but instead you were just thinking of mucking about with a bosal as a kind of learning experiment but not using the bosal as an integral and pre-planned part of a traditional and complete training procedure, then I would say, well I can't prevent you, and having a well-made, well-fitted, proper type of bosal on your horse a few times won't hurt and might teach you a little about your own deficiencies, i.e. that your horse does not go off the leg quite as well as you might have been thinking he did. For this, I'd try to borrow a rawhide-core bosal off somebody because the real McCoy costs quite a bit of money -- it would seem a high expenditure just to make an experiment.

Cheaper, and will teach you the same things, is to just get a rag and tie it over the horse's nose. Put the rag on first and tie it under the horse's chin, not too tight. Then put your snaffle bridle on over the rag. Finally, tie a piece of rope to the knot you made into the rag. That way, you'll have your snaffle bit on the horse too so that you have a set of "safety reins". You just lay those up on the neck. Then go operate the horse off the set of reins that are tied to the rag-bosal -- Dr. Deb

dbridges
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 Posted: Tue Nov 26th, 2013 11:10 pm
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I would strongly recommend you go to http://www.calclassics.net and study not only the articles they have posted there, but also the bosals that Aaron Winchell makes. Aaron and Dorothy are both exceptionally knowledgeable in this area and very willing to share their wealth of knowledge and experience with you. Unlike others, I do not need to rely on second-hand information that quite possibly comes from hearsay posted on another web site. I am a customer of theirs, have been for quite some time, and will be for the foreseeable future. Also, you will find that unlike a lot of "expert" web sites, they don't charge you to read what they have posted. It is all freely given, and if you call or email them they will be glad to provide you with reliable guidance on what to look for or avoid.
Good luck in your journey!

Last edited on Tue Nov 26th, 2013 11:12 pm by dbridges

AdamTill
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 Posted: Wed Nov 27th, 2013 12:59 pm
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Anyone wanting further information on CalClassics should contact them and Jeff Sanders and make their own mind up, I have no dog in this fight. Just be careful who you buy from given this gear can (and often does) have multi-year waiting lists and a good working hackamore that's only moderately pretty is easily a $6-700 investment.

Just a last point for me:
>Notice that the fiador, the point where the mecate is tied onto the nosepiece in the >Mexican equipment, is under the horse's chin.

I suspect it may just be how I'm reading this, but the fiador I'm referring to isn't a point or a knot, it's a piece of auxilliary tack that somewhat functions like a throatlatch and somewhat like an end stop to the travel of the bosal. A hackamore is a  hackamore with or without a fiador.

Last edited on Wed Nov 27th, 2013 01:16 pm by AdamTill

djbridges
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 Posted: Wed Nov 27th, 2013 03:02 pm
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Adam -
I couldn't agree with you more on both points.

You want to buy quality gear for (1) safety, (2) the comfort of your horse and (3) longevity. Quality gear is more expensive and can take a while to get since you are looking at handwork that is usually made to order.

And it is definitely best to go to the sources of an issue when possible, do your own homework, and make up your own mind. There is definitely an issue between Jeff, Aaron, and Dorothy - it may be personal or it may be professional, I really don't know. Whether any of them will really be willing to discuss it is also unknown. I can only speak to the dealings I have had with Cal Classics. They have always been very open with me and steered me away from making expensive mistakes - even when I was not buying something from them.

The bosal I ordered from them last year took about six weeks to turn around. The mecate I ordered took about a week (it was already made, so no waiting). The handmade scarves from Dorothy took about two or three weeks. Since the bosal and scarves were handcrafted to order, I thought this a very reasonable turnaround time. Aaron and Dorothy make it very clear both on the phone and on their web site that your order may take a while. However, with that said, I found their estimates at the time I ordered were actually a little longer than the time it actually took. But others' results may vary.

So yes, by all means, contact whomever you are considering as a source and question them thoroughly - there is a lot of money and your safety involved here. And if you find disconnects, you need to ask even more questions.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Nov 27th, 2013 08:51 pm
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Adam and DBridges: Well, yes, you're off topic in the sense that the two of you are very likely far ahead in the hobby of Buckaroo-style dress, tack, riding, and training than the original questioner is -- and in that sense, some of your responses are more a discussion among aficionados than they are helpful to a complete beginner.

I don't know any of the parties involved and if they're fighting among one another, that's their bailiwick, not ours. I have left the names up because in this case I think they're both innocuous and germaine in the sense that if Midnight Foal wants to go spend money, it is right to fore-warn them about long waiting times for delivery as well as the high cost of this hobby.

Not that it isn't really a neat way to go, one that I admire when it's done right.

As to the Fiador, Adam, the point of my remarks about that is that the Mexican equipment is upside-down. It got upside-down through a historical quirk, and that's a good story unto itself; but the point for the beginner is to realize that it IS upside-down, i.e. that anytime the point of pull comes from below the level of the commissure of the horse's lips, a direct pull of any force cannot be used -- because if the rider pulls on the right rein it is going to (a) tilt the nose up to the right and (b) turn, or twirl, the horse's head to the left -- neither action wanted or desirable.

What the beginner needs is what, in English riding, is called a jumping hackamore, or in "Western" riding a sidepull. We prefer the leather-nose types in both cases but if a rope-nose is all they have, it will do at least to begin with and especially if padded. In these rigs, the point of pull comes about where it would come if the horse were bitted in snaffle, and when used correctly the outfit rides almost indistinguishably from what it would be if the horse were bitted in snaffle.

Of course, in the historical past -- i.e. the so-called "classical era" from the 16th through 18th centuries in Europe -- the horses were ridden in a cavesson that looks somewhat like a modern longeing cavesson, but usually lighter-weight. There was a ring or hook right atop the bridge of the nose and one or two to each side as well. Obviously when the reins were hooked to the top-center ring, you got the maximum leverage for twirling the head. Sometimes those old boys even had stems on the rings so that they projected upward or outward from the cavesson, offering even more leverage. So their equipment was "right side up", although what we know today is that you don't need LEVERAGE to twirl any horse's head; you need feel and timing instead. Baucher was the first to point this out, in the early 19th century.

What is fascinating though, if you step back and take a more general view of the training process as a whole, is that the "classical" period horse, given the standard or usual training, went through a process identical to the Buckaroo horse, in that he began in the snaffle, then snaffle + cavesson, then cavesson + bit (i.e. a horse in the four reins, and a rather long period in that); finally finished straight up in the bit. Dressage competitors today are not taught history, rather propaganda, so unless they're exceptionally well-read they never realize the fact that Buckaroo is, of all living styles of horsemanship, the closest to "classical dressage", whereas competition-style dressage is very far from classical, indeed is no more similar to the actual European classical school than is reining.

If you want to read up on this, I have taken a standard work of the European 18th century -- the training manual of the Baron Reis d'Eisenberg -- and dissected it down to the last buckle, comparing it to the Spanish Riding School both before and after the depredations of Podhajsky and other Nazis, and to the daughter of that philosophy and approach, which is modern competition dressage. The essay is stuffed with photos and you can read and see all about it by going to our main website at http://www.equinestudies.org , click on "membership" and then buy the 2005 back-issue of the "Inner Horseman" newsletter. -- Dr. Deb

dbridges
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 Posted: Wed Nov 27th, 2013 09:25 pm
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Thank you for the clarification, DrDeb.

Perhaps more germane to Midnight Foal would be some general observations on what to look out for.

First and foremost, be very wary of inexpensive bosals. I recently saw one in a feed store for $30. Great price, horrible gear. It is documented in many places that a lot of inexpensive bosals are not only painful for the horse but can also be unhealthy. When dissected, they are often found to be made of improperly processed rawhide or leather (there is a difference), filled with wires, old newspapers, and fully packed with mold. You do NOT want this anywhere near your horse's nose! While being expensive does not guarantee quality (if it did, then the makers of the cheap bosals in India and Mexico would simply jack up their prices!), it is indicative that there is probably more care taken in producing the tack.

It is doubtful that you will get a quality bosal and/or mecate at a low price. The exception might be an estate sale where the heirs just see an old leather loop when in fact it is a highly desirable piece of tack. You might be able to find used gear at lower prices, but examine this very carefully before buying. For instance, we recently found a barely-used mecate for just over $100 (not a screaming deal, but a good price and it was made by a well-known mecate maker who used to live in Wyoming). But again, you have to know what you are looking at, and that is going to take studying on your part.

A good place to start with general information and technique would be anything by Bill or Tom Dorrance (or their followers, like Buck Brannaman or Ray Hunt). Also, the previously mentioned web sites provide a lot of excellent information for getting started.

As noted before, ask around about the maker and, if possible, talk to the maker in person. If they do not want to answer questions, that is probably a good indication that you do not want to do business with them. But if they can explain why their product is more expensive and what they do to prevent problems with their gear, you are on the right track. Also find out what they will do for you if you run into problems with their products.

I would urge the same approach when it comes to finding a trainer. Anybody can say they're a trainer, and even a good trainer might say they can teach you to ride in the Californio tradition but not understand the nuances involved. As DrDeb points out, there are profound differences at work here, and your trainer needs to be aware of them.

Last edited on Wed Nov 27th, 2013 09:26 pm by dbridges

AdamTill
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 Posted: Thu Nov 28th, 2013 07:14 pm
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DrDeb wrote: As to the Fiador, Adam, the point of my remarks about that is that the Mexican equipment is upside-down. It got upside-down through a historical quirk, and that's a good story unto itself;...

Is that story in Conquerors, by chance? Been a few years since I've read my copy, and I can't remember it. I tended to assume that the reason was because the metal fittings which allow the connection at the nose weren't easily available during the Mission period which refined this gear. Don't remember if that was because I had read that  in your book or somewhere else, though.

While the underhung position does have downsides in lateral flexion, it's amazing how much it clarifies correct longitudinal flexion and telescoping of the neck. By the nature of the action of the bosal, it directly encourages this (very neat to feel).

DrDeb wrote: ...but the point for the beginner is to realize that it IS upside-down, i.e. that anytime the point of pull comes from below the level of the commissure of the horse's lips, a direct pull of any force cannot be used -- because if the rider pulls on the right rein it is going to (a) tilt the nose up to the right and (b) turn, or twirl, the horse's head to the left -- neither action wanted or desirable.

I think this is another point where I can insert a warning and maybe open a discussion point.

I see teachers, even some recommended here, using an opening rein with a hackamore as if they were riding a direct rein setup. Their horses are generally schooled to the point of being able to ignore the twist you describe, but even then, not always if you slow down videos.

While I will never argue with folks like that who are WAY beyond my level of experience, I've found it personally to be much more useful to follow the recommendation of other horsemen who say to never use a hackamore without a post hand and working hand.  Even better, to avoid using two hands at all (except to save one's neck) and instead use an obliquely upward rein to indicate bend (the horse bending opposite to the oblique direction, and the inside rein never moving laterally more than to lay against the neck). This helps to avoid bad habits which are hard to correct later on in the bridle and two-rein phases, and makes the action of the hackamore more congruent with the action of the bridle bit later on.

In the above, I'm generally defining the post hand as being the outside rein, which avoids having the heel knot tip off the vertical. The working hand is the rein which moves.

This may not be for everyone, but it's really helped me. Josh is teaching this now, as well. His focus is for a horse at this level to need little more than a lifting action from the rein, with the work to pick up a correct degree of lateral bend coming from the sidepull phase.

To be fair, others see no issue with single handing this gear, and even Buck Brannaman says he has no issue riding a bridle or hackamore with reins in each hand on occassion. I have no right to argue with that level of expertise, but I can see where other folks caution against ever two-handing for these reasons (establishing bad habits). The poll twisting effects you describe above are even more emphasized in a full spade bit bridle, after all, and tipping the bit off center places the top of a 4 or 5" spoon precariously close to the tooth arcades.

http://workingranchtv.com/up/editor/image/web%20D9.jpg

I just know for myself, when things are getting a little quicker or a bit sideways, I have to work REALLY hard to break the old habits of going to two hands. My horse doesn't need it and the gear doesn't encourage it, it's just a mental thing on my part.

To add onto the recommendations already listed by everyone, when I'm asked the question of what to get, I generally say for the average horse (analagous to QH ~15hh) and an intro (to this tack) rider:

1) nose button (distance between hanger points) no longer than 6.5-7" for ANY size of bosal. This is generally where store-bought ones fall down, being more like 10 or 11"
2) 5/8 branches, latigo wrapped. Braided rawhide branches can have a little too much bite for starting out.
3) If the hanger points are squeezed together so 4" is between them, the vertical measurement from inside of the heel knot to inside the nose button no more than 10.5"-11". Smaller end for light QH or Arab, larger end for foundation type QH or draftier build. Should allow no more than 2-3 wraps.
4) 5/8" mohair mecate. I now prefer mane hair, but the prickles (which wear down with use) take some getting used to for new folks. Yacht braid is more durable, but has less life.
5) twisted rawhide core
6) string count is MUCH less important than the overall smoothness of the braiding. High string count is pretty, but less durable.
7) thin latigo hanger, no hardware.

The gent I got all my hackamores from and who arranged for my bridle bit to be made passed away last year, but Josh Nichol is now able to supply from the same folks. He's a wealth of info, and helps people acquire this gear (and fit it).


Last edited on Thu Nov 28th, 2013 07:24 pm by AdamTill

Midnight Foal
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 Posted: Sun Dec 8th, 2013 12:34 am
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Sorry for the very delayed reply I haven't been able to get online the last little while.
Thank you all for your very helpful comments. They are much appreciated!
DrDeb:
Thank you for your input. I've decided not to get a bosal, I'd like to wait until I have someone experienced teach me how to properly use, fit, and understand a bosal. That might not happen any time soon but in this particular case if I'm going to doing I want to do it right the first time.
However I shall definitely try the rag bosal, I'm always open to things that teach me and improve my horsemanship.

My intentions of using a bosal would be for a Buckaroo style horse though I wouldn't  be able to compete here, and my focus wouldn't be on competing anyway. But I would want my horse to be show worthy. Of course If I was going to start using a bosal I'd want to get the best quality I could, although I realize good tack doesn't instantly make a good horse, good , well fitted tack, does make the horse more comfortable and is much safer.

I shall defiantly have to try and get the 'Inner Horsemanship' newsletter when I get the chance.
 
dbridges:
Thank you, I will go and take a look and see what I can learn from their site.
I'm very picky about quality, I tend to drive my family and friend nuts with my picky-ness. Thank you, I shall definitely  keep that in mind when the time comes, I'll also go and look at anything that Bill or Tom Dorrance, or Buck Brannaman or Ray Hunt has shared.

Yes, trainers are a very tricky business, I've actually stopped riding with one as there seems to be no one I've been comfortable with. I'd rather work off the feedback that the horse gives me then blindly follow a horse 'trainer' who's methods I don't agree with anyway.  Unfortunately there isn't very much horse knowledge around these parts, only just lately has there been some new knowledge coming in, and things are still moving very slowly.
 
Adam Till:
I honestly have no comment on using an opening rein or post hand and working hand because I have never used a bosal and have absolutely no idea which is better.
But thank you for the wonder full information you've provided, I'm stashing it all away on paper (along with everyone else's wise words) so that I can refer back to it if need be. =)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Dec 8th, 2013 02:17 am
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Midnight -- Having a bosal on your horse, or learning about and practicing the Buckaroo style, most certainly does not imply anything about "show worthiness". In fact, quite the opposite -- Buckaroo is a hobby or even a lifestyle; it is an attitude and an approach; it is an old tradition being maintained by dedicated aficionados. Sometimes the aficionados get together, and then it IS a competition, more or less; and I won't say that a lot of the people who go to events like the "Californios" or Ranch Roping events don't take that aspect very seriously, too. However, for almost all of them, and certainly for the best of them, their ability to compete effectively is a SIDE EFFECT of living the lifestyle and practicing the traditional ways every single day.

It is a very great mistake for anyone to make "horse showing" or competition in any form their main goal or the center of their life. A wrong approach of that kind has ruined many peoples' lives, both within the horse world and in other walks of life, and I'm not just talking about sports either.

I repeat: the horses seen at shows, the riders on those horses, the headgear, the saddles, the techniques, and the results are, almost 100% of the time, crummy. Their ethics and standards are low and reflect a great deal of oafishness, clumsiness, thoughtlessness, hardheartedness, and ignorance. Never, ever take the standards or the performances you see at horse shows as your standard or ideal. This applies to the Olympics as much as to the local horse show. To find REAL standards and ideals, you must go elsewhere -- you must find a real horseman or horsewoman who is willing to be your teacher.

I was tipped off, you see, in your first post where you mention that your horse "sort of neck reins". This tells me that you probably don't know what "neck reining" is; it tells me that you think what it means is that you move your hand that's holding the reins across the neck, from one side to the other, so that you pull the rein up snug against one side of the horse's neck and then you expect him to turn away from that. I repeat: this is NOT how neck-reining is really supposed to work, but it IS what you see on TV, in movies, and at horse shows. This is what I mean by there being a great deal of oafishness and ignorance; it's what I mean by the standards being low.

So, now that you've decided not to get a bosal just yet, you know what you DO have to do, and that is you need to learn how to neck-rein "for real". And to learn that, you'll also have to get educated about the following things:

-- Straightness, what it is and how important it is, and how to teach yourself to teach your horse how to go straight when he's being longed and when he's carrying you on his back. Start by going to our main website at http://www.equinestudies.org, click on "knowledge base", and download the free .pdf entitled "Lessons from Woody". Study this paper and please feel free to write back here with any questions that occur to you.

-- Collection, what it is and how important it is. This is explained in the two free .pdf's called "True Collection" and "The Ring of Muscles".

Now, mind you, you will not be able to achieve straightness, nor either collection, merely by reading these essays. However, they'll help you get started. The next step after you look at them will be to make arrangements to go see Harry Whitney, or Josh Nichol, or Buck Brannaman, or Tom Curtin, or Melanie Smith-Taylor. What I'm telling you, Midnight, is that you cannot learn the major nuts-and-bolts of horsemanship apart from being taught directly by someone who has truly mastered these things, and who is also good at explaining them one-on-one.

I will warn you that I have zero sympathy for anybody who writes in here and says "but I want these things SO much" or "I truly care about my horse's welfare", but does not make any effort to go find the people I have above mentioned. There really can be no excuse: if you have enough money to own a horse, you also have enough money to hop on a plane and go spend a week auditing with any one of these people. They are good enough to make themselves available to you; you need to be good enough to take full advantage of that. For there is no other way; anything else, and you're just fantasizing.

So let us know when you get back from your trip, and after you've thoroughly studied the papers. -- Dr. Deb

 

Dar
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 Posted: Wed Oct 5th, 2016 11:52 pm
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DrDeb wrote:

As to the Fiador, Adam, the point of my remarks about that is that the Mexican equipment is upside-down. It got upside-down through a historical quirk, and that's a good story unto itself;

Hi DrDeb,

Would you mind sharing the story of how the Mexican bosal got inverted? Or perhaps tell me where I might read about it? Thank you very much.

Dar


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