Attaching mecate rein to an English saddle

I live in the UK, but I’m starting my horse in a bosal (it is currently in my living room, being shaped). I was wondering how people with English/Aussie saddles secure the end of the mecate.

I’ve thought about buying an “oh shit” strap for my saddle, but that looks faffy and annoying on a trail ride where you might need to get on and off the horse a few times and use it as a lead rope.

I larksfooted a bit of tat through the D ring, then around the mecate coils, but that did not seem very secure.

I tried a small snapgate carabiner on the D ring (I did a lot of rock climbing so have lots of things like this) but the coils were too thick to get through the gate.

Looking for inspiration!

Assuming you are talking about your mecate tail, use a latigo tie-string thru your D on the English saddle and follow these instructions.
Take note to turn coils over before attaching, so they don’t come loose when you are riding:

Guess it goes without saying to never tie anything hard and fast, so if snagged it will pull loose, not cause a wreck.

I wouldn’t tie your mecate to your saddle. Instead, fold it over, create a loop, and pull that loop through your belt. I’ll see if I can find a photo of what I’m describing so it’s more clear.



That’s what I do as well. Only I do not run it through the pants loop (have never seen that) but only under the belt itself. It’s the safest. The purpose is that if your colt dumps you, you still have him on a lead.

An important skill to learn is to tie the reins around the colt’s neck, using a bowline. You never lead a horse by the reins.

ETA: Coffee


Both ways work fine, for long rides and trained horses still on the hackamore or double reins, some tie to a string that will break easily somewhere on the saddle also.
For riding colts, a loose loop thru the belt or belt loop if no belt is standard.

To tie around the neck is seen more in military type riding, with a halter under the bridle or a combination bridle/halter, many in official turnout.
I have rarely seen that in regular colt and cow work, It could get snagged easier than a loose mecate tail just looped.

Here is a traditional cavalry lead rope knot:

Saw the belt thing, but forgot to add that I don’t usually ride with a belt, and most of my trousers don’t have belt loops.

Finding a latigo tie strap in the UK is harder than you would think. It’s looking like I’ll have to get one shipped from the US.

You don’t need a belt or belt loops, you can just stick half the coils inside your pant top.

1 Like

Don’t tie it to your saddle it defeats the purpose. I know a lot of people do though.
If you don’t wear a belt or have belt loops, double the tail and stuff it down the front of your pants and down towards your pant leg. That’s how I was taught by some really good cowboys anyhow rather than in belt loops or belt.


As if the bosal hackamore setup itself doesn’t get enough weird looks from people who only know English riding.

“What are you doing?”

“Just shoving my mecate down my pants.”

Seriously, good idea, though! Cheers!


Every tack room should have a bag of latigo tie strings, they come in handy for so much and will break if push come to shove in a tight spot, unlike most twine.

Surely any saddler can make you some from some scrap?
They can be good to tie all kinds of stuff, generally a longer one with a slit on one end is used to hang ropes somewhere on saddles.

Coil ropes hanging on saddles are dangerous, know of a kid killed once when horse tripped and kid’s leg went thru the loops as he was falling off and horse dragged him.
Rope had been laid on the horn, not properly hung on its string, that would have broken loose.

1 Like

It’s a different world out here.

I figured anything that could not break off could be dangerous. My D ring is attached to the saddle with velcro, so the carabiner was not as stupid as it sounded.

Perhaps a local cobbler would have leather shoelaces. They are popular here for hiking boots.


I was going to say this too. Hiking boots or work boots.

I thread/weave the mecate tail through my belt as some have already shown.


Bluey, I think Spellcheck did you wrong. “Latigo”, not “Latino”, right?

Yes, I had to fight spellcheck in several places, it would not accept tackroom, kept spelling backroom, along with the latigo/latino you mention.
I fixed some, missed that one, sorry.
Thanks for correcting that.

1 Like

Ha! Right?!?
Even amongst western riders I get strange looks for it. Those who know, know.

Were you the one asking about hackamores and loping hackamores awhile back?
I think I was going to send you some ideas but forgot. My apologies if so!
Did you get a set up bought?

Yeah, that was me. I emailed some Western trainers in England, and one directed me to a guy who imports nice, handmade bosals from the States, so I got one off him without the hassle of importing it myself. It was not cheap.

He also has some stunning alpaca mecate, so when I feel like I have money again, I might replace my mediocre nylon ones with that. Apparently the alpaca withstands being wet. I think it was Martin Black who said on his website that mane hair is much better than nylon, but it’s a pain in the wet, then added that this is not a problem he has in the Western US.

It is, however, a significant problem in Scotland.


Yeah. Spellcheck doesn’t get horsey terms at all!

Mane is my preference as well but it gets really stiff when wet. You’ll hate it given where you live. I had a braided alpaca mcCarty made in South America given to me, it was too light for my liking. I’m sure a twisted one with a core would probably work great.
Glad you got a bosal bought!