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Mecate Reins

18 August 2011 No Comment

Mecate Reins
By: Rhett Russell, Courtesy of Natural Horse Magazine

Traditional Mecate reins (pronounced either muh-caw-tee or McCarty) are made from horse hair, but can also be made from nylon double braid marine rope. These reins are normally between 20-22 feet long. Don÷t worry, you won÷t have to figure out what to do with an extra 15 feet of rein. Approximately 8-10 feet are used for the rein and the remaining 10-12 feet are used as a lead rope or popper when in the saddle. The mota is the thing at the other end of the rope (from the popper) which has the knot or cluster of horse hair and tassle on it.

Mecate reins are meant to be used with slobber straps and bits with a 3″ ring (you need room for the headstall and slobber straps). The slobber straps protect the mecate and help provide a quick release (feel) for training. When riding, we usually put the end through our belt/ belt loop or tuck it into the waist of our pants. Some people prefer to wrap the end around the saddle horn for easier access. This is really a personal preference kind of thing.

We prefer the horse hair mecate for a number of reasons:

The horse responds to the feel of the horse hair on their neck
much better than nylon
They look really good on our horses

But, marine grade rope has it÷s advantages too:

Feel on your hands. Horse hair takes some time to get used to
Price. Horse hair mecates are hand made ¿ which adds to the cost
Easily washable

Mecate÷s are an excellent training device. Here÷s why we like them:

The weight of the reins with the slobber straps provides an instant release when working with a horse. The release is the reward that the horse is seeking when you ask for something

You can teach a horse to neck rein significantly faster with horse hair mecate reins than with traditional reins

You can use the popper to make a correction while in the saddle without having to go for your progress string

When trail riding, you can use the lead to tie your horse safely. You can÷t do this with any other headstall, rein, bit combination that we know of

When schooling your horse, if you want to get off and make a correction or longe your horse ¿ you have the lead rope attached and you are ready to go

When working other horses from your horse you can use the lead to yield the other horse

How to tie the Mecate Rein:

Place the slobber strap through the right ring on the snaffle bit and fold it over

Bring the mota (the mota is the knot or cluster of horse hair and tassle on the opposite end of the rope from the popper) through the slobber strap from the outside to the inside, you will pull all of the rein through the two holes in the slobber strap. You do this by putting the popper end through the holes first and pull the rein all the way through

Pull the mota about 1 foot out of the end of the slobber strap. You need some slack for the half hitch.

Bring the mota under the slobber strap and come up over the top of the slobber strap. This should form a hole that you drop the mota down through

Pull the slack and snug the half hitch down. The mota keeps the rein from pulling through the hitch. You÷re done with the right side.

On to the left side:

Measure out the length of rein you want. We prefer a rein between 8-10 feet in length, this is a personal preference kind of thing

Place the slobber strap through the left ring on the snaffle bit and fold it over

Thread the popper from the inside out on the left side slobber strap. Make sure you leave the length of rein you want

Bring the popper under the slobber strap and come up the inside and over the top and back down through the hole forming another half hitch.

Pull the slack and snug the half hitch down. You÷re done! You may have to experiment with the length of the rein and popper, but it is easily adjustable

Ordering Information

Traditional horse hair mecates provide a true feel to the horse for training. Horse hair mecate reins are hand made from real horse hair. They are available in a variety of color combinations. We have over 100 different styles and colors of mecates in stock. Be sure to check out our 100% 6 and 8 strand mane hair mecates in our online product catalog. These mecates are 5/8″ diameter and 22 feet long with a leather popper on the end. Can be used with a bosal or slobber straps.

Nylon mecate reins are made from ¤” nylon double braid marine grade rope. The same high quality rope that we use in our lead ropes and other products. These mecates are 22 feet long with a leather popper on the end. Can be used with a bosal or slobber straps.

Click on the image below to go to see our products:

About the author:

Rhett Russell is a freelance writer and horse trainer. He and his wife Marilou live near Olympia, Washington beside the Capitol Forest recreation area. They own and operate Cloudburst Farm where they breed, start and train horses for future careers in dressage, eventing, and other disciplines. They believe in developing the horses’ abilities with a foundation of good ground manners and versatility. Rhett and Marilou produce all-around horses that are at home on the trail as well as in the arena, and in the process they help people build lasting relationships with their horses.

The Russells also own and operate Natural Horse Supply, an online supply store, and they make many of the high quality products that they offer. Please e-mail rrussell@naturalhorsesupply.com.

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