Keep your mecate tucked safely away.
Tack honors tradition, as exemplified by the mecate, the 22-foot-long horsehair rope that makes up the loop rein and tie rope attached to a hackamore.
Historically, the tie rope served a vital function. Ranch cowboys were on and off their horses regularly when working cattle, and so they needed a way to easily and securely tie their hackamore horses to a fence or a tree.
In modern horsemanship, the horses shown in hackamores probably aren’t tied out on the range, but the riders still hold to tradition and use the tie rope as part of their hackamore setup.
No matter if you’re a ranch cowboy who uses the tie rope or a competitor who shows in a hackamore, you still must secure that tie rope when you’re in the saddle. Here, I’ll explain the four ways to keep your mecate’s tie rope from getting in the way of your riding when using a hackamore.
Note that the tie rope must be left with enough slack in the length that it doesn’t restrain your horse’s neck movement, but short enough that your horse can’t step on the tie rope or somehow become entangled in it. Your tie rope will always attach on your horse’s left side. (Historically, a cowboy’s lariat or reata would be attached to the right side of the saddle.)
A mecate is tied to a hackamore to make two parts: the loop rein and the tie rope. Notice that the tie rope is adjusted so it’s loose enough that the horse can move his head freely, but not so loose that he could step on it or become entangled in it.