Tack Talk

Horse & Rider - - Contents -

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.

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