Traditional mecates are made from mane or tail hair. This isn’t just for looks—it serves a function. The hackamore phase of training focuses on teaching your horse neck-reining to advance his training from the direct pull of a snaffle. If you’ve held a horsehair mecate in your hands, you know it’s quite prickly. So much so, that traditionally, riders wear gloves when using the equipment. You horse feels that prickliness when you lay the rein against his neck to teach him to neck-rein, and he instinctively moves away from it. The prickles from the horsehair help to reinforce the neck-rein cue. Today you can find mecates made of nylon cord, mohair, and other materials. I prefer horsehair because it adds to the feel when teaching your horse to move away from the neck-rein cue.