Published in the August 2008, edition of the Western Horse Review.
Question: I have been away from horses and western riding for quite some time, now I am seeing more and more what appears to be a separate rope attached to the bridle (perhaps the noseband or bosal) and looped to one side of the front of the saddle (it does not appear to be a tie-down). Is there any other purpose for this additional rope, other than being useful if out on a trail ride and needing to tie up the horse for a while? Or is there some safety factor as an additional feature for stopping a young horse for example?
Answer: This is called a Mecate. It is attached to a hackamore or a bosal with the long end going back to the rider or saddle. If it is not attached solid to a bosal it may be a get down rope which acts as a lead as well. Many horsemen loop this lead through their belt loop,
so as to have both hands free when needed.
Stuart Derochie has been in the ranching and horse business all of his life. 30 years ago he opened the Frontier Western Shop in Claresholm, Alberta.