How To

How to tie a mecate to a bit? / video

I have been asked several times what was that gear I was using as reins: these are Mecates, also called sometimes McCarty reins or McCarthy outfit.

How to tie a mecate to a snaffle bit?


The mecate is a piece of equipment originally used by the Californio Vaqueros. Traditionally, colts were started in a hackamore and mecate, that was their first step to the bridle horse. Nowadays, mecates can be used in connection with a snaffle bit and becomes the first step of the education. This is followed by the bosal, the two-reins and finally the bridle.


Some may not like the fact that it is quite long, traditionally 22′ (about 6.7 meters). But I do like the possibilities it offers:

  • You can adjust the length of your reins to the size of your horse, or the type of work you want to do,
  • You have a lead rope at your disposal at any moment to do some groundwork if necessary, to lead your horse on a tricky trail or to tie your horse up…
Tying a horse up with a mecate

This video is an extract from the Horseman’s Gazette, published by the Eclectic Horseman magazine. Bryan Neubert gives us some valuable tips:

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