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Old 04-25-2013, 03:32 PM   #1
wytki
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Join Date: Apr 2013
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Default Where to find a quality bosal?

Hello,

I just found this website and am happy I did!

I will have many questions, but my first one is where to buy a high quality bosal ready made. I was planning to buy a friend's bosals, but they were stolen from his tack room a couple of weeks ago. So, I am now on the hunt for a replacement (or replacements). I understand that the best quality bosals are typically made as they are ordered, and there is usually a wait list of several months on them. I will save my $$ for one of those, but in the mean time I have two horses that I would like to start now. I've seen some for sale on Martin Black's website and the Lost Buckaroo website has some Jose Ortiz bosals ready made, but I'm not sure of the quality of those bosals.

To give you an idea of my horses; one is a three year old stud colt who I started very lightly last fall, the other is a six year old gelding who needs to be restarted as he has had some very bad handling with his previous owners.

I've started lots of colts, but never in a bosal. This will be my first one(s).

Any help would be very much appreciated!

Thank you!
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:02 PM   #2
Baquero
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Welcome to the group, sorry to hear about your friends bosal being stolen. How much are you looking to spend for a bosal? I personally do not like the Ortiz bosals, they don't have a quality core and are hard to shape. They have fancy braiding but aren't very functional from my experience and don't last. With a bosal fit and function are the only things to worry about in my opinion. Because if the bosal fits well it will be comfortable on your horse and you will be able to ride him for a long time with good results. An ill fitting bosal will only frustrate you and the horse. And if it fits well but doesn't function properly, you might as well use a snaffle. But learning to ride in a quality bosal will improve your horsemanship faster than just about anything I know.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:10 AM   #3
Corry
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I would also be happy to get information on where to buy bosals that are not too expensive but of acceptable working quality for my students. I also visited the Jose Ortiz website but was sceptical about the quality. Baquero confirmed what I figured about them. I have a 1/2 bosal from Martin Black, but it's stiffer than I like them. My students are not willing to spend as much money for their bosals as I did for my bosals. But when they touch my bosals they would like the same quality I'm thinking about buying two or three sets (5/8 bosal, mecate & hanger) and taking them with me to the lessons I give. I'm sure if people can try the bosals on their horses and feel the difference they will be more ready to accept a more reasonable price. So, any hint would be very welcome.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:00 AM   #4
wytki
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Thank you Baquero for your reply.

If I can find the right bosal, I'd be willing to spend in the neighborhood of $300. I will also still need a hanger and mecate so if I could spend less and retain quality that would be ideal.

I assumed the Ortiz bosals were of lesser quality because there are so many ready made and I've seen quite a few on Ebay. There is a pretty wide range in price as well. Thank you for confirming my thoughts on these.

I've heard good things about Martin Black's bosals, and they are all under $300. I was thinking of maybe a 5/8" all kangaroo which sells for $280 on his website. My only concern is that 1) I've heard they are pretty stiff, and 2) they're rather long. His 5/8" is 16 plait 5" x 11-1/2" which seems long to me. I realize it depends on the size of the horse's head, but 11-1/2" is maybe an inch longer than most of the other bosals I've seen. My colt has a average to small head for his breed (Andalusian), and my gelding is blessed with a large head (Foundation QH with some Hancock in him). It might work for my gelding, but I'd be worried about it fitting my colt.

Some others I've found are:

California Classics website has one 5/8" Bill Black rawhide bosal listed. It's 16 plait with a 32 plait 7-1/2" swelled nose button, 10-1/2", twisted rawhide core and plug in the heel knot. The price is $460 including the hanger, which is more than I want to spend right now, but I've heard good things about Bill Black's bosals.

Granite Buckaroo has a latigo bosal w/kangaroo nose button and heel knot. The 5/8" goes for $355. The core is braided rawhide.

Buckaroo Business has quite a few bosals reasonably priced. There is a 5/8" rawhide body with kangaroo nose and heel knot with spacer for $260. And a 5/8" 16 plait kangaroo body with rawhide nose and heel knot with spacer for $339.

Steve Guitron has a 5/8" 16 plait cheek, 24 plait nose, all kangaroo with a choice of soft or firm rawhide core for $375.

There are a lot of options, but I'd really like to have recommendations from people who know what they're doing since this will be my first bosal purchase and I need guidance to buy the right one.

Eventually I'd like to get a custom made bosal. I was thinking maybe California Classics for the custom bosal, but they are pricey at $450 to $575 for 5/8".

And last quesiton; do I need to use a mane hair mecate? I have a treeline mecate for my snaffle bits, but am pretty sure that's too heavy for a bosal? Would parachute cord work as well? The reason I'm reluctant to use a mane hair mecate is because I don't want the youngsters to chew on my expensive mane hair mecates. I think I'd shed less tears over a chewed parachute cord mecate than a mane hair mecate....

Thanks so much for your help!!
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:28 AM   #5
Baquero
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I have been stewing about this one for quite some time. Wytki, you have done a great job of compiling information on the majority of the readily available bosals.

A few things to think about, most people don't factor in the overall cost, you are going to need a bosal, hanger, and mecate. Don't buy a bosal without the hanger braided on it. They do not function the same if you use a headstall, or use loops to attach the bosal. Some of the places listed will sell the bosal for cheaper, but the price of the hanger is somewhere around $50 or more. Just about any quality handmade braider will include a hanger in the price. This brings the costs a little closer to each other, and in my opinion when you are that close on price I would hands down go with a handmade bosal. For a few reasons;

The quality of the braiding is on a different level. The strings on the ready to go bosals are thin and almost act like sand paper in my opinion on the horses nose. They are thin so they can be braided tight and look good. However with time they will not last, the thin strings will rub on the horse and sore him faster than one with thicker, beveled strings from a rawhide braider. These strings lay flat and are extremely smooth when done well. It comes down to the comfort of the horse, if the bosal does not fit correctly it will not function properly. A lot of those bosals listed have rawhide braiding traditions that have only been around for a short time. As the show industry got larger, there was a trend toward fancy braiding. A few braiders did some really neat designs but lost the function of the bosal. I will post a picture to compare two bosals that can be purchased off the shelf and explain a few of the things I don't like about them.

The bosals that are handmade will last a few lifetimes with minimal maintenance. An off the shelf bosal will not last nearly as long before the edges of the thin rawhide strings will curl, or rip and the smooth braiding will no longer be there. Quality lasts... and over a lifetime will save money and horses if you buy right.

All of the pieces of the bosal are there for a reason, but they mean nothing without a quality core that you can shape. The fit is essential, because it spreads the weight of the hackamore across the entire nose of the horse. There are a lot of bosals today that will not shape to the horses face and leave gaps on either side of the nose. When there is gaps, the weight of the hackamore will be focused on a few places of the nose instead of over the entire surface. the nose of the horse is very sensitive, usually with the gaps the weight and signals are concentrated on the top of the nose. The top of the horses nose has a few bones, that are covered by a thin layer of skin. Overall a bosal does not weigh very much, probably less than 3 lbs. However if all of the weight of the hackamore is hanging on the bone on the top of the nose the weight will sore a horse quicker than if it is spread out of the entire nose. If a horse is comfortable, he is teachable.

Another problem without a good shapeable core the bosal will rub the jaw of the horse. The bars will come down at too steep of an angle and rub the jawline of the horses face. This horses face has an area of thin skin over bone on the top and on the bottom. On the outsides of his face is thicker skin tissue. I hate comparing horses to humans but feel how the skin lays on the cartilage and bone of your own nose, compare that with your cheeks and jaw. When a bosal does not fit properly it affects both of these thin skinned areas on the face of the horse. When the bars rub it will sore your horse, and affect your signal.

If the bosal does not fit properly it will have excess movement and can bounce on the horses nose. When you are trying to create a clear signal to the horse it is difficult for the horse to discern between the bouncing thing on its face and the vibration of the reins from the rider. This only dulls a horses ability to communicate with the rider. A quality fitting bosal will enhance not hinder the riders communication with a horse.

All of that being said, of the bosals listed when you include the price of the hanger almost all of them are going to cost $400 or over. To me this makes the bosals at California Classics that much more of a bargain. All the bosals come with hangers included and the quality is some of the best in the business in my opinion. They offer some really good options with 12-plait for $375-$400. I just recently received a new bosal from them and I will say this, my horses love it.

I know a number of guys who ride with bosals from the other businesses named and are able to get a lot done. But once you ride with a custom made bosal from a quality braider it is hard to go back. The signal is no where near the same. If your pocket book allows you to buy one, I would reccomend it. If your pocket book doesn't allow you to, then I would suggest saving for another month because in the long run it will last and your horses will be more happy.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:15 AM   #6
Baquero
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The picture of the two bosals is a picture that was sent to me, and someone asking which one I liked over the other. If I had to choose I would go with the one on the left, but I actually don't like either of them. It really is a great picture showing the differences. The first thing to notice is the length of the nose button. You can see how the length of the nose button affects the placement of the hanger on the horses face. Basic physics will teach, if you change the fulcrum or pivot point it changes the angle of the drop. In bosal terms this changes the speed at which you can pick up and release the signal.

Now notice the shape of the bosals, the one on the left reflects the shape of a horses nose much more than the one on the right. I also do not like how both of the bosals have "swelled buttons" the bosal should lay on the horses face. It can't do this with bulged knots. I want my bosals to work off of a change in balance with minimal leverage, the leverage is increased with the large knots. The knots are located at a very sensitive place on the horses nose with a lot of nerves. Some people refer to these as "nerve knots" my horses don't like knots poking them in the nerves.

Because of the length of the nose button on the right it will be difficult if not impossible to shape the bosal to conform and fit to the horses nose.

The final thing I will point out is the hangers, both of the bosals are actually using headstalls instead of hangers. The thickness of the leather will change the action of the bosal, it will dull your signal. And you can see how sloppy the bosal hangs when it doesn't have a hanger tied on properly. There is room for play and static movement, this does not allow you to communicate precisely and clearly with your horse.

These are just some of the observations I have had over the years and things I have learned that work with me and what I try and do. I know a number of good hands that get a lot of good done with other gear. There are a lot of ways to Rome I am just throwing in my preference and the things I have observed.
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Last edited by Baquero; 05-01-2013 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:26 AM   #7
Baquero
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I apologize for the blurry picture, I will see if I can get a better one. But compare the last two bosals with this one of mine.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:32 AM   #8
JB Horse
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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Default JB Horse

Main hair mecate? Yes, yes, yes,yes,yes,yes
I have nothing to add, to previous replies. You will regret saving some bucks.
The R. Caldwell quote says it. Buy it for your horse.
I find the inability to properly form, maintain form, overly stiff, & poor core my most common issues. Don't let "fancy" fool you. My best are plain, except for nice looking braining.
Both items require the right feel. Get help.
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