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Questions to Ask
When Shopping for Bosals
Made in the California Tradition

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Ordering Information

What do you need to know
to make an informed decision
when buying or ordering a hackamore?


Remember to ask:

About the Maker:

  • Who made the hackamore/bosal?
  • Is this person an experienced horseman as well as a braider?
  • Is he familiar with the use of the hackamore?
  • Was the craftsman trained in the original CA vaquero style?
  • Under whom did he study?
  • Did he live in or study with someone who had learned in the Pacific Slope who was exposed to the tradition? If not, where?
  • Does the maker know how a hackamore works?
  • May I email or visit with the maker himself?

About the Materials:

  • What is the bosal made of? Traditionally, CA style bosal bodies are made of cowhide and are cut appropriately.
  • How was the rawhide made? Was it ranch rawhide or commercial? Was the hide damaged by scalding or using lye or lime to quickly remove the hair before preparing it for braiding? Was it beveled on the top or the bottom of the string?
  • What chemicals, if any, were used in its production?
  • If dyes were utilized, which ones? Will they fade? Not only can dyes fade or run (making your tack look unsightly), but they can also make the rawhide brittle over time.
  • What was used for the foundation of the bosal (especially the nose button area)? No proper foundation = no real bosal.

About the Construction:

  • Where was it made?
  • How long is the nose button?
  • Is the nose button smooth or does it have large side button lumps?
  • Are the bars/branches finished smoothly?
  • What is the hanger made of?
  • Is a tie back included made as part of the hanger? Is there an additional charge for this?
  • Is there a V coming out of the heel knot or a space?
  • Is the heel knot relatively small and tight or large creating a club? A large heel knot,when tied with the mecate, can make the whole hackamore out of balance impacting the nature of the lift/release action.
  • Are there options: number of strands, fiador, brow band, throat latch or sleeve for the mecate?
  • Although it is only possible to give a rough completion date, what is the prospect range?
  • Will the quality of the bosal be compromised to speed the process?
  • Is the braiding tight?
  • Does the bosal feel good in your hands?

About Fit:

  • What is it worth to you to not inflict any pain for your horse?
  • Does your horse readily accept the hackamore?
  • Is it possible to order a range of internal sizes to fit your horse?
  • Is the bosal easily shapeable?
  • Will the foundation withstand shaping and reshaping for years?
  • Will it conform to your horse's face?
  • Is there forward and backward flex AND a little side to side of the branches?

About the Seller:

  • Are the funds staying in the USA encouraging craftsmen to continue to work in the style preserving our traditions?
  • If the bosal doesn't fit even if you measured incorrectly, will it be replaced?
  • May I add extras after I have ordered? (Ex. brow band, fiador, throat latch)?
  • Can I expect continuing help in understanding the care, use and adjustment of my hackamore or bosal from people who have experience?
  • How do you recommend I take care of my hackamore (be sure to review our note on caring for rawhide)?


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