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What About Hackamore/Bosal Color Interweaves?

I prefer to make my nose buttons from a single strand, so I don't usually do multiple colors. A button made from a single strand is better in the long run as there are only two ends to hide whereas adding a different colored string results in at least six ends that must be buried in the braid. You can see this in the large swells at the end of the nose button. They can be irritating to the horse.

I also don’t dye rawhide, preferring to use natural colors. These retain the color longer in use, don’t dry out or weaken the rawhide. Some braiders use colored chap leather for braiding. These tend to not last as long as rawhide or roo. It’s personal preference, but natural colors are traditional to the California bridle horse style development.

Swelled Nose Buttons

Based on talking to many old timers and a lot of study, the swelled nose button seems to be an invention of Luis Ortega. If not invented, popularized by him.

His only purpose was to elevate the art work of his braiding to market it better. The swell allowed him to expand the pattern to over 3-4 which permitted more color in the button.

Most of these were sold at horse shows to pleasure horse people who erroneously thought the swell would fit some horses better. Frankly, they don’t and won’t be shaped to fit well. They balance the weight of the hackamore (at least 2 pounds for the 5/8ths) on a single spot on the nose rather than spreading the weight and pressure over a larger area allowing for more comfort for the horse.

Tender noses and “cherries” rubbed raw are often the result since there is not much “cushion” under the skin on the equine face. Ortega seemingly didn't care if they fit well or not, but offered color and pattern variations to set his gear apart. Many faded with a little time in the sun.

The intricate patterns and the vivid colors are enticing, but I would rather have a truly functioning hackamore on a comfortable, willing horse.


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