The Hackamore Tradition: Bosal or Hackamore?

The Art of Hackamore TrainingDo you know what traditional hackamore horsemen mean when they use the terms “bosal” and “hackamore?” Find out from Al Dunning and Benny Guitron, sources for The Art of Hackamore Training: A Time-Honored Step in the Bridle-Horse Tradition.


The Art of Hackamore Training

“The vaquero’s hackamore comprises a headstall, or hanger, the mecate rein, and a braided nosepiece, commonly referred to as the bosal. Traditionally, however, this term was not used in the sense it is today. In Spanish, bozal literally means ‘muzzle’ and originally referenced only the pencil bosal, or the small bosalito worn under the bridle in the hackamore horseman’s two-rein setup.”

“Although modern horsemen have come to use the terms ‘hackamore’ and ‘bosal’ interchangeably, traditional hackamore men frown upon this. In historical context, bosal designates nosepieces ¼- to 3/8-inch in diameter, and all other sizes from ½-inch and upward are known as hackamores. In keeping with tradition, here, all nosepieces are referred to as hackamores except for the bosalito, or pencil bosal.”

From The Art of Hackamore Training: A Time-Honored Step in the Bridle-Horse Tradition, a Western Horseman book featuring the combined efforts of professional horsemen Al Dunning and Benny Guitron, writer Deanna Lally and photographer Robert Dawson. The book shares not only how to develop a responsive hackamore horse, but also much of the vaquero horsemanship tradition.