Training a horse using the techniques of the Vaquero is a progression that takes time and patience. Because this equipment does not have as much leverage as using a bit, each step must be perfected before moving on to the next. Each piece of equipment has a specific purpose for where the horse is in its training.
The Mecate’ is a 24 to 26 foot long rope made of mane hair used to form the reins. The diameter of the Mecate’ should correspond to noseband diameter of the Hackamore, Bosal and Bosalina. They come in various colors and patterns and should be tied with a traditional knot to fit each horse properly.
See YouTube for Fit and Tying of Mecate'
The Bosal has a noseband that is 1/2 to 5/8 inch in diameter and is used after you have gained some control with the horse in training. From the Hackamore, the next piece of equipment would be the 5/8 inch Bosal and as the horse progresses you would move into the ½ inch Bosal. By using a progression of lighter pieces of equipment, the horse becomes more sensitive to the refined commands. Much of the horses training is done in the Bosal, which usually takes about a year to gain the turn at a touch control that is desired.
The California Spoon Spade bit may look like a severe bit, but when used correctly and in conjunction with the traditional hackamore training system is very gentle. Since the horse has already had years of training in the Bosal, there is no need to even take the slack out of the reins to have the horse do any maneuvers. It is said that a rider should be able to take a single strand of tail hair, tie his finger to the reins and perform any maneuver without breaking that hair. The bit is only used to signal the horse. It is also used to put a headset on the horse. Because of the sidebars and spoon port, there is only one way for the horse to carry it comfortably.