Not everyone understands why someone would use Mecate reins for riding but they are very helpful in teaching your horse how to give to pressure when it is applied. What I found was that these reins are not cheap at all, especially for good ones. I found that most quality mecate reins cost around $150-$200 and that is without slobber straps.
So like any other person wanting to get the best bang for their buck I went to work searching. Turns out that they are not cheap anywhere. So after doing some more research I found that there are a bunch of different materials that are used for reins. Anything from Yak hair to horse hair and even human hair sometimes. The one that intrigued me the most was parachute cord ropes, parachute cord is used for making all kinds of things and I am not terrible at braiding (I was pretty good at boondoggle as a kid) so I looked into making them myself.
I found a couple of places that sell supplies to make mecate reins but the one I liked the most was U-Braid-It. They even sold me instructions and suggested the lengths of paracord that I needed to be able to make a 22 foot mecate rein.
Here is the start of my 22 foot mecate reins that I braided, the hemostat was very helpful in keeping everything nice and tight.
This shot shows how I got the pattern I was going for six strands of brown on the left side and the brown, grey, turquoise, turquoise, grey then brown on the right side gave a really cool pattern.
The process of braiding is not terribly hard to do a twelve strand mecate rein and after a while it became second nature to work on it. After a few days of working on it here and there, and also having to undo some braids that were done wrong. I had finished the length that I wanted.
The hardest part was doing the gaucho knot to finish the rope so that everything stayed but with a little practice I got that finished nicely too. All together the cost for the mecate rein turned out to be about $75 and around 10 hours to get a $150 rein. Which is way better in my book plus I learned a new skill!
So now I can make mecate reins when I need them and they are very strong and feel great. Plus now I have something to do in the winter when the weather is bad. Have you ever made your own tack gear? Or found any other ways to save money on tack? Let me know in the comments below.
Here is the second rope that I made!