Most of the time, when you receive your bosal, it won't come in the shape that best suits your horse's face. The bosal should fit like a glove around the horse's face, with no gaps. This requires one to shape it. While it may seem like a daunting task, it's actually quite simple.
This is an unshaped bosal on a horse:
Note the gaps. Ideally, those shouldn't be there. So how do we change it's shape? Bosals should be made with a rawhide core, so it can take and hold shape. Once I set this on this gelding's face to get an idea of how it could be better shaped, I went home and headed straight for my pantry. I selected a refried bean can, and tied it as seen below:
You can use a bosal shaper, or anything you can find in your house. I then grabbed an extra slip lead and string halter to demonstrate you don't need anything fancy, and tied it up. I let the bosal sit for a couple days, dismantled my creation, and then headed outside to check the fit on my horse. I was very pleased with how it turned out in just the first shaping!
As you can see, there are no gaps between the bosal and his face. Had there been room for improvement, I would have taken it back inside and changed what I used to shape the bosal. That can be done by using a different sized can, or maybe multiple smaller cans. Its okay to not have it shaped perfectly the first time, and can be a process to get it just right. For those of you who aren't interested in raiding your pantry to shape your bosal, Buckaroo Leather does offer a cedar bosal shaper, as seen below:
If you've shaped your bosal, please share in the comments what you used!
Next weekend we will discuss tying the mecate to the bosal, placement on the face and how to store your hackamore.