Buckaroo John's Blog

Chaps & Chinks

Posted by John Brand on

Chaps, short for chaparajos, were originally worn by cowboys as protective garments.  Chaps are now used for decorative and practical reasons.  Chaps originated in the countries of Spain and Mexico. Riders wore them while working cattle. Chaps were originally made of two large pieces of cowhide.  They formed a protective shield over the rider’s legs and the horse's chest. While serving those purposes quite well, they were bulky and hard to work with; that is when today’s chaps were developed. There are several types of chaps.  Originally, the most common type of chaps were batwings. These consisted of an outer...

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All About Western Reins

Posted by John Brand on

There are several types of Western Reins.  The type of riding you like to do and what type of headstall and bit or bitless bridle, hackamore, etc., that you use will determine your rein choice.  Of course, personal preference will factor into your decision as well.  Let’s look at some of the options available. Split Reins Split reins are usually 8’ in length.  They are single pieces of leather which are connected to the bit by loops which are tied, connected by Chicago screws or quick change, swivel and snap closures.  They typically come in 1/ 2”, 3/4”,  5/8” and...

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The Hackamore

Posted by John Brand on

Relief from the Bit with a Vaquero Influence The first hackamore was probably a piece of rope placed around the nose or head of a horse not long after domestication. These early devices for controlling horses may have been adapted from equipment used to control camels. Over time, this means of controlling a horse became more sophisticated. The Persians in 500 b.c. were some of the first ones to use a thick, plaited noseband to help the horse look and move in the same direction. This was called a Hakma. On this Hakma was a third rein added at the...

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The Rawhide Reata - A Work of Art

Posted by John Brand on

The Vaqueros of the old west were skilled horsemen who valued their horses and their rawhide horse tack. The Vaqueros had many "tools" to assist them with their everyday tasks on the range. One of these "tools" was the rawhide reata (or riata). The word reata is from the Spanish word reatar, meaning to retie or a rope which ties one animal to another. The rawhide reata was a long braided rawhide rope used by the early Mexican Vaqueros and was, no doubt, first introduced into Mexico by the Spanish conquerors. Though the word reata is often used to refer...

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Bucking Rolls – What are they and why use them?

Posted by John Brand on

Bucking rolls are two padded pouches that are added to the front of the saddle seat. Most bucking rolls are filled with wool, trimmed from bark-tanned sheepskin. Bucking Rolls supplement the swells on a saddle and help a rider stay secure in the saddle. They are designed to be used with slick fork saddles, which have very little width to their swells. Modern day bucking rolls seem to have had their start in the late 19th century in the Northwest.  Early models were made of a tube-like construction that extended from one side of the saddle to the other, just to the...

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