Buckaroo John's Blog

Spurs and Spur Straps

Posted by John Brand on

Spurs can be traced back to the Roman Legions of Julius Caesar . The Romans developed the spurs in order to have a way to steer their horses with their legs, while leaving their hands free to fight. These early spurs had a single sharp protrusion. The revolving rowel, used in western spurs today, probably originated in France.During the age of chivalry, spurs became a mark of rank. Gold or gilded spurs were only worn by knights or royalty. To further indicate their rank and prestige the knights would adorn their spurs with jewels, thus becoming works of art.In the...

Read more →

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...

Read more →

The Mecate Rein

Posted by John Brand on

What is a mecate? The mecate is the rein portion of a hackamore, which is a type of headgear for the horse.  The unique part of the hackamore is that it does not have a bit, but uses a braided rawhide noseband called a bosal.  The bosal works on pressure points on the horse's face, nose, and chin. The mecate is a rope made from horse hair or soft feeling rope that serves as reins and lead rope, should one need. The Persians in 500 BC were one of the first to use a thick plaited noseband which was called...

Read more →

A Brief Saddle History

Posted by John Brand on

Evidence exists that the predecessor to the modern saddle was in use by the Assyrians in 700-800 BCE. It consisted of a simple cloth fastened onto the horse with a surcingle. These early saddles had neither a solid tree nor stirrups. By 300 BC, the Samaritans added a breastplate and girth to keep the saddle on. The development of the solid saddle tree was significant; it raised the rider above the horse's back, and distributed the rider's weight on the animal's spine. This change greatly increased the comfort of the horse and prolonged its useful life. The invention of the...

Read more →

Leather and Winter

Posted by John Brand on

The Problem Winter weather is no friend to leather, especially polluted rainwater. Microscopically, leather is made up of collagen fibers. During tanning, hides are soaked in chemicals to prevent its fibers and their bonds from decomposing. Natural fats and oils are tumbled with the hides to keep the protein bonds from drying out and to make the leather supple.Protein bonds must be lubricated and kept supple, this is the key to long lasting leather. If the bonds dry out completely, they shrink, become brittle and break. Once broken, they are permanently weakened. Soaking leather in oil may make it supple...

Read more →