Buckaroo John's Blog

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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Horse Training by the Californio Vaqueros

Posted by John Brand on

The Californio Vaqueros were proud of their horsemanship and horse tack. They took great care to hand braid their horse hair mecates and romel reins. The Vaqueros hand braiding techniques are still used today.  The rawhide bosals, riatas, quirts, headstalls, and hackamores are all part of the Vaquero "tool box" that were used to train their horses.  The Vaqueros trained their horses for 7-10 years, starting at 4 years old, to react with very little pressure from the rider. At the end of training, the horse and rider would be one.  The three stages of the Vaquero horse training were as follows: The...

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