Monday, September 14, 2009

Rawhide Romels & Quirts

Vaquero Tradition- The Romal

In the Vaquero tradition, a quirt with a long handle, known as a romal, was attached to the end of a closed set of reins.In Spanish the word is spelled "ramal" .

In Spanish, "El ramal" means literally a branch road, a division, or a ramification. Thus attached as it is by the loop to the bridle reins, the romal becomes but a ramification of the rein, a handy addition that may be used as a quirt and dropped from the hand without fear of its getting lost.

The Romal was not to be used to strike a horse, but rather was a tool used to assist in moving cattle.

A romal is usually made of leather or rawhide, is about four to five feet long, flexible and somewhat heavy, to prevent excess swinging and to aid control.
The Romal is historically associated with the Californios and the vaquero tradition of western riding. The romal was primarily used as a noisemaker to slap or goad cattle. (The handle made it too slow and of the wrong length for use on the horse.)

This combination of romal and closed reins, today referred to as romal reins, or romal-style reins, is seen primarily in the horse shows for certain horse breeds that are shown in the "Californio style" of western riding, or in other western events in the United States.

The 1st Picture above is the Rawhide Romal Rein RW327 from Buckaroo Leather. This Romal has the finest 12 plait Braiding! It is hand Braided in the Old Traditional California Style Buttons. Each Natural Rawhide strand is beveled on both sides for a smooth, comfortable feel on the reins and romal. The popper is hand basket stamped and braided. The rein portion is the traditional full 52" long.

The Quirt
The word Quirt is derived from the Spanish cuarta de cordon, meaning whip of cord.

The Quirt is a cowboy's woven leather forked type of stock whip. The Quirt usually has two falls at the end that are made of leather, buffalo, or cow hide. The core of the quirt is usually a leather bag filled with lead shot, the main part including the handle is often made from braided rawhide, leather or kangaroo hide and is usually somewhat stiff but flexible.

The Quirt was another tool of the old time cowboy. It was introduced to the cowboys by the Vaqueros. The quirt, due to its slow action, was not a useful riding aid for horses. Rather, it is an effective tool to slap or goad cattle from horseback.

The old style horse quirt is still carried by some Western horsemen, and can be seen in the early Western cowboy films.

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