Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Horse Tack Influenced by the Vaquero Horsemanship

Vaquero’s, which in Spanish means, “Cowboys”, were Spanish horseman. Their style of horsemanship, gear and training has had an influence on the “Traditional American Cowboy”. Their unique style spread from Europe all the way to the United States.

The Vaquero learned many of their horse skills from Medieval and Renaissance Europe. The European Knights and their war horses used many skills on the battlefield that can be seen today in both the reined working cow horse and dressage.

When the Spanish began to colonize the “America’s”, they used the skills found on the European Battlefields to train their horses.

The Vaquero’s Spanish style of training horses spread throughout California. Once in California the “California” Vaquero began to refine their methods of training horses and working cattle.

Because of the unique climate and culture in California the growing Vaquero tradition of training could take as long as needed. The mild climate allowed for the Vaquero’s training of a horse to take all the time that was needed. So, the California bridle horse evolved to a point where a top hand could ride his horse with just a light string attaching his rein chains to a bit.

The influence of the Vaquero spread from California to Texas. The Texas Cowboy, or what we think of today as the “Classic American Cowboy”, had a different style of training horses and working cattle. The different styles of both the Texas Cowboy and the Vaquero can still be seen today.

One example, is the that the Texas Cowboy prefers to tie their rope directly to the saddle horn by a loop on the tail end, while the Vaquero prefers to wrap his rope around the saddle horn.

The Texas Cowboy uses his horse to work cattle, while the Vaquero uses cattle to work his horses. These two unique styles have grown into two very different competitions.

The cutting horse has grown out of the Texas style which prefers the use of a horse that is bred to work a cow on its own once that horse has been trained.

The reined working cow horse has grown out of the Vaquero style, which came from the Vaquero tradition of training a horse that is also bred to work a cow but works entirely from the commands of the rider.

Even the buckaroo gear and vaquero gear is different. The Vaquero likes the silver spade bit with silver conchos on the bridle and a fancy set of braided rawhide rommel reins.

The Texas style is a grazer bit and simpler, but functional bridle with a plain set of leather split reins.

As with the ornate design of the Spanish style spurs and straps, 

the Spanish influence, through the California Vaquero, can be seen in not only the finesse of the reined working cow horse but in the ornate design of their bits, bridles and romel reins.

Buckaroo Leather Company has continued the Vaquero tradition with many unique styles of leather horse tack and vaquero gear.

These are Braided in the old Vaquero tradition with a forelock tie, some of the finest braiding we have ever seen. These are one of a kind, Designed to be used for a "get down rig" or for a 2 rein rig. The one on left has extra fine 16 plait cheeks with 32 plait nose and button. In browns and tans feels like Kangaroo. 

Our Complete Vaquero Cowboy Mecate Snaffle Bridle Set includes our 3/4" Hermann Oak oiled Golden bridle Browband single buckle on the Poll Headstall with hand engraved silver conchas, a 5" iron ring snaffle bit and matching Slobber Strap with silver engraved conchas and a 23' yacht braid mecate with rawhide button and tassel

This Hermann Oak Heavy Bridle Quality Leather Headstall is made in the old California Vaquero traditional styling. This is a Scallop cheek browband style Headstall made from Mid weight Oiled PREMIUM single-ply stitched Bridle leather. Accented with beautiful hand engraved conchas!

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving the Western Horseman the safest most durable Quality American made leather horse tack....... Buckaroo John Brand Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand Visit Our Unique Store Today Buckaroo Leather Shopping Site

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Leather....a History

The use of animal hides for clothing and basic survival items can be traced back as far as Early Man in the Paleolithic period. Cave paintings discovered in caves near Lerida in Spain depict the use of leather clothing. Man hunted wild animals for food but removed their hides and skins from the dead carcass and used them as crude tents, clothing and footwear.

Early man realized that the skins rapidly putrefied and thus became useless. They need a way to preserve the hides. The earliest method was to stretch the hides and skins on the ground to dry, rubbing them with fats and animals brains while they dried. This had a limited preserving and softening action. Primitive man discovered also that the smoke of wood fires could preserve hides and skins, as did treating them with an infusion of tannin-containing barks, leaves, twigs and fruits of certain trees and plants. It seems likely that man first discovered how to make leather when he found that animal skins left lying on a wet forest floor became tanned naturally by chemicals released by decaying leaves and vegetation.

Much later the use of earth salts containing alum as a tanning agent to produce soft white leather was discovered. The alum leathers could be dyed with naturally occurring dyestuffs in various plants.

In Egyptian times leather was used for sandals, clothes, gloves, buckets, bottles, shrouds for burying the dead and for military equipment. In Egyptian tombs, wall paintings and artifacts depicted these uses of leather.

The Romans also used leather on a wide scale for footwear, clothes, and military equipment including shields, saddles and harnesses. Excavation of Roman sites in Great Britain has yielded large quantities of leather articles such as footwear and clothing.The manufacture of leather was introduced to Britain by the Roman invaders and by religious communities, whose monks were expert at making leather, especially vellum and parchment for writing purposes.

The ancient Britons had many uses for leather from footwear, clothing and leather bags, to articles of warfare. The hulls of the early boats, known as coracles, were also covered in leather.Through the centuries leather manufacture expanded steadily and by medieval times most towns and villages had a tannery, situated on the local stream or river, which they used as a source of water for processing and as a source of power for their water wheel driven machines. Many of these tanneries still exist, but in many towns the only remaining evidence is in street names, like Tanner Street, Bark Street and Leather Lane.

The earliest crude leathers were made by first immersing the raw hides and skins in a fermenting solution of organic matter in which bacteria grew and attacked the hides or skins, resulting in a loosening of the hair or wool and some dissolving out of skin protein. The hair or wool was then scraped off with primitive blunt stone or wooden scrapers and fat or meat still adhering to the flesh side was removed in a similar manner.

                                         Buckaroo Leather Products Horse Tack

Tanning, the conversion of pelt into leather, was done by dusting the raw stock with ground up bark other organic matter and placing them in shallow pits or vats of tannin solution.Further additions of ground bark, were made from time to time until the tannin solution had penetrated right through the skin structure, taking up to two years for very thick hides. The leather was then hung up for several days in open sheds. The dressing of the leather involved paring or shaving it to a level thickness, coloring, treatment with oils and greases, drying and final treatment of the grain surface with waxes, proteins such as blood and egg albumins, and shellac to produce attractive surface finishes.

During the Middle Ages leather was used for all kinds of purposes such as: footwear, clothes, leather bags, cases and trunks, leather bottles, saddlery and harness, for the upholstery of chairs, and couches, book binding and military uses. It was also used to decorate coaches, sedan chairs and walls.The majority of the leather was tanned with oak bark but soft clothing, gloving and footwear leathers were tanned with alum, oil, and combinations of these two materials.With the discovery and introduction of basic chemicals like lime and sulfuric acid, tanners gradually abandoned their traditional methods and leather production slowly became a chemically based series of processes.

The growth of industrialization in the 18th and 19th centuries created a demand for many new kinds of leathers, like belting leathers to drive the machines being introduced into industry, special leathers for use in looms in the textile industry, and leathers for use in transport and for furniture upholstery.

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving the Western Horseman the safest most durable Quality American made leather horse tack....... Buckaroo John Brand 
Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand 
Visit Our Unique Store Today 
Buckaroo Leather Shopping Site

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Prairie Rose Henderson....A True Cowgirl

How a young girl became an American Cowgirl.

Most women in the 1800's learned to ride out of necessity from helping on the ranch or they would practice their skills out on the range. From a very early age women could stay in the saddle, break a bronc and rope a steer.

In the late 1800's, the younger horsewomen began competing against cowboys in a yearly gathering of herds -which progressed into participating in rodeo's.

One of these young horsewomen was "Prairie" Rose Henderson. She was an exuberant and talented daughter of a Wyoming rancher. Rose rode to Cheyenne to enter a bronc busting contest. Much to her dismay, Rose was told she could not ride in the contest. Rose demanded to see the rules. In the bronc busting rules there was nothing stating that women could not compete. The officials had to let her participate. As you can imagine her entrance into the arena caused quit a stir. Women were spectators...not competitors!!!

Prairie Rose came crashing out of the chute, hanging on to the bronc with all her strength....and lost! But, Rose opened the door for all women to compete in rodeos, so I guess you could say she really did win!

Eventually, Prairie Rose did have wins at the rodeos. Rose was even present a champion award by the Union Pacific Railroad.  She was known as the most flamboyant cowgirl of her time. How about this cowgirl costume for you. In 1918 Prairie Rose entered the Gordon Nebraska rodeo wearing ostrich plumes over her bloomers and a blouse covered with bright sequins.

Prairie Rose competed in Rodeos until her death. In 1932, Prairie Rose rode to a competition and was caught in blizzard. She did not survive. Her body was discovered nine years later. The only way they identified her was by her champion belt buckle.

Prairie Rose Henderson a true American Cowgirl with spirit, courage, determination!

At Buckaroo Leather we celebrate the cowgirl spirit with traditional, sheekaroo and exotic styles of Quality Leather horse tack….Ride American!

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving the Western Horseman the safest most durable Quality American made leather horse tack....... Buckaroo John Brand Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand Visit Our Unique Store Today Buckaroo Leather Shopping Site

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Stories of the Old West and the Pionners.....Snakes!

The old west and American prairie are full of stories, legends, and lore. Some about cowboys and their courage, about cowgirls and prairie women strength, and of course Indians.

But have you heard about Snakes and Snake Lore.......

I came across some great stories of snakes and superstitions......

Indians believed that by killing a snake they would make the "other" snake tribes mad-so Indians did not kill snakes.......

So when the Pioneers and early settlers came to the old west there were a lot of snakes!!!

Pioneer women found the snakes to be a very large "inconvenience"- they were always showing up in their frontier home while cleaning the kitchen or under a bed. Here is a true story of one Pioneer woman's experience with her first rattlesnake....

"Returning from the woods one day with an armful of sticks, I saw a large snake lying across the path in front of my three year old daughter who was with me. I caught and pushed her behind me, then throwing down my sticks, picking out the largest as I did, I went for the snake. The stick was rotten and broke with my first stroke. It enraged the rattler. He coiled himself up on one side of the path, and, rearing his head two or three feet from the ground, ran out a red forked tongue and made such a noise with his rattles that my other daughter in our cabin nearby ran to the door to see what it was. 
Without taking my eyes off the snake I called to her to get the hoe. She ran around and came up behind us with it. Then, without moving from my tracks I took the hoe and made short work with his snakeship. We dragged him up to the house and cut off the rattles, sixteen in number, and measured him. He was over five feet in length and as large around as a man's arm."

(from the book "True Tales of the Old-Time Plains" by David Dary) 


There is another story told, about a boy who found a hole with a few snakes.....later he came back with his friend to the same hole and they found and killed 46 snakes. The boys told the other frontier men and they came back to investigate. The men dug a hole around the original hole and found more snakes.....1700 to be exact. They killed them all.....

The men kept on digging, hoping to find an end to the snakes, but it never came....at first the snakes were cowardly and timid, but as time went on the snakes started to fight back and become vicious. The men kept on. When the number of snakes dead reached 4,000 the men decided to pour blasting powder down the hole.....

Needless to say the remaining snakes were disposed of. The pioneer men reasoned that the hole they found led to a larger cavern in the depths of the earth. The believed that many thousands of snakes, from all over, gathered in this cavern for winter.

The old west stories and tales of the pioneer men and women are fascinating!! And I guess they can teach us a few lessons-

If you see a snake hole-let it be, who knows how many more snakes are down there!!!!!!!!

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving
the Western Horseman the safest most durable
Quality American made leather horse tack.......Buckaroo John Brand
Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand
Visit Our Unique Store Today
Buckaroo Leather Shopping Site

Monday, March 16, 2015

The History of the Mecate Reins and Hackamores

The Mecate Reins are the Rage of the Sage because they are so versatile.

The Mecate is the rein portion of the horse tack, called the Hackamore. The Hackamore is a type of headgear for horse training. The unique part of the Hackamore is that it does not have a bit. It uses a braided noseband called a Bosal. The Bosal is a special type of noseband that 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.

The history of the Hackamore and Mecate goes all the way back to 4,000 BC. 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 BC were one of the first 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 nose, which allowed the rider to achieve more power from the horse. Later this third rein moved from the top of the noseband to under the chin, where it is still part of the modern Bosal style Hackamore with Mecate reins.

The Hackamore used in the United States came from the Spanish Vaqueros in California. From this, the American Cowboy adopted two different uses, the "Buckaroo" tradition closely resembling that of the original Vaqueros and the "Texas" tradition which blended some Spanish techniques with methods from the eastern states.

These types of Hackamores include the Bosal and side pull. The Bosal Hackamore uses the Vaqueros tradition of the braided noseband and the Mecate rope.

The Mecate is tied to the Bosal in a specialized manner that adjusts the fit of the Bosal around the muzzle of the horse and creates both a looped rein and a long free end that can be used for a number of purposes.

For the mounted rider, the free end is coiled and attached to the saddle or tucked under your belt. When the rider dismounts, the lead rein is not used to tie the horse to a solid object but used as a lead rope and a form of lunge line when needed.

The traditional Mecate used by the California Vaqueros was made from the long hair of a horse's tail and was hand braided. Modern Mecates are made with horse hair and synthetic rope with a horse hair tassel at one end and a leather popper at the other end.

A properly tied Mecate knot allows wraps of rope to be added to the knot in front of the rein loop in order to tighten the Bosal noseband on a horse or the rope can be unwrapped to loosen the Bosal.

This Vaquero style of Hackamore is used in Western Riding and is an indispensable part of the Vaquero way of making a California reined horse. It is also used with horses that have dental issues, where a bit would be painful. Some riders also like to use this style of Hackamore in the winter instead of a frozen metal bit.

Buckaroo Leather Products uses the influence of the Vaquero when creating the many styles of Hackamores and Mecates we have available. Buckaroo also offers many traditional "Old mexico" hand braided Rawhide Bosals.

Hand Woven 100% Alpaca Mecate Rein with the colors Summer Rose with Black and tan. The Alpaca fibers used in these Mecates are grown on a family ranch in South East Colorado. 

Complete Hackamore Set includes an all natural color beautifully hand braided 12 plait 5/8" Vaquero style, All rawhide core (no cable core) natural rawhide bosal.

 These are Braided in the old Vaquero tradition with a forelock tie, some of the finest braiding we have ever seen.

Mane Hair Mecate

Mane Hair Mecate 5/8" - 22' long, 6 Strand Braid.
Beautiful Quality hand braided feel and communication.

Mecate Rein with Leather Popper

This rein has a Nylon Mecate with Leather poppers. Available in 5/8" width and 23' length. This mecate is Perfect for the beginning stages of Horse training or everyday mecate use.

Buckaroo Leather Products has all your Hackamore, Mecate, and slobber strap needs. We have many styles to choose from and all are fashioned from the highest grade American Made leather, from Hermann Oak Leather. The quality of our horse tack can not be beat!! Proud to be American made!!

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving the 
Western Horseman the safest most durable 
Quality American made leather horse tack....... Buckaroo John Brand Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand 
Visit Our Unique Store Today 
Buckaroo Leather Shopping Site

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Nerviest Cowgirl....Fox Hastings

Eloise Fox Hastings…..”The nerviest cowgirl” as quoted by the announcer, Foghorn Clancy, at her first rodeo.  I suppose that is why when she was a little girl her parents sent her away to a convent school. But, being a rebel she ran away from the convent and joined the Irwin Brother’s Wild West Show. While at the Wild West Show she met Mike Hastings.

Mike Hastings was a bulldogger (steer wrestler) for the Irwin Brother’s Wild West Show. Mike taught Fox how to bulldog and the basics of the rodeo competition. At the age of 16 Fox married Mike Hastings and began her bulldogging and rodeo career.
At the start of her career with Irwin Brother’s Wild West Show, Fox performed trick, bronc riding, and relay racing. But, in 1924 at the Forth Worth Texas Rodeo Fox debuted her bulldogging talents. The announcer of the Rodeo and Fox’s manger, Foghorn Clancy, described the condition of the arena “as muddy as a hog wallow”. Fox set a record time that day of 17 seconds.

This was just the beginning of her famous bulldogging career. Fox broke records wherever she went and her charisma and athletic ability brought her praise throughout her career. In Houston, at the Cattlemen’s Convention Fox was named the most outstanding act of the entire Texas Rodeo. Fox continued to compete in rodeos and perform in the Wild West Shows for about 10 years. 

That little girl with the rebel spirit who was sent to a convent was known as the redheaded feminine daredevil of the arena. Fox’s cowgirl spirit, enthusiasm for bulldogging and her love of the competition made Fox the perfect candidate for the Rodeo Hall of Fame. Eloise Fox Hastings was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1987.

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving the 
Western Horseman the safest most durable 
Quality American made leather horse tack....... Buckaroo John Brand Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand 
Visit Our Unique Store Today  
Buckaroo Leather Shopping Site

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Californio Vaquero Hackamore Very Poplular Today

The “old west” style of Hackamores are very popular today!!

The traditional Hackamore used by the Californio Vaquero long ago had a beautiful braided rawhide Bosal and adorned with rawhide buttons. The Mecate rein was made from the long hair of the horse’s tail and was hand braided.....truly a work of art.

The influence of the Vaquero style is seen in our Hackamores today. They have a traditional braided rawhide Bosal and the Mecate reins are made with mane horse hair or mohair and are beautifully hand braided.

Today’s Hackamores not only have the Vaquero style, they have their timeless quality. The Vaquero used the braided rawhide Bosal and horse hair Mecate reins because the durability and quality was long lasting. The horse hair is strong but lightweight, better for training and working the horse then and now.

It is exciting to see the influence of the Californio Vaquero still around today.

Complete Hackamore Set includes an all natural color beautifully   hand braided 12 plait 5/8" Vaquero style, All rawhide core (no cable core) natural rawhide bosal, natural with beautiful black accents

Price $259

These are Braided in the old Vaquero tradition with a forelock tie, 
some of the finest braiding we have ever seen.

Price $249

Beautiful Quality hand braided feel and communication. These mecates are the best we have found braided in the old California Vaquero Style.

Price $119

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving the 
Western Horseman the safest most durable 
Quality American made leather horse tack....... Buckaroo John Brand Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand 
Visit Our Unique Store Today 
Buckaroo Leather Shopping Site

Monday, March 2, 2015

When I am an Old Horsewoman.....

 Constance Reeves, Cowgirl

A few years ago I found this poem, 
"When I am an Old Horsewoman" by Patty Barnhart.....

When I am an old horsewoman

I shall wear turquoise and diamonds,

And a straw hat that doesn’t suit me

And I shall spend my social security on

white wine and carrots,

And sit in my alleyway of my barn

And listen to my horses breathe.

I will sneak out in the middle of a summer night

And ride the old bay gelding,

Across the moonstruck meadow

If my old bones will allow

And when people come to call, I will smile and nod

As I walk past the gardens to the barn

and show instead the flowers growing

inside stalls fresh-lined with straw.

I will shovel and sweat and wear hay in my hair

as if it were a jewel

And I will be an embarrassment to all

Who will not yet have found the peace in being free

to have a horse as a best friend

A friend who waits at midnight hour

With muzzle and nicker and patient eyes

For the kind of woman I will be

When I am old.

Originally published in The Arabian Horse World magazine in l992

Constance Reeves, Cowgirl

This poem was a huge hit and still is!! So I went on a search for the author Patty, and I found her. Here is what I learned.....

Patty started writing for an equine newsletter in the late 70's and 80's. This is where she started writing her poems. Patty decided to send her poems to a magazine. The editor contacted Patty to publish her work.... and the rest is history. Patty submitted "When I Am An Old Horsewoman" and it took off, appearing on all kinds of websites!!!

And while the Poem is incredible, what Patty does today is even more interesting and fun!!! Patty has a beautiful guest ranch in Lakeview, Oregon called Willow Springs Guest Ranch. The fun and interesting fact of this ranch is that it is run totally "off the Grid" !!!!

Patty and her husband Keith moved to their present location, Lakeview Oregon, in the fall of 1996. It was their intention from the beginning to make their 2500+ spread into a guest ranch. They swung open their gate for clients a few short years later.

The ranch is surrounded on three sides by public land which makes the riding pretty much unlimited and guests can bring their own horses and point them in almost any direction and ride. The ranch does get a fair number of international folks and guests without horses of their own, and they maintain a herd of quiet ranch horses for those guests. The vistas are spectacular and encompass high desert sage flats, pine forests, rim rocks, and even a lake or two depending on where the guest ride.

The ranch has a high volume of repeat clients that Patty and Keith think of as friends. They love to sit around the campfire with them, eating Keith's good Dutch oven fare, and thinking about what the day has presented.


When Patty and Keith moved to Lakeview, they realized there was no commercial electricity and that they would have to generate their own. There was a small existing array of solar panels, which they relied on for several years. They eventually put in an up-dated system, a wind generator. They have a propane generator when there is neither wind nor sunshine, which is not often!


Their cabins are outfitted with propane fireplaces and hot water heaters for creature comfort and LED lanterns for use after sundown. The guests love it!

Patty says..."I think we all have a sense of getting in touch with our "inner pioneer"! "

Almost all the guests ask about Patty and Keith living "off the grid" and Keith is happy to give the green energy tour.

Their guest season begins in April as a Bed and Breakfast, then midway through May they offer horse-back riding and outdoor dinners. This continues through September when they put the outdoor activities on hold until spring, but they offer the ranch experience as a Bed and Breakfast for the month of October.

If you want a true "Old West Cowboy Experience" with a "green" twist, visit this ranch!!!! And while you are there tell Patty how much you love her Poem!!!!!!

Willow Springs Guest Ranch
34064 Clover Flat Rd.
Oregon 97630



Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving the 
Western Horseman the safest most durable 
Quality American made leather horse tack....... Buckaroo John Brand Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand 
Visit Our Unique Store Today  

Buckaroo Leather Shopping Site