Overview Family Open Range Ranching Today Hired Hands Food and Free Time All Image Gallery
Much of the cowboy's specialized horse gear or tack, was adapted from Spanish and Mexican predecessors.

Saddle: A cowboy's saddle was considered 'his workbench and his throne.' Often costing a month's wages [$30-40], it was sometimes more valuable than the horse beneath it. However, the horse usually belonged to the rancher. The saddle was the cowboy's own property. It was so important to him that the expression, 'He sold his saddle,' meant a man was through as a cowboy.

Bridle: The leather headstall holds the metal bit in the horse's mouth. Bits varied over time, and with the rider's skill. A good cowboy on a good horse, a gentle bit, reins and 'cow sense' were all the guidance needed. Some cowboys preferred to ride with only a hackamore, a bit-less bridle that was often used when breaking or training a horse.

Rope: Usually made of twisted horsehair, hemp or rawhide, a cowboy's rope extended his reach. When roping a cow, a cowboy might have one end of his rope already tied fast to his saddlehorn, or he might 'dally' [wrap] the free end around the horn quickly after the catch was made. The 'honda' was the small, leather-wrapped or metal lined loop through which the other end of the rope was passed to make the wide loop used in roping.

GRKO13988_bagholste GRKO17413_bridle GRKO15942_Bielenberg
NextClothingGearRound-upsOpportunity and Risk