Leather has many characteristics making it a very valuable material to a variety of people and their lifestyles. Cowboys and ranchers are a part of that list. They use leather for several different everyday items. Their lifestyle has proven the need for a material that is long lasting, flexible, durable and impressionable. Leather fits all of these needs. Hence why it was used in the past, present and will more than likely be used in the future.
In the Past
Leather has been used by cowboys, ranchers and westerners alike. The material is durable and can withstand a lot of use. Which is exactly what the cowboy lifestyle demands.
In the “good ol’ days,” horses were the primary mode of transportation. As a result, there was typically a need for saddles, bridles and reins. This collection of necessary elements was traditionally crafted from leather.
The material was pliable enough to create reins and bridles that would need to move with the rider and horse. The saddle was also made from leather because of its durability and flexibility. Cowboys rode through different weather conditions, including snow, rain and sunshine. Because of this it was necessary to have a saddle and other riding equipment made from quality, long-lasting materials that could withstand a variety of weather conditions.
In addition to riding equipment, cowboys and ranchers used leather to make saddle bags. These were bags that typically sat behind the cowboy on the horse and carried a variety of things. It could include food, water, firearms, blankets and more. It was their travel bag. Again, because these bags were exposed to many different weather conditions, it was critical to craft these from durable material like leather.
Due to the nature of the job and lack of constant shelter, cowboys needed to have travel equipment made from durable material. Leather was found to best suit their needs and last them a long time. Thus, it was used for a variety of things including transportation needs.
Similar to past times, leather is used today by cowboys and ranchers alike. The material has proven to be one of the most durable and quality materials available and so continues to be used for everyday tools and equipment.
Not much has changed in regard to riding equipment. Most saddles, reins and bridles are still crafted with leather. Again, this is because of its durability and high quality. While cowboys and ranchers may not be out in the weather elements as much as in past times, they still need a material that is flexible and long lasting. Thus, leather is continued to be used for building saddles and other riding equipment.
For the rodeo crowd, leather saddles are convenient because they are flexible and comfortable. They can move with the horse, easily dismounting the horse for whatever rodeo activity they participate in. They need a pliable seat that will withstand a lot of use, like cowboys and ranchers.
Additionally, leather is used for other purposes in the cowboy or rancher’s everyday life. For example, gloves that ranchers use to build fences, operate certain machinery or other daily tasks are typically made from leather. The leather protects their hands from getting hurt while withstanding significant use. It’s also flexible enough to be used as gloves, allowing the user to still flex and move their hands.
Another simple, yet significant item that is made from leather that cowboys and ranchers use are their boots. Similar to gloves, that material is thinned enough to make it flexible so they can still walk and move easily. Yet, the material is strong and durable enough to stand up to different ground conditions like mud or snow.
Just like in past times, leather is used almost everyday by cowboys and ranchers in today’s world. Since their lifestyle has not changed much over the years, they still need material that is long-lasting and durable. That’s why leather is still used today.
In the future and as we move forward, no one can quite predict how much leather will be utilized by the cowboy and rancher lifestyle. Based on past experience, and even the present, it seems that leather will continue to be used for a variety of tools and equipment.
Although there are different types of leather and sometimes different ways to make leather, it still seems to be one of the best materials to be used. It has proven to survive harsh weather conditions and continued use. Making it almost priceless for cowboys and ranchers.
Leather is hard to beat as a material type, which is why Texas Saddlery continues to use high-quality, genuine leather to craft their goods. This includes saddles, tack and even clothing accessories like belts!