Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Gymkhana a History of a Popular Equestrian Sport

Gymkhana is the action packed, precision sport of the equestrian world that is one of the most exciting family oriented equestrian sports in the world. Gymkhana classes are timed speed events such as Barrel racing, Keyhole, Figure 8, keg race (also known as "down and back"), flag race and Pole bending.

Gymkhana has many interesting meanings.

To start, the word is derived from the Hindi and Urdu word for "racket" court. Gymkhana is also an Indian term which originally referred to a place where sporting events took place. This meaning then altered to denote a place where skill-based contests were held, such as in the sports of equestrian, gymnastics, and sports car racing. In India, the term gymkhana is commonly used to refer to a gymnasium.

In the United Kingdom, the term gymkhana now almost always refers to a multi-game equestrian event performed to display the training and talents of horses and their riders. Often the emphasis is on children's participation.

Gymkhana for the equestrian had its beginning with the English military. During the Colonial period, the English military used horses for both transportation and military maneuvers. On Sunday afternoons, the Calvary would compete in horseback games to sharpen their horsemanship for war. Through the years different events have been added, some of which originated in Europe and others which were developed in this country. Ring Spearing, an event that is still part of Gymkhana in some areas, resembles the knight in medieval days riding full charge with his lance aimed at his enemy. The British Bengal Lancer engaged in Tent-Pegging, using his lance to unearth the tent pegs of the enemy, bringing down the tent on his adversaries. Pole Bending can easily be seen as good training for a Calvary charge through dense forest. The Rescue Race and Cowhide Race were originated by the Native American Indians as a way to rescue their comrades in battle. Similarly, the Speedball Race may have derived from the Native American Indians counting "coup" in which they would touch their enemies without harming them. The Pony Express Race, of course, simulates the old time Pony Express rider who delivered the mail between St. Louis and Sacramento in the Old West.

Below is a list of just some of the events you might find in a modern day Gymkhana.

Bending Poles are one of the most common races today. A line of about four or five poles is set up, and the horse and riders have to weave in and out of them as fast as they can, turn round the last one, and bend back to the finish line. This can be played in teams as a relay race and the first team all home wins. If they miss bending round a pole they have to go back and do it again, the only penalty they incur is wasting time. This teaches the pupil to control his mount, as well as turning.

The Egg and Spoon race is another favorite. The participants each get an egg on a spoon and have to go from the start to the other end (usually around the last bending pole), and back as fast as they can without dropping the egg. It is often played with potatoes instead as they don't break when landing on the floor, but beware of horses that eat anything. This is a wonderful event for teaching beginners to sit quietly on horseback and though the pony may be moving their seat moves fluidly with that of the horse. It is also an ideal exercise for riders with a 'hot seat' as they learn to sit still.

A favorite among pony clubbers is the Pairs race. One rider starts on the pony, goes as fast as they can to the other side, where a partner waits. They then help the partner mount and get back to the finish line as fast as possible. A variation of this is to have one start the race, dismount at the other end, and the partner has to mount and race back with no help from the dismounted rider. This is often a difficult thing to do on an excited pony, and can be especially fun when the game is played bareback. They will learn how to mount and dismount as well as how to work as a team.

The Sack Race is played the following way: they all line up at the start, and gallop to the opposite side where sacks are waiting for them. They dismount, jump into the sacks and hop back to the finish line. The first one home wins, and surprisingly this race is often the longest as ponies play up because the person leading them is jumping up and down and unsettling them.

                                                                    Gymkhana pattern

In recent years Gymkhana has been steadily gaining in popularity. New events have been designed for competition between riders which bring into play the abilities of the rider and the speed and handiness of the horse. A good Gymkhana horse must have the speed of a race horse, the turning quickness and agility of a cutting horse and the control and responsiveness of the stock horse. In general, control of the horse and of oneself in the saddle is an added benefit of learning to play these games.

In Gymkhana your horse and you need to have constant control and communication. Quality leather horse tack will enhance this communication between you and horse.

Buckaroo Leather is proud to manufacturer this quality American Made leather horse tack! Our quality leather is not only durable but timeless!

Visit our website for quality leather Training and Performance Tack, Professional Grade Tack, and breast collars and headstalls.

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
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Friday, May 1, 2015

Biggest Sale at Buckaroo Leather 20% Off.....


Buckaroo Leather’s Biggest sale of the Year!!!

20% Off your purchase*

Celebrate with Buckaroo Leather your Mother, Father, or Yourself and your Horse.

We encourage you to treat Yourself to quality leather Horse tack, made in the USA by Buckaroo Leather Products.

Starting today, May 2nd 2015 just use code day20 for 20% off your purchase on our website!

This is a great opportunity to indulge yourself or someone you love in our quality American made horse tack, like the New Majestic Collection Headstall and Sidepull or how about our popular leather reins or a beautiful quality leather breast collar!!

It is easy just visit our website at and use code day20

Sale ends Monday, May 11th 2015

*except on saddles and sale items

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  
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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Angel of Tombstone.....Ellen Cashman


Frontier Angel, Miner's Angel and the Angel of Tombstone were all names known to Ellen (Nellie) Cashman. Ellen was famous throughout the Old West as a nurse, entrepreneur, gold miner and Angel. Ellen was once described as "Pretty as a Victorian cameo and, when necessary, tougher than two-penny nails."

Ellen Cashman was born in Queenstown, County Cork Ireland in 1845. Her father died when she was young, so Ellen, her sister, Frances (Franny) and her mother immigrated to the United States. Ellen and her family settled in Boston, where Ellen began work as a bellhop in a prominent Boston hotel. It is said she met General Ulysses S. Grant, here and he urged Ellen to head west. Ellen and her family did, they headed out west to San Francisco, Ca in 1865.

Ellen was busy working as a cook at various miner camps including Virginia City and Pioche Nevada. Ellen would take the money she earned from the miner camps and open a Miner's Boarding House at Panaca Flat, Nevada in 1872.

In 1874 Ellen came down with gold fever. She, along with 200 Nevada gold miners, traveled to the Cassiar Mountains in British Columbia, Canada to strike it rich. While in Cassiar she set up another boarding house for miners. This time asking for donations to the Sister of St. Anne in return for services at the boarding house. While in Cassiar, Ellen heard of 26 miners who were injured and suffered from scurvy. She quickly put together a six man search party and collected food and medicine to bring to the stranded miners. The conditions in the mountains were bad and Ellen was advised by the Canadian Army not to proceed on her search. She went anyways and eventually after 77 days of tough weather conditions, Ellen located the injured miners who numbered 75 men not 26. She administered a vitamin C diet to nurse the group back to health. Ellen would later be known as the "Angel of Cassiar".

Ellen eventually found her way to Arizona. First stopping in Tucson and then later in 1880 to Tombstone Arizona, just after the arrival of the Earp brothers. Ellen opened a restaurant and hotel called Russ House which served 50 cent meals and advertised "there are no cockroaches in my kitchen and the flour is clean."  Legend has it that a man once complained about Ellen's cooking and a fellow patron Doc Holliday drew his pistol asking the man to repeat what he said. Embarrassed the man replied, "Best I ever ate."  
Ellen spent her years in Tombstone as a business owner, influential citizen, and an Angel of Tombstone. Ellen was a life long Catholic and convinced the owners of the Crystal Palace Saloon (one of whom was Wyatt Earp) to allow Sunday church services until she could raise enough funds for the construction of the Sacred Heart Church. She also raised money for the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and the miner's hospital there in Tombstone.

Ellen came back from an unsuccessful gold expedition in Baja, California and learned her sister had died of tuberculosis and left Ellen to raise her  5 children. Ellen sold the Russ House and spent the next years with the children wandering the mining camps of Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona. Ellen would eventually joined the Klondike Gold Rush in Canada's Yukon Territory. Ellen arrived in Dawson where she opened a restaurant, a mercantile outlet and a refuge for miners. Ellen lived in Dawson for 7 years and was know to all as one of the greatest figures of the Klondike gold rush.

In January 1925 the Angel of Tombstone, Ellen (Nellie) Cashman developed pneumonia and died. She was buried at Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria, British Columbia. Entrepreneur, humanitarian, gold miner, Angel whatever you choose to call her Ellen embodied the spirit of the Old West through her courage and entrepreneurial spirit.

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 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