A vaquero saddle is a finely-tuned combination of detail, beauty, practicality and comfort.
Ramón Bolaños makes individually ordered spanish saddles to measure in his workshop here in Andalusia.
Today’s vaquero saddle descends directly from saddles used by the Arabs. Centuries of experience and practical application have given Spain’s working cowboys the perfect tool for their work.
ALL the details on buying vaquero saddles - Prices Colours Design.
The vaqueros in southern Spain still ride with the cattle, full days in the saddle. Ramón is conscious of basic, critical elements when he makes a vaquero saddle. - A perfect fit for the horse - Safety for the rider - Comfort for both.
There is a distinction between a vaquero in the field, riding in his everyday work with livestock, and the dressage discipline called doma vaquera.
Doma vaquera - vaquero training, or vaquero dressage - is the classical arena representation of the skills and movements used by vaqueros in the field.
The materials used are natural, those that were found to function best over the centuries for the purpose.
Ramón begins with paja de centeno sweet smelling straw from the rye grass that he grows himself. Out in the country, under that superb Andalusian sky, he beats it to soften the fibres, Row by row he firmly stuffs it into the canvas that will form part of the saddle-tree.
There is no rigidity in the tree of the traditional vaquero saddle, one aspect that makes the saddle as comfortable and enduring as it is. This rye-grass filled canvas fits between two elements, the perilla at the front, and the concha shell at the back.
Once the canvas is fitted between perilla and concha, the doma vaquera saddle is now covered with leather on the top,
and with specially woven lona below - a canvas that will absorb
sweat from the horse’s back and prevent rubbing.
To aid in this, the lona is filled with pelo de cabra - goat hair.
The traditional structure and natural materials used allow the doma vaquera saddle to mould and adapt perfectly to the horse and rider.
Now come the details, and the external beauty of a doma vaquera saddle emerges. Cinch and stirrup leathers are set in place.
Crucial here are safety and security. The cinch goes right around the saddle, and everything is secured with stitching and double-stitching.
Over this goes the almohadilla - the cushion - a quilted canvas layer held by cords, that contributes to rider comfort.
Particular to the vaquero saddle is the baticola, the strong strap attached to the front of the saddle, passing through the back and looping around the horse’s tail for added stability.
Vaquera saddle stirrups are made of steel. They have to protect the vaquero cowboy working in the fields from possibly irate bulls, and must allow for rapid extraction of the rider’s foot in emergencies. Lighter stirrrups are available for trail riders.
Last touches - the sheepskin that provides the ultimate in comfort.
This fully rigged vaquero saddle is eight years old, and used almost daily. Final touches here are the leather cords that attach the cowboy’s gear, and the manta estribera - the striped woollen blanket that is draped over the front of the saddle.
Interested in buying a SPANISH HORSE to go with the saddle?
visit our parallel site www.pure-spanish-horse-spain.com
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