Hitching Horsehair

The art of using horsehair to fashion horse gear and human apparel most likely dates back to the eighth century when Spain was invaded by North African Moorish forces. The Spaniards, influenced by the Moor’s use of horsehair, then brought the craft to the New World when Cortez introduced the horse to America in 1519. The vaquero of Mexico, and later the American Cowboy, recognized the beauty and durability of hitching. They would pass winters making gear for themselves and their friends. Today, these products appear at auctions around the world and are highly sought after by collectors. The art of hitching is done entirely by hand. Before any work begins, the hair must first be sorted, washed and dyed. The loose hair is then twisted into “pulls”, with seven to ten hairs in each pull. Actual hitching time can vary from one inch per hour to one half inch per hour depending on the intricacy of design. By virtue of the fact that each step is done by hand and considering the vagaries of each separate bundle of hair, the finished product is truly a collectable piece of art and each piece is one-of-a-kind.