If you want to settle down in front of a warm winter fire this winter and learn more about the history of the chap-wearing cowboy, following is a list of suggested reading that might just keep you entertained! Cowboy Gear: A Photographic Portrayal of the Early Cowboys and Their Equipment (David AR. Stoecklein) is described as a “magnificent, full color documentary of our Western heritage, including saddles, spurs, boots, hats, and attitude. Cowboy Gear shows artifacts and collectibles from 1860 to 1920 as they were actually used by their original owners — it’s a true look into the daily lives of the men who settled the West.” One reviewer of the book commented that it “captures the true essence of the west.”Bandannas, Chaps, and Ten-gallon Hats: Life in the Old West (Bobbie Kalman) provides uses for bandannas and explains why hats are described as gallons along with photos illustrating the clothing worn by men and women cowhands. Recommended for young readers. Cowboys & the Trappings of the Old West (William Manns) is a pictorial celebration of the old time buckaroo. The cowboys’ colorful story and history are graphically presented in this epic narrative. For the first time, his saddles, chaps, spurs, and other tools of the trade are presented in a carefully crafted portrait. Tribute is given to the artisans and craftsmen who fashioned the cowboy’s unique outfit including his chaps!
The American cowboy seems to be slowly becoming a thing of the past.Gone are the days of cattle ranching when men herded cattle by horseback from their summer high country grazing pastures to the more protective lower winter plains the process now being replaced more and more by motor vehicles or helicopters.But in the late 19th century men needed to protect their legs from the harsh terrain they encountered as they herded cattle by horseback oft times being forced to rub against cactus, thorns, sage, or other abrasive brush as they moved herds in some very rugged terrain.Borrowing from their Spanish and Mexican counterparts, the American cowboy soon learned that the wearing of chaps something that Mexican vaqueros designed in the early 1800s would protect their legs while riding.And since a cowboy’s legs were almost as critical to him and his effectiveness at his job as his horse, (more…)