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Cinches and girths have traditional roots in the skilled trades of horsemanship dating back for centuries as an essential component when using the saddle, yet it is one of the least documented pieces of gear. Though often overlooked because of an 'out-of-sight, out-of-mind' placement, recent years have realized a renewed interest in the significance of the cinch and how it directly contributes to equine comfort and performance. When we consider how irritating a bunched-up sock under our foot can be, we do well to remember that in the "cinch groove," the skin is thinner as well as the site of more movement than elsewhere on the body of both horses and mules. Though the use of natural fibers twisted into cordage have long been valued as the preferred materials for cinches, we find that they have limited written reference in history, with the primary documentation for "fine animal hair" cinches of twisted cords being those offered commercially in early 1900's saddle catalogs. The highest value cinches were often made with the fibers of horses, cows, and angora goats. Commercially produced cord cinches of synthetic fibers largely replaced the natural fiber cords in recent decades, bringing about a resurgence of independent makers committed to reviving the use of natural fibers and techniques nearly lost to commercialism. This movement back to the traditional materials and techniques has largely been a result of folks setting out to further understand the considerations of comfort while determining and successfully implementing a variety of improvements in the process. The results have produced an added refinement and value to cinches by selecting the softer, yet stronger hairs of carefully bred white angora goats and an increasing number of colored angora goats, the very popular alpaca (Lama pacos), and Bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus), all three of which offer amazing ranges of natural color. While a limited amount of completely natural fiber cordage is occasionally factory twisted and largely unavailable due to the limitations of today's commercial spinning equipment, a number of cinch makers have found it quite satisfying to take several steps back into the process by making their own cordage. Those who are choosing to twist cords up from small yarns of mohair (angora goat hair), churro sheep, alpacas, and various other natural fibers have discovered the ability to provide a superior level of artistic design with greater control over quality. - Art of the cowboy Makers
Horses, Mules and Donkeys love the smell of mohair!
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