Higher plaited bosals are not about being a better training aid for the horse but about the rider wanting the best looking, safest crafted tack on his horses head. Its about wanting the best or something better for your horse. If riders only wanted the plain basic tack, I guess we all would be riding rough out saddles, rope hackamore’s, and burlap blankets.
We braid cow,calf and goat hides. Of all the hides we braid, goat hide is by far the strongest and last the longest. We use all three of these hides on almost everything we make. Several years ago a customer special ordered several 22 plait romals made from calf rawhide. They looked great and I decided to order 20 more for my customers. The finish work on these looked a little better so I quizzed the braiders on what they had done different. He informed me that I did not specify the type rawhide so he used goat on these 20 romal`s. He then schooled me on rawhides. He said, why would anyone want calf rawhide on 22 plait romals when the goat hide is twice as strong, longer lasting and make a more finished romal. In the past we had made all romals over 22 plait out of goat but we changed after this schooling.
Outside of Lima Peru is a horse club that houses what I consider the best collection of antique rawhide tack in the world. It has a collection of braided romals, headstall, bosals, leads and other antique tack that dates back over 250 years. My favorite piece in this collection is a romal over 150 years old that has braiding like i have never seen. The collections owner said this special romal set took the braider over a year to make. I`ll be posting a picture of it on my web/site soon. There was other romal sets that were almost 300 years old. Almost all this collection had one thing in common. 90% of this collection was braided from goat hide. What`s the oldest romal that you`ve ever seen in a collection? Most likley 40-50 years old. The reason is almost all rawhide braiding made in the USA or MEXICO is made from cow or calf. Braiders here never developed the skills to braid the goat rawhide. Braiding the goat rawhide is a whole different technique from braiding cow, calf or horse belly but its the best, longest lasting and the best looking. The only other braided hide that compare with goat rawhide for beauty or durability is kangeroo hides.
One of out best braiders just won ” BEST BRAIDER” at the ” ART OF THE COWBOY MAKER” for the second year in a row. This contest was held in december during this years NFR in Las Vegas. He also won best of show with his 54 plait Santa Ynez romal. Last year he won first place with a 100 plait, 3/4″ cow horse style bosal. He`s just finished a 120 plait, 3/4″ bosal that were considering intering in next years contest.