In the Old West our cowboy’s history dates all the way back to the Spanish Vaqueros. Just like horses, the Spanish introduced the art of cowboying to the United States. During the great cattle drives of the 19th century, Spanish Vaqueros signed on as a great addition to the drives, and brought with them a multitude of traditions, among them the wrist chaps. Originally a simple twist of leather or rope about the wrist, cuffs were used to protect wrists from catching and tearing on brush, cactus, whips, ropes and in some cases to protect from kicking hooves while branding cows or shoeing horses. In addition, most cowboys had about one shirt to call their own on a long drive and it was essential to protect their sleeves from the same tearing and ripping. New shirts were expensive and usually not purchased until payday at the end of the drive. Later riders utilized cuffs as a way to protect wrist while shooting and roping. So as with anything, cuffs evolved from the simple twists of leather to the larger more protective shields crafted today. Today’s cuffs, while still serving a utilitarian need have the added bonus of stepping up into the fashion world, utilizing hand tooling , studding and bling! Cuffs like any western tools present an opportunity for a story!
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