Our site has a new look and new contact information because we moved back home to Montana.
Tips on Purchasing Hitched Horsehair
Hitched horsehair items are unique and collectible. First time buyers may need help on what to look for so they purchase high-quality items. Here are a few tips.
Look for uniformity in hitching. Patterns should be centered from edge to edge, and lengthwise. Hitching tension is the tightness of the hitched rows, usually 8 ½ to 10 ½ rows per inch of hitching. Being consistent in hitching tension is more important than the amount of rows hitched per inch.
Dyed colors should not bleed into other colors or background.
A stray hair poking out here or there is acceptable. Just cut if off. Many hairs poking out is poor quality work. Use a side cutter, aka flush cutters, to cut stray hairs.
If the item looks like plastic and feels like plastic, it is not considered collectible by serious collectors. It has been improperly pressed.
Pulls of hair should be lying down.
When purchasing belts, make sure there is not excessive leather with a short hitched blank. You want to pay for hitched horsehair, not leather ends.
Choose colors and designs that are personally pleasing to you.
Imported items may be cheaper. But we are finding that individuals who choose this option are paying for inferior products. After a few years of wearing imported belts, the belts can fall apart.
Old pieces have their own uniqueness. At Montana State Prison, cotton butcher twine was taken from the slaughter house and used to hitch over. Cotton rots over time. Reins may have cotton rope as the core, which is subject to rot. This could be a determining factor in purchasing. Each piece is judged on its own merits and possibly may be restored. Check with western appraisal businesses for current prices.
It is important to note that hitched horsehair is not the same as braided horsehair. Hitched horsehair is a series of knots with horse tail hair. Braiding is braided…think a child’s hair. Hitched horsehair will last generations, while braiding does not have the same lasting stability. Hitched horsehair is a functional art form meant to leave as part of your legacy.
Old Pieces: Appraisals, Buy & Sell
These businesses are experts at providing these services on old pieces. We have met them all and have done restoration work for all of them. They’re listed in alphabetical order.
Fighting Bear Antiques, Terry & Claudia Winchell, P.O. Box 3790, Jackson, WY 83001; 307-733-2669; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . Their store is located at 375 South Cache, Jackson, WY.