Clothes Horse: Mexican Influence

The Clothes Horses is our new, regular feature with posts by fashion-conscious riders. Here, we discuss the decisions, merits, and enthusiasms behind riders’ wardrobe choices.

It’s not common knowledge, but aside from being an accomplished neuropsychologist and author, Dr. Steve Peters is a heckuva clothes horse. He’s mighty particular about his riding outfits.

This week, Peters and the Clothes Horse pay tribute to vaqueros (Spanish for ‘cowboys’) from south of the border, from the mission and rancho period in California. Check out the Clothes Horse ode to Texas garb.

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Starting from the top, Steve Peters writes:

I am wearing a sombrero. Cowboys came to use this term for any wide-brimmed hat. The sombrero provided wide shade to protect from an intense, relentless sun. The sombrero has a high, conical crown. The Spanish had a flat top sombrero and the vaquero modified the round crown (called a Poblano which looks like Zorro’s hat. The small beads on my stampede strings are Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday) skulls.

The vaquero often wore his scarf underneath his hat, pirate style.

Like the sombrero, the white cotton jeans and shirt were designed in response to the environment and desert climes.  The belt I bought from a small tack stand in Mexico City.

I am donning big Hispanic-style spurs with large rowels (Don’t worry, these are antiques, hang on our wall, and are never used on our horses!). Often the spur had a down-turned rowel and the rider did not walk with them. He took them off when he got off his horse.
Some of these spurs were called Chihuahua spurs or G.S. Garcia spurs. Guadalupe S. Garcia, born in Mexico in 1864, eventually settled in Elko, Nevada and built a reputation as a premier saddle maker and silversmith. His famous shop is now J.M. Capriola’s. Read more here.

The Vaquero could wear armas, a big leather skirt that attached to the saddle.  Here, I am wearing the traditional armitas (little armour). Armitas were light in color and light-weight with short fringe so as not to get caught up in the brush, and with an apron in front. Typically, these were “step in” style and decorated with conchas on the side.

Ponchos originated in the Andes and were used like a wearable blanket. They  were often brightly-colored and hand-loomed. The Saltillo serapes of northern Mexico were famous for their patterns, colors and association with horsemen.

My rope is made of maguey, a Mexican plant in the agave family.

Posted in Clothes Horse.

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