The Origins of the Bullwhip.
While there no doubt where whip designs that looked
exactly like the bullwhip through out history, the term "bullwhip" is
unique to the cowboys and buckaroos of the old west. As you can
see just like whip enthusiasts of today they loved to show
off their whips. The bullwhip was introduced to the United States
by the Spanish Vaqueros. The vaqueros where the original cowboys.
They where also expert raw hide braiders. A talent they learned
from the Moors after they invaded Spain. The Spanish in turn
migrated into mexico and taught the talent to the Mexicans and
taught it to the ranch hands of the old west.
or raitas and whips was a much needed past time in the old
west. As well as a way to pass the time away while watching over
herd. It didn't take long for the cowboys to match the expertise
of the Spanish vaqueros. You can see from the picture that
they made some very nice bullwhips. That whip looks as good if
better than some I see being sold now days. I wonder how it
bet it was a joy. I mean just look at it .The plaiting is smooth
and it doesn't look like it was made of latigo.Most likely
it was made out of raw hide. It looks like the junction between
and the thong is very
From where I sit it looks
like a pretty sweet
whip. You can also tell that the handle was made out of wood.
While this is not
all bullwhips it was and still is very common. The reason being
that it is much faster to make than if you have to braid the
handle. The other reason this was a practical design is that
rods like those used in fully plaited handles where very difficult
to come by in the old west. It was much easier to find a piece
of wood you could shape into a handle.
The bullwhip was designed expressly
for driving cattle. As such it was designed to be a long whip
because it was generally used on horse back so length was needed
to the cattle to have the desired effect while still keeping
the Cowboy and his horse safe. I don't know if
you have ever been charged
by a bull, but I have and let
me tell you having a long whip is a good thing. Now that being
said cattle generally move quite easily when they
that from a whip. But bulls on the other hand can be a bit tenacious
when they have a mind to. Hence the term "Bull Headed" So
the bullwhip was really designed specifically to deal with bulls.
I mean a BULLwhip was made to deal with bulls? Who would have
thunk it? Why no one ever mentions that little factoid in their
definition of a bullwhip is beyond me. One trick
the Cowboys used the bullwhip for was to get a bulls attention.
get very territorial when they have a harem of cows to protect.
Then again so do Momma cows when they have a calf to protect. In some cases the cows are a lot meaner than the bull. Anyway the
at times would
use the sound of the whip to keep the bull distracted
while they rounded up the cattle. Once the herd was on it's way
the bull would peacefully take it's place among them.
There is also
some misconception that cowboys didn't actually hit the animals
the whip because they didn't want to injure the
animal. Well given what they did to cows by branding them
do you think they really would have been worried about hitting
a bull if he was charging at them? I doubt it.
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