The history of horsehair art is not well known.  Some believe that is originated in Spain around the 8th century while others believe it to be an American art form originating with the cowboys of yesteryear.  There does not seem to be artifacts left around from the Spaniards so it may very well be one of a few American born arts.  Cowboys would have had an abundant supply of horse hair along with time during the winter to created usable pieces for their work.  The most common historic pieces seem to be bridles.
    Prisons also hold a strong interest in the history of horsehair art.  Prisoners from places like Deer Lodge, Montana; Yuma, Arizona; Rawlins, Wyoming; and Walla Walla, Washington; have used their time behind bars to develop their skills to an artform.  The art was usually passed from prisoner to prisoner.  Sometimes the one wishing to learn would have to make 'payments' such as making 1000 pulls in exchange for the sharing of knowledge.  Many of the most valuable historic pieces collected today are from these prisons.
    Today horse hair art is not as closely linked to the prisons as it was in the past.  A few people are starting to learn this almost lost art from books, videos, and other hitchers.
Photo by CoCo
“The dog may be man’s best friend....but the horse wrote history.”
Author Unknown
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