The Fine Art of Hitching
Have you ever hitched? Of course we are not talking about the art of sticking your thumb out to catch a ride. Hitching does involve a ride of another kind, a horse. Hitching involves the use of horsehair. A hitcher will start with each hair and combining each strand of hair together, create the desired results. Very much the same as construction of a rope, hitching is done by hand and requires much patience. Twisting the hair into a strand and then again into a larger design can take many, many hours. The art of hitching dates back to Spain in the 8th century, and was brought over to America by the early Spaniards. Many early American hitchers were actually prisoners in western prisons. Of course it is amazing how much patience one has when locked in Yuma Territorial Prison for a 5-7 year vacation.
By now a cowboy tradition of the west, hitching can be found in the form of hatbands, belts, horse bridles and many other forms. Many pieces will often take hundreds of hours of hand made work to complete. Some will incorporate differing colors and designs, this being accomplished by the dyeing of the hair. This is where the art comes in, creativity can flow through a piece. The hitcher is an artist creating a three dimensional work of art.
Dallas Ray Schut is one of those hitchers. Describing himself as “persistent” more than “patient”, he insists he must finish what he starts. Working out of his homestead in New River, Az. he is a 25 year disciple of the hitching discipline. It has gotten to the point that he has had his works shown in many public shows and museums. The works of art he creates really do take hundreds of hours at a time to complete, and it shows. The amazing amount of detailed work involved can be seen in each piece. While this was the way of the west for many years, with modern times brought modern methods. It is great to see the artistry of a time gone by from the old west still in those who do things the old fashioned way.
Author: Chris Bowley is the owner of http://www.oldwestweb.com, a web design service with a western twist. Web design with the west in mind.