Journal of Alta California

The Rein Maker of Riverside County

n the early 1500s, when the future western United States was opened up for cattle ranching, expert cowboys known as vaqueros came up from Mexico and Central America to tend the herds. As they galloped north, each held in his hands a set of braided leather romal reins, which were often the vaquero’s most valuable possession. While most reins were, and still are, made of flat leather straps or rope, romals are of a higher order, typically composed of 12 or 16 plaits. Their intricate construction and

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