Rawhide Braiding with Doug Groves

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I have been told that if you really want to experience what the Gathering has to offer with regards to culture and tradition then you need to visit Doug Groves in the rawhide workshop. You can seek Doug out in a small room of the convention center, where a community gathers to work their projects, share ideas and help friends.


Doug Groves has been sharing his knowledge and skills with anyone that wants to delve deep into the art or simply learn the basics.  I watched form and function come together beautifully as Doug braided strings of rawhide into strong rope, all while explaining technique and theory to an engaged and involved audience.  The display of work around the room by artisans and students alike humbled me as I walked about, but Doug's easy and informative lessons helped ground the entire experience.

I asked Doug to provide a short history about the use of rawhide and he made it clear that there isn't a 'short history' when it comes to rawhide.  Its use dates beyond recorded history as humans learned that strength increases when single strings are woven into a unified rope.  Since then rawhide traditions have grown and moved across vast distances, changing along the way.  Doug explained that today rawhide remains the best choice when working with horses because it provides the rider with the response needed from hand to horse to clearly convey the rider's intent.  It is still an important part of western tradition.

If you didn't make it this year don't miss out on a chance to learn the ancient tradition—be sure to put it onto your calendar for next year.

Submitted by Michael Gamm