Uses of Leather Made From Horse Hides
 By Winniefield Park   •   22nd Mar 2017   •   6,859 views   •   0 comments

Most of us find the idea of eating a horse rather repelling. But what about wearing one, covering your couch or car seat with one, or slinging a piece of horse over your shoulder? Horsehide products are a by-product of the horse meat industry, the skins may also be harvested when rendering already dead animals or horses and other equids may be slaughtered primarily for their hides. And they're more common than many of us realize.

Leather made from horse hides is called a few different names. Pony skin can be the tanned cowhide with the hair still on it, or it may actually be horsehide. Shell cordovan or cordovan leather is a leather that goes through a fairly complicated tanning process and comes from a specific area on the horse.

What is horsehide used for? Horse hide is less commonly used than it once was. At the time when horses were used for transportation and power, the use of horsehide for harness making, luggage, shoes and other useful items was more common. Baseballs were also covered in horsehide, although they’re more likely to be covered in cowhide today. World War 2 pilots would likely have been wearing jackets made of horsehide.

Now, horsehide is regarded more as a luxury item. You can, however, find furniture, car interiors, purses, luggage, and rugs. Garments are commonly made from horsehide. Motorcycle enthusiasts appreciate the fine grain, substance, and durability of horsehide jackets and chaps. Gun holsters are commonly made with horsehide. Traditionally bound books may still be covered in horsehide. You can even buy horsehide chews for your dog.

Why bother using horsehide leather to make or cover anything? There are a few characteristics of horsehide that make it desirable, or the better choice over cowhide depending on what you are making. Horsehide is stiffer than cowhide leather. For this reason, horsehide is preferable for motorcycle jackets that are meant to buffet the wind while riding. Gun holsters won’t break down as quickly as one made of cowhide. And some feel, because horsehide is a tight grained leather, it will not hold rust causing moisture on firearms. And for this reason, compared to cowhide items won’t need to be oiled or conditioned quite as often. Some seem to think that horsehide leather is more waterproof, but this isn’t quite true. It will shed water well but can become wet like any other leather. So, for many, the choice of leather used for any item may be personal preference.

Horse hides are a natural byproduct of the slaughter trade. But, leather is also made from horses picked up by dead stock trucks and sent to rendering plants. There are a few places where equids are killed for leather, but their hides may also go into the making of a folk medicine thought to improve skin health. The Donkey Sanctuary in the U.K. reports that thousands of stolen donkeys are being killed to make a gelatine that is the main ingredient in the skin enhancing potion. In addition to the suffering of the animals being slaughtered, people who use donkeys for their livelihood are suffering as they lose their main source of transportation.

So what do you think? Is using horsehide leather a good use of resources? Would you own or wear a horsehide item?
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