Horsehide is not as readily available as cowhide; we eat more cows than horses. In other words, using the supply and demand principle, horsehide will be more of an investment than cowhide when it comes to your holster. Vegetable tanned horsehide is extremely firm-grained, dense and water repellent. One of the more notable properties of horsehide is its natural ability to repel moisture. This is due to the dense cell structure of the hide. This natural ability to repel moisture makes it very useful for certain applications, particularly for use inside the waistband or if you were going to be exposed to an excessive amount of water, moisture, body fluids or humidity. Unlike cowhide, horsehide's non-porous dense nature reduces its ability to fully absorb the molding solution during the forming process; making it much more complex to get good detail of the weapon, but it can be done because we have the skill. Some holster makers claim horsehide cannot look as good as cowhide after the molding process. We disagree with them 100%. With High Noon Holsters' special forming process it can be done and look just as detailed as cowhide.
Also, horsehide tends not to absorb the dye as well as cowhide. That's why you see many horsehide holsters sold as natural finish only. The firm grain texture that you will see in a natural finished horsehide holster is considered part of the beauty of the material and attests to its authenticity. When horsehide is dyed black it hides some of the beauty of the material but has a look all its own with dull spots and shiny ones. Black or natural horsehide holsters are each unique and very beautiful.
Some makers also claim the stitching will wear out faster on a horsehide holster because horsehide is so dense. They say that since the thread sits on the surface of the holster it is easily damaged by the hard surface, unlike cowhide which is just soft enough to allow the stitching to be pulled tight below the surface, where it is protected from abrasion. We are using a quality thread so this does not an issue. If you do believe this and are still concerned, please note that our stitching is guaranteed for the life of the holster, cow or horse.
The bottom line is, horsehide is more difficult to get and work with than cowhide. Most holster makers will not touch this material and do not want to carry horsehide; they do not want to work with the material. Also, it鈥檚 not a big money maker, a lot of waste and a cemetery full of products that do not turn out good. From past history throughout the web even if one does put it in their line, eventually it gets discontinued because of not being able to make a profit on it. We understand, the material kills the sewing machine needles, dulls them and breaks them quickly, puts more stress on all the machines being used ( it鈥檚 a very dense, hard material) and it is unpredictable in the manufacturing process. Also, it takes more skill to sew horsehide and harder to get a good mold on the holster. Horsehide has some extraordinary properties cowhide does not have.
So, which material is better? Neither material is better, they are just different. We like the horsehide for inside the pants holsters better because of its water repellent properties and it makes a slightly stiffer holster then the cow. That's not to say cowhide is inferior for inside the pants or makes a soft holster, its stiff, just not as stiff as horse. Some people do not like the 鈥渘ever鈥