groan of leather

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Senior Member
Dear all
Please tell me if "groan of leather" in the following context from "The Day of the Locust" by Nathanael West means sound of whips the soldiers were using on the horses:
Around quitting time, Tod Hackett heard a great din on the road outside his office. The groan of leather mingled with the jangle of iron and over all beat the tattoo of a thousand hooves.
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