In honor of my new release, Cowboy Heat, an anthology featuring stories from 14 other authors with fierce cowboys and the women strong enough to tame them taking the lead, we’ll walk in the boots of a cowboy for the next few Tuesdays and explore interesting facets of his life in the blog series, Cowboy Culture.
The cowboy is so much more than a herder of cattle. His roots trace back to Spain and the first European immigrants who settled the new world. Though known today for his loyalty and hard-working spirit, his early expeditions recognize the occasionally savagery of his conquests in the frontier. His persistence and ability to thrive with little but the horse between his strong legs helped make him the backbone of the America West. It’s no wonder Hollywood, literary and popular fiction have centered hundreds of thousands of works on the icon.
Today we’ll look at the animal that made the cowboy’s position in history possible. The horse.
Scientific name Equus ferus caballus. Measured from the crest of the withers, where the back and neck meet, a horse stands 14.3 hands (hand = 4 inches) or taller of lean muscle and thick bone. Anything shorter is considered a pony. The tallest horse ever recorded was 21.2 and 1/2 hh! That’s seven feet, two and a half inches at the withers. As you can see, they come with a unique set of vocabulary terms. Also, an unbound spirt and grace, though, like the rest of us they have their clumsy moments.
Archeological discoveries show horses were first domesticated around 3500 BC. There are over two hundred unique breeds in the world that vary by gated, color, blood and body type. Historically horses have been used as the primary source of transportation, but in today’s world of motor vehicles they are used for a variety of pleasure sports, work herding cattle, as well as therapies for people with physical and mental disabilities.
A horse’s stamina and highly trainable nature have made them a tool of war and work, but they are known by horse-lovers for their honest emotions and open hearts. Cheers to the magic of horses who have enriched our lives and made so many things possible!