My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys … and Their Trusted Companions!

94792fd94pgt1xm.gifWhen I heard the song by Big and RichSave a Horse, Ride a Cowboy, I had to chuckle.  It did bring about some very, uh, provocative images in my head.  Cowboys are fantasized, romanticized and idolized by women around the world.

  Let’s face it, romance writers and readers have a glorified image of the Cowboy. Rugged, bold and sexy as all get-out. I won’t disagree. Nobody likes to write a great cowboy more than I do.  So I won’t go there today… there’s time for that later.  Today, I’m talking about the their beautiful accomplices, companions and first loves.  No, not the heroine … but our hero’s trusted horse!  

Through my years as a western romance author I’ve had to research horses as often time they played a very essential role in my stories.  The gorgeous one-year old palomino is J.R.   He’s a quarter horse img_0059.JPGstraight from Wayne Newton’s Ranch, now living at my cousin’s stables in North Las Vegas.  It was a joy to meet him, feed him and make friends with him.   There’s nothing like hands-on training. And J.R. sure received a lot of attention that day!  


J.R was new at the stables and in the corral.  Two other geldings didn’t accept him into their fold and they pranced and snorted and annoyed J.R. until the  geldings were separated from him.  The interaction between the three horses was fascinating to img_0055.JPGwatch.  Then the palomino simply took off, all long streaming golden mane and sleek, smooth lines, circling the corral over and over again, displaying his temper and  prowess. 

Inspired by J.R. I wrote a wild palomino stallion into my March 2008 release, Taming the Texan.  It’s amazing how the wild horse and man both needed to be tamed and they came to terms with their own natures at the same time.

cax82xhzcover.jpgIn my upcoming November 2007 release, Bodine’s Bounty, my hero’s faithful mare Lola, played a vital role as well. I’m so glad my cover included Lola along with Bodine and Emma.


 Who could forget these two TV shows? I used to watch them over and over, and I remember telling my dad once, “I love you the most, except for Roy Rogers.” 


Roy’s radio show ran for 9 years before hitting the TV screens from 1951 through 1957. He and his trusty golden palomino were featured in the show and over 100 movies. You don’t think of Roy Rogers without Trigger by his side.  daleevans_buttermilk.jpgAnd remember Dale Evans and her ride, Buttermilk?

The same holds true for The Lone Ranger – Clayton Moore portrayed the masked250px-loneranger.jpg  Texas Ranger who rides about righting injustices on his horse Silver.  Who could forget that opening announcement. “A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty ‘Hi-yo, Silver.”


Did you know:

  • Camargue horses are completely white as adults. Their babies are pure black when they are born.
  • There is a breed of horse from Russia called Akhal-Teke. It can go for days without food or water.
  • You measure a horse’s height in hands. Each hand equals four inches. If you say a horse is 16.2 hands high, the 2 stands for 2 fingers.
  • You can tell how old a horse is by how many teeth it has. A horse gets all of its teeth by the time it is five years old. After that, they just get longer.
  • A female horse is called a mare. In the wild it is the mare that decides when the herd moves on to another spot to find food.
  • A male horse is called a stallion. Usually only one stallion will stay with a herd.
  • Any marking on a horse’s forehead is called a star, even if it is not shaped like a star.
  • Horses and ponies feel safer when they are in a herd.
  • Mustangs are one of the few breeds of horses that live wild in North America. They are related to the horses that the Spanish explorers brought to North America 400 years ago.
  • Horses can communicate how they are feeling by their facial expressions. They use their ears, nostrils, and eyes to show their moods. Beware of a horse that has flared nostrils and their ears back. That means it might attack!
  •  A hoof is like a fingernail. It is always growing and needs to be clipped so that it won’t be uncomfortable for the horse.
  • A farrier is a person who makes horse shoes and fits them on your horse. They also clip hooves to keep them from getting overgrown.
  • A horse can move in four ways: walk, trot, canter, and gallop. A gallop is the fastest gait

Are there any horse lovers out there?  Do you have a favorite hero/horse combo from movies or TV?

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27 thoughts on “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys … and Their Trusted Companions!”

  1. Hmmm. Little Joe Cartright and his paint were both pretty cute. Thanks for the horse facts, Charlene. I had no idea it’s the mare who calls the shots at dinnertime.

  2. It’s a comic where they make fun of all those clichès, like the cavalry coming always right on time, the hero always rides in the sunset in the end of the comic, etc.

  3. Wonderful post, Charlene, especially the beautiful photos and the horse trivia. At my parents’ mountain cabin there was this huge yellow rock. All the kids rode on it. We called it “Trigger.” That was the closest I ever came to having a horse (we just had a chihuahua).
    Here’s a trivia question. The Lone Ranger rode the unforgettable Silver. Can anybody remember the name of Tonto’s horse?

  4. Charlene: Love the horse facts. Have to admit that in my early years I wanted to be a horse when I grew up. I used to gallop around the yard whinnying.

  5. Minna — I’ve never heard of Lucky Luke or Jolly Jumper but they sound like fun! We had a silly comedy show about the calvary here during western times, called F-Troop.

    Tanya — Of course, Little Joe! I always thought his horse was the prettiest of the brothers, but then I always liked Little Joe the best. 🙂

    Elizabeth – We moved from New York to wild west California when I was 7 and I thought I’d get a horse, because didn’t everyone live on a ranch and have a horse in the west? Of course, my parents didn’t dissuade my thinking. I was more than willing to leave our home in NY for a ranch and horses. My dad would say, “When your cousin gets a horse, we’ll get you one.”
    Well- you saw the pics. My cousin has 12 horses in his stables. I’m still whining about that one!

    Lorraine – I remember the days of having a stick horse with a plastic head attached and a yarn mane and playing “giddup”. Guess, we were all destined to write westerns even from our tender young ages!

    Kathleen – I think you’re right about Scout. Elizabeth?

  6. Shoot, Charlene, I can’t think of a movie horse’s name right off except for Hidalgo. That horse made that movie. He had such heart and love for his owner. But, who can forget Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, and the heartbreak felt around the world when they had to euthanize him? I cried for days. Another Derby winner that I had a soft spot for was Smarty Jones. Both horses gave very bit of strength they had and did everything their jockey’s asked of them. That makes a horse really, truly special.

  7. Alice and Linda — I cried too when Barbaro was put down. He was a special horse. I never saw Hidalgo. But as a child, I remember watching Fury on TV? Anyone remember that? And of course, Black Beauty and National Velvet.

  8. Horse crazy runs in my blood–my grandmother used to tell a story about ranching in Wyoming, and my grandpa coming home with a horse instead of the fridge he was supposed to bring (he’d traded).

    I’ve had lots of horses in my live, but for smarts and heart nothing beats an Arab (Morgan’s are smart, but not much heart). For go-power, Quarter Horses are the best. And a good trail horse will take care of you–they know the way home and how to handle themselves (and, no, they don’t spook at rattlers, or at much of anything).

    For moive horses, John Wayne always rode the same chestnut gelding–take a look, you’ll see the same nameless horse in most of his movies. But the buckskin in Dances With Wolves has to be my favorite–buckskins and appys are the best when it comes to senses and just pure athletic ability.

    And that Akhal-Teke you mention–check out the photos, it has a coat that seems to be made of copper (it looks like metal).

  9. Shannon — Wow! I knew you knew a good deal about horses, but this is fantastic info. I will check out John Wayne’s horse! I do have a “few” of his movies! I think my cousin had one Arabian at his stables. That horse also was from Wayne Newton’s ranch. All the horses were beautiful there, but the baby palomino JR – really stole my heart. I fed him carrots and he kept spitting them out. Then I learned he still had baby teeth and couldn’t chomp on the whole carrots as well as the others, so I broke up the carrots to feed him. He loved the personal attention, since the other horses as yet hadn’t accepted him.

  10. Good morning, Charlene. Thanks for tuning me in to this new blog. Besides John Wayne, another famous actor rode his personal horse in the many westerns he made – James Stewart! I have on DVR several of his westerns so I will verify.

  11. Hi Brian,
    Yes, I loved all of Jimmy Stewart’s westerns, well all of his movies, period. I didn’t know that about he had his own horse in the movies. Cool. I’ve got to get out and go riding again – maybe when the heat dies down!

  12. Oh, Hidalgo. Great movie. I believe Viggo Mortenson was so taken with the horse that he adopted him and brought him home. (?). And Barbaro broke my heart. Recently we watched a show on sweet Ruffian, another heartbreak.

    Thanks again Charlene and to everybody else. I learned a lot!

  13. Hi Charlene-

    I’m new to this site, love the pics and cool facts. Been reading your books for years now and would love to see a film done of one, especially the westerns since we just don’t see those like we use to ‘back in the day’! Your books are great!

    I remember going, all dressed up, with the entire extended family, cousins and all, into Hollywood at the new Cinerama Dome to see ‘How The West Was Won’, it was a huge star flick.

    I’ve always loved Roy, in fact, as a child in the 3rd grade, was the only girl to have the RR (like my initials!) Chuckwagon domed lunchbox…it sits under a showcase now! So sad they sold off the museum.

    Best of luck with this new site!

  14. RR- thanks for the lovely compliments!! And yes, I LOVED How the West Was Won. I’d almost forgotten about that series. We have a WEST cable channel, so I’ll check to see if they play that mini-series.
    Roy Rogers was my first-ever HERO. (sigh)

  15. Hi Charlene! What a great blog! I love the look and feel of it! It’s my first time over here, obviously! 🙂 I love westerns and cowboy stories. Your upcoming book looks great.

    Great horse facts!

  16. Your post was delightful, Charlene. Since I’ve been researching mustangs for my sequel to UNTAMED COWBOY, I can add another fact to your list, which was right on:

    Another name for a herd of wild horses, mares led by a stallion like you explained, is called a ‘manada’.

    I’m learning from everyone’s comments–they’ve been so good!

  17. Did anybody catch the nature series on PBS a while back, about the woman who followed a white mustang colt named “Cloud” around the mountains for several years. It was amazing, and heartbreaking in some places. If you can find it anywhere, or if it’s replayed, it’s well worth watching.

  18. Pam – I didn’t know about the manada! Cool. I love learning new things about horses. My cousin gave me pics of the wild mustangs living up in Red Rock Canyon.(in Las Vegas area) They’d been riding and came upon them by accident. They took great pics, but my scanner is broken and I couldn’t get up on the site. I plan on enlarging the pics and putting them up in my office. They look like a pro took them, the horses’ natural poses are soooo amazing.
    Elizabeth — I’ve never seen “Cloud”, but I can just imagine falling in love with a white mustang!

  19. I used to watch all the cowboy shows (it’s the only thing my dad would watch but I learned to love them, starting with Silver). I can remember as a small child that I entered a name the pony contest and I was so sure I was going to win. My family got a good laugh because we lived in the suburbs with a small back yard. I still remember the name – Clover!

    We have relatives who own Percheron horses and until recently had the largest one in the world (so we were told) named Hong Kong. It was a magnificant animal.

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