When I heard the song by Big and Rich—Save 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 straight 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 watch. 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.
TV MOVIE HEROES AND THEIR FAITHFUL HORSES
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. And remember Dale Evans and her ride, Buttermilk?
The same holds true for The Lone Ranger – Clayton Moore portrayed the masked 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?