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!  

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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.

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.” 

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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.”

HORSE TRIVIA 

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.
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  • 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?

Real Cowboys

0192-0605-2418-2133_tn.jpg            For many of us, the American cowboy is the ultimate fantasy hero—a strong, handsome hunk in a big hat and tight jeans—a hero who makes our hearts gallop.  But the mythic hero is based on real men who played a major role in taming the west.  And most of them were even tougher than the fantasy model.  They had to be.  Let’s take a look at them.           

The heyday of the real American cowboy lasted from the end of the Civil War to the mid-1880s.   The men who rode the cattle trails numbered about 40,000 in all.  The average age was 24.  They came from many walks of life.  Most were dirt poor.  Most—though not all—were uneducated.  Among them were mustered-out soldiers from the war, farm boys looking for adventure, outlaws on the run, black-sheep sons of European families, and even a future U.S. President—Teddy Roosevelt, who took up cowboying as an adventure.           

 The work they did—driving herds of longhorn cattle across rough country, sometimes for more than a thousand miles—was murderous.  Cattle were mean-tempered and dumber than fence posts.  They got lost and had to be found.  They got worms, mange and sickness and had to be doctored. They got mired and had to be pulled out.  They got stolen and had to be rescued.  They stampeded and had to be stopped.  And they demanded 24-7 care with no time off.  Being a cowboy was hard, filthy, dangerous work, all for a wage of about $30 a month plus meals.  This excerpt from a trail boss’s journal will give you an idea of what the life was like.  Upset our wagon in River & lost many cooking utencils…was on my Horse the whole night & it raining hard…Lost my Knife…There was one of our party Drowned today & several narrow escapes, I among them…Many men in trouble…Horses all give out & Men refused to do anything…Awful night…not having had a bite to eat for 60 hours…Flies terrible…Found a human skeleton today…”           

By the 1890s the great trail drives had ended and a new generation of cowboys had emerged, living and working on ranches, dressed in blue jeans and Stetsons.  But all of us who write about the West, owe a debt to those first tough, courageous REAL cowboys!           

 We’ll learn more about cowboys in future blogs.  Meanwhile, does anybody know some good cowboy stories?  Do you have a favorite cowboy movie?  A favorite cowboy character?           

For the research-minded, I’d like to mention my source—THE COWBOYS  from the Time-Life Books Old West Collection.  Happy Trails!

Good Night, bloggers

horseheader1.jpeHello again!

It has been a real treat for me being the hostess for today’s blog.  I want to thank all those who left comments, and all those who visited and didn’t comment just yet.  In particular I’d like to thank Cathy Abernathy for her post, Jennifer Y and her delightful remembrances and Crystal Adkins, whose website is www.bookreviewsbycrystal.blogspot.com

It has been a complete delight getting to chat with you today.  Be sure to tune in tomorrow where we’ll be talking about all other kinds of happenings in the West.

In the meantime, Happy Trails!            

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The First Americans and the Mustang

horseheader1.jpeGood Afternoon bloggers!

 I want to thank Maria Lokken and Tanya Hansen for joining in our discussion this morning, as well as fellow author, Cheryl St. John.  Also a big vote of thanks go to Linda B and Jennifer Y for their comments from yesterday’s blog, as well as Elizabeth Lane — another fellow author.

Well, here I am, getting ready to mail off the revisions for my next book (due out in March 2008), THE LAST WARRIOR.  But before I go, I thought we might discuss the mustang and its importance to Native America.

As you know, before the Spanish arrived with their horses, the Spanish Barb, Native America didn’t have horses.  Instead, the American Indians made use of the dog.  It was the dog that transported their goods from one place to another, sometimes even transporting a baby.  Is it any wonder that some tribes honor the dog to this very day?picturesforblog.jpg

As Helen Addison Howard says in her book, AMERICAN FRONTIER TALES,   “(the mustang) completely changed the Indians’ nomadic life-style in hunting and war, in moving camp, in recreation, in trade, raised the owner’s social position, became a status symbol of wealth, and engendered a new standard of well-being.”

Because of its short stature, the mustang was often called a pony.  But that stature was deceiving.  The mustang was an intelligent animal with a stamina that became legend.  It was a mustang who won the 3,000 mile endurance test held in Arabia against the finest Arab horses in the land.  That pony, Hidalgo, was the 800 pound, 8 year old that won that race, even though the race was done was over loose sand, and  in a land where there was very little water.

Did you know that the movie, Hidalgo, was based on a true story?

Well, that’s all for now.  Again, I welcome all your insights into this and any other animal that’s in your life.

Those wonderful mustangs

horseheader1.jpeGood morning once again, bloggers!

Karen Kay here again.  I want to thank Denna and Stacey Kayne for writing their comments and for sharing their stories with us this morning.  Also I’d like to thank fellow authors Charlene and Linda Broday for sharing their comments with us this morning.

Okay, so the excerise is done — it was weights for me this morning — and as I sit here eating breakfast, I thought we’d talk some more about the hearty mustangs who so captured the heart of the West.

 Of course we owe our thanks for these intelligent animals to the Spanish — the word mustang comes from the Spanish word mesteno, meaning wild.  From Columbus to Hernando Cortez, every Spanish explorer or adventurer brought these animals to the New World. 

It was Hernando Cortez who brought them to us in 1519 –he had only sixteen horses, but of them Bernal Diaz (who was with Cortez) writes: “For after God, we owed the victory to the horses.”

But where did the Spanish get these hardy friends to man?

 Professor Walker D. Wyman writes:  (the Oriental horse) is known to have come into Mesopotamia from Persia about 2500 B.C., to Egypt from there in about 1700 B.C. and thence it spread over North Africa.”

Known in Africia as the Barbs — meaning that they were from the Barbary Coast — these breeds mixed with the Arab breed when the Arabs conquered areas of Africa — this was in about 647 A.D.

It was around 711 A.D. that the Moors — who were descendants of the Moroccans and Moslem Arabs — came to Spain, and for almost 800 years, the Moors held Spain hostage.  Now, when these Moors came to Spain, what were they riding?

You guessed it — the Barb-Arab mixed breed horse.

Okay, enough of ancient history.  In my next post, let’s bring the subject closer to present time and discuss how the horse influenced Native America.

red_3-crop-email.jpg  Hope to hear your comments on this and other things of interest, so please feel free to leave some comments, okay.  To the left, by the way, is the art work for my latest novel, RED HAWK’S WOMAN, a June release of this year.

Isn’t he gorgeous?  And does anyone know the name of this sexy young man?

Till later, then.

Mustangs

horseheader1.jpeGood Morning Bloggers!

 Good morning and welcome to the Western Romance Author’s Blog.  I’m your host for today and the topic of discussion for today — and please do join in with me — is little known Western historical facts.

And today I thought we’d discuss the little horse that settled the West.  Of course I’m talking about the mustang.

The time period is 1863 and 28 year old Conrad Kohns — a Montana prospector — is carrying $5,000.00 worth of gold, with which he plans to buy some cattle for his butcher shop in Virginia City.  It is night, and he lets “Gray Billie,” a gray mustang whose long tail sweeps the ground, graze for the night.

Luckily Gray Billie wanders far that night and is rounded up by Fred Burr, a mixed blood herder who is hunting for wild ponies.  When Kohrs awakens, he goes in search of Gray Billie and finds him with Burr, who warns Kohrs that Dutch John and George Ives — who are notorious road agents (robbers), are looking for Kohrs.

Quickly Kohrs saddles his gray, but soon finds that sure enough Dutch John and George Ives have found him.  Riding into a stream with heavy bush around it, Kohrs unsaddles Gray Billie, throws off his blandets and throws away any heavy articles he carries.  Mounting his little stead once more, Kohrs sets out again for the mining town of Virginia City, with Dutch John and George Ives soon after him.

Upon Gray Billie’s speed depends not only Kohrs gold and his future, but his very life.

Hour upon hour Gray Billie gallops over the rolling plains of Montana, through sage and splashing through streams.

Kohrs later wrote, “In spite of the rapidity with which I traveled, each mile seemed like five.  Up and down hill I flew, clinging to my horse, fearing that each moment my pursuers were gaining on me and realizing that the breaking of the surcingle, a stumble of the horse would bring me to certain death.”

It was a long six hours later that Gray Billie finally raced to their destination.  Writes Helen Addison Howard in her book, AMERICAN FRONTIER TALES, “Although Gray Billie’s race will never be recorded in racing annals, the tough, swift pony won a race over a hazardous course of far greater importance to his master than the winning of the Kentucky Derby.”

Yep, these small, sure-footed little horses, with their long manes and their tails sweeping the ground, truly did help win the West.page2d.jpe

Do you have a story you’d like to tell about a horse or a pet?  If you do, or if you’d just like to talk about something else, join in with our discussion.

It’s still fairly early here in Los Angeles.  I’m off to exercise, but I’ll be back in about an hour to discuss this and other Western facts about this incredible friend of the Western Prairies.

Love Those Cowboys!

Hi, I’m Linda Broday and I’ll be blogging on Tuesdays. I’ll be talking about my love for cowboys, the old west, and lots ofduell.jpg interesting subjects. To start this off, I’m posting one of  my all time favorite cowboys who starred in the Desperado made-for-TV movies, Alex McArthur.    

He played Duell McCall and I’ll never forget how his chaps flapped against his pants as he strode into a fight. I based the hero in my first book, Knight on the Texas Plains, on him. Even used part of the name when I decided on Duel McClain. Anyway, we’ll talk a lot more. Drop back on Tuesdays. For now, enjoy the site that represents our hearts and souls.