The horses I rode at the Williams Family Ranch were all predominately American Quarter Horses or cross breeds of the AQH.
During the Westward expansion of the United States in the 19th century, pioneers needed hardy, tough and willing horses and began crossing breeds of wild mustangs and Spanish stock from the Conqistadors with the colonial Quarter Horse. The result was a horse that appeared to have an innate “cow sense” making it popular with cattlemen on ranches as the main duty of a ranch horse in the American West was working cattle, even after the invention of automobiles, horses were still irreplaceable for handling livestock on the range. It was the major Texas cattle ranches that played a significant role in the development of the modern Quarter Horse.
Working cattle is not an easy task for any horse, they must be calm and strong, fast but not hot tempered, sure footed and agile…….the American Quarter Horse combines all these qualities and more in a unique combination of speed and strength. Defined by a heavily muscled body, powerful shoulders and hind quarters, and strong sturdy legs, they are perfectly proportioned to work cattle.
With a calm and docile temperament and gentle steady demeanor, this breed remains calm under pressure and has the perfect personality for the sometimes stressful cattlework.
I rode different horses every day and each one was a remarkable example of their commendable breed.
Bella Luna, the care giver who had just become foster mother to an orphaned foal was a powerhouse of strength and comfort, cool and calm she keep her head as we delved along paths unknown high on the ridge our first day out.
Doo Good, Sugar Baby and Coco Puff, all unbelievably experienced cattle horses…….extremley chilled and relaxed whilst poking amongst the ridges, but once they locked onto some cattle you should’ve seen them bolt up and down those steep, cavernous mountains, never placing a hoof wrong.
Comet and Hombre, lighter and faster than the older mares, incredibly comfortable with a special talent for hanging out on sheer rocky ledges!
And the my little baby Lucky Charms, who I worked with a bit on the ground…….sweet and willing with a genuine interest in learning.
All the horses were special, all had their unique little personalities and despite the fact that they were predominately work horses, they were all loved like pets.
“The boots and hat don’t make a cowboy…….the horse does.”