I really can’t remember a time when I wasn’t called to the romantic notion of Latin horsemanship. Of course most days I can’t remember what I had for breakfast either. Suffice it to say I’ve long been fascinated by the lore of the horsemanship of the conquistadors as it found its way to our new world shores. In the past two or three decades it has been my privilege to actually meet Spanish and Portuguese Horsemen and to visit those countries. There I was able to see the fantastic horsemanship of Iberia!
Nearly 5 centuries ago, this, or an earlier, similar, equitation was brought to our shores by three-masted sailing ships. Over time, the methods of Spain and Portugal for training and riding horses filtered through the Americas to influence the entire western hemisphere. Here in Texas we inherited a
Modification of Spanish horsemanship from the cattle producing states of Coahuila and Chihuahua, Mexico, while in California the same or similar influence came largely through Sonora and up the coast by ship from South America. Separated by mountains and deserts, the Texan and Californian methods developed distinct differences. However one similarity strikingly survived in both places – the Hackamore. Hence, Vaquero horsemanship developed in both places using a rawhide version of what the Iberians today call the Serreton, a noseband of iron covered with leather. Over the weeks to come I will tell of my own experiences with these devices as I have come to know them, and the methods of horse training that accompany them.