El Vaquero is a wonderful way to learn about the California vaquero. It includes many detailed drawings and paintings that depict vaqueros and buckaroos in many kinds of cowboy action, including colt breaking, bronc riding, team roping, calf tailing, stopping and sliding, and complicated roping maneuvers and loops. There are many drawings of hackamores, bosals, saddles, martingales, tapaderos, headstalls, reins and romals, bits, spurs, riatas, hobbles, mecates, and sequential drawings of special techniques like handling reins and the phases of headgear from hackamore to spade bit.
El Vaquero is of interest to historians, artists, cowboys, horsemen, craftsmen, and anyone who enjoys the tradition of California vaquero horsemanship. Author Ernie Morris says, “My aim is to make an attempt to preserve some history of the old-time vaquero….”
Approx. 9″ x 12″ hardbound with attractive dust jacket, 156 pages.
Excerpt from the book:
The origin of the California vaquero dates back to the 1770s, long before old California joined the rest of the United States. The Spanish conquistadores had a big hand in getting this horse unity going, and its members were selected from the Indians along the mission trails. A recruiting job had to be done, and it’s doubtful there were any forms to fill out. It’s likely that the ones who showed an interest in horses were chosen right off the bat.
School was held in the field every day, and the instruction was in Spanish. The riders were told “your reason for learning to ride these caballos [horses] is to look after the vacas [cows].” When one of the students became a journeyman, he was awarded the supreme title of a vaquero; this title or rank was given to a great many of these stock-tenders through the years, up to the 1920s and 1930s.
The California vaquero had a heap of time on his side, plus the weather helped him along, giving him all it took to get his lessons down. Competition ran high, adding to an already unbeatable scholarship on the oak-studded ranges.
In the early days of fiestas and siestas, the ol’ boys made most of the horse gear that they used, for there were no shops in which to purchase it. Again, this is where time played a big role in the life of the vaquero, as making these items took a lot of it.