LOS PRIMEROS • The First Vaqueros
vaquero and his horse move as one. Perfectly in tune as they read each
other’s minds and body. He shakes out his reata. Builds his loop. And
tosses a perfect “del viento.” laying the calf down like a babe in a
manger. Who is this man who sits his horse like a king on a throne? His
skills were honed in Alta California a couple of centuries ago.
of these proud Vaqueros earned the title “Californio.” With his gentle
hands and lightning-fast spade bit horse, he was the best of all
reinsmen in the West. And his lingo, albeit Americanized now, hints at
his beginnings. The Spanish dar la vuelta (take a turn around the horn) became dally. Jaquima became hackamore, la reata became lariat.
And while he adjusted to life in this new land, his beginnings
on the other side of the ocean would always be a part of him.
been a long journey,thirteen centuries back to the Moors of North Africa
and their nimble Barb horses. It was in Spain, where the blending of
Moorish and Spanish horse cultures laid the groundwork for the bridle
horse that was the hallmark of these superb reinsmen. And in Mexico, the
underpinnings for roping and handling cattle on the open range evolved.
was in California that it all came together, where the secrets of
training horses through centuries of practice came full flower. And the
hackamore, romal reins and spade bit were refined. These were the
Californios. The best horsemen in the world. 94 minutes