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This is the first in a three-part series written about vaquero horsemanship. Vaquero Horsemanship Part 2 is the second article and Vaquero Horsemanship Part 3 is the third.

I would like to explain the way my dad and I start and train all of our horses on the Wald Ranch. Dad and I follow the Californio Vaquero style of horsemanship and training which originated in Europe and Arabia for war horses. It was then transferred to the Americas by the conquistadores and practiced in the Spanish settlements of Mexico, until the Padres moved into what would later become the United States to build missions. Once the missions were established, the Padres began to acquire larger cow herds than their helpers could manage; so they broke an old law: never teach the Indians to ride horses (they didn’t want the Indians to become like the Apaches, considered by many to be the greatest natural warriors in the world).

From these practices came the Vaqueros that nurtured and perfected the Spanish/California style of gear and horsemanship used on the great ranches before, during, and after the turn of the century. All of the skills a Vaquero knew, he used on ranches such as Miller and Lux, The Spanish Ranch, Tejon Ranch, and many others, were developed over many, many years and can stand up with any other style or tradition of horse training after all these years.

Look for my next Jake’s Take on the snaffle bit and hackamore. Then I will describe our training procedure. I acquired this history from the books of Arnold Rojas: “These Were the Vaqueros” and “Vaqueros and Buckaroos.”

Jackson Wald is a featured columnist for High Minded Horseman and a fine example of Montana’s ranching youth. He can generally be found on the family ranch, working cattle and his latest colt project; usually at the same time.

Comments for Vaquero Horsemanship Part 1

  1. Alyssa on June 13, 2010

    I love what you have to say, we have similar thoughts as far as horsemanship goes. That’s hard to find, especially among people my age since I’m only 16 and don’t live in the same kind of ranch country you do. Thanks for writing, it’s great to know there’s someone out there that thinks of training the right way (you’re an awfully good writer, too.)

  2. Jake Wald on December 31, 2010 Alyssa, I apologize for not replying to you before now, there’s no excuse for it. Thank you very much for keeping up with my writing, I appreciate that you read it, and commented also! I’ll pay more attention to what goes on here, and hope to talk more with you in the future.
  3. Kristin Johnson on March 09, 2011 Can I be on an e mail distribution to recieve your articles on a regular basis?