The History of Horses and Texas
When you say the word horses a few places come to mind, Montana,
Wyoming, but none as much as Texas. Texas and its horses have quite a
history. In this article we will introduce you to a little Texas
history and the horses that are involved.
First, we have to go into a little Mexican and Spanish History. Texas
was, for a long time, under Spanish rule. Spain ruled Mexico and Mexico
ruled Texas you might say.
Spain's introduction of warfare on horseback is very well known. The
horse helped the Conquistadors conquer more and more territory
throughout South America. Their territory once extended from Peru and
Argentina all the way up into Texas and Louisiana.
Most of the groups the warriors from Spain encountered had no horses
and were at a huge disadvantage in battle. The image we always see of
the Spanish Soldier is one of him in armor and on horseback.
Another image that is conjured up when mentioning horses and Texas is
Indians on horseback. What many do not know is that the Indians in
Texas had no horses until they were brought in during Spanish rule of
the area. Most hoses the Indians rode were ones stolen from settlers
and soldiers after seeing the advantage the soldiers had over them.
When Mexicans first began to settle in Texas around where the Friars
built their missions to bring religion to the Indians, most of them
didn't bring horses either. People walked hundreds of miles to get to
where they would eventually settle and build their homes. Many had
mules or donkeys, but few had horses.
It was the same for those who came from various places within the new
United States. They came by boat to New Orleans many times, but then
had a long walk to get to their new Texas home where the Mexican
government was giving land away for free.
The settlers soon discovered there were wild horses in Texas. What we
now call Mustangs were abundant and were free if you could catch them
and train them. These horses were not as big as other horses, but they
were very sturdy and strong animals that became a huge part of Texas
You have to see it how it was then. There was not that much actual cash
money to be had anywhere in Texas. There was free land if you were
willing to go there and claim it. There were free horses if you were
willing to catch and train them. There were even free cattle if you
were willing to round them up, the Texas Longhorn.
So many settlers made the long trek to Texas, converted to Catholicism,
which was required by the Mexican government if you wanted free land,
then captured and trained free Mustangs, which they then used to round
up the free cattle.
It sounds great, huh? Just go grab some free land, free horses, and
free cattle and you were on your way! Not exactly. It was a very rough
life. One that not many people today could even fathom. There was not
many people in Texas, some Indian tribes did not want settlers there
and showed it through violent attacks, and the work was hard.
To make money from the cattle or horses that were collected they had to
be driven all the way to New Orleans for sale. This drive took months
to accomplish. The travel we do today spoils our ability to understand
the way it was for these settlers.
Some of them spent more than a year traveling to find where they and
their families would settle. They then spent at least another year
building their house and gathering the horses and cattle that might
make up their rancho. Then figure at least a 6 month round trip to sell
cattle or horses just to make enough money to buy supplies that were
not available free on the Texas range.
The Mustang Horse proved to be one of the best horses for soldiers. It
was sturdy enough to handle the rough terrain that larger horses could
not handle. They could go without water longer than other horses. They
were not skittish when it came to gunfire and battle.
The Texas Rangers rode Mustangs while roaming Texas in search of
Banditos and Outlaws. Many men riding Mustangs fought the Battle of San
Jacinto. The Apache Indians used them somewhat, but the fierce Comanche
Indians had many Mustangs and were some of the greatest horsemen to
ever live anywhere. But that is another story.
I hope this short article gave you at least a glimpse into where horses
in Texas came from and how they were used. Look in your favorite search
engine for more about the Mustangs that still run free today and for
more about Texas history and horses. You'll find the topic interesting
Greg Lucas is a small business owner and an on-line marketing expert
who owns and operates a large network of informative and educational
websites. for more information please visit:
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