At first, the horse was the prerogative of only new settlers and no one, not even the friendliest Indians and their leaders, was allowed to approach it. Until 1528, a royal decree was generally in effect, forbidding them to mount a horse. But time passed. The horses began to steal or beat in battle. Sometimes, when entire colonial settlements were slaughtered, the horses panicked into the forest. Soon the Indians mastered horse riding and firearms. Light, fast and elusive Indian cavalry gradually became a real threat not only to peaceful white settlers, but also to units of the regular army. After all, the horse completely changed the life of the local tribes. Pedestrian Indian felt small, lonely and defenseless in front of the greatness of a huge continent. Hunting for powerful buffalo was difficult and dangerous. Most often, their herds were trying to adjust to a cliff or to lurk at a watering place. But now, using the horse, killing the buffalo was no longer difficult. Not to mention the ability to quickly move around the country. In addition, the horse allowed to carry much larger loads than the tamed dogs.
In the meantime, the horses running away into the woods grew wild and bred, growing up on free pastures. So there were the famous wild horses of North America – the mustangs, from the Spanish “placene” – a free horse, or a horse without a rider.
Of course, they did not have that delightful article of European breeds, but they were much stronger, tougher, and most importantly – unpretentious. They began to catch and tame as the Indians and white settlers.
It is not surprising that many of the current horse breeds in the USA carry in their veins the blood of mustangs. Gradually, the number of these wild herds became so significant that they turned into a real hindrance to cow pastures and maize. And they began to shoot. Beautiful animals that were considered the pride of America were exterminated by thousands. It is good that there were enthusiasts who forced the US government to issue a special law banning barbarous hunting.
So, the more important in the life of new settlers and Indian tribes acquired a horse, the more weight gained deft, strong and skillful riders. And with the increase in pastoral farms, the shepherd profession became increasingly in demand. Although in many countries they were not just shepherds, but people with special human qualities. For example, “charro” in Mexico is not so much a profession as a lifestyle. But most importantly, they were unsurpassed riders. So during the war with the French, the “charro” managed to gallop on lasso on enemy guns and turn them over. No less skillful were the Argentine Gauchos, the Chilean Guacos, the Colombian-Venezuelan Llaneros, or the Brazilian Senanetju. But back to our cowboys.
Their finest hour began in the second half of the XIX century. It was the time of the Frontier, the expansion of the territories of the Wild West, the conquest of the prairies, the extermination of bison, the robbery and looting of trains and banks, the wars with the Indians and the Civil War. With its completion in 1865, thousands of fighters were to return to their homes. But what were these young people able to do? Sit in the saddle, handle arms, bravely and enduringly enduring adversity? But how could these qualities be claimed in peacetime, and where? Not to mention the fact that many of them were orphans, and their homes were destroyed during the war. Among them were many negroes freed from slavery — homeless in general, or Mexicans — who did not want to return to their homeland.
Some of them were hired to work for livestock producers and ranches. Those. became cowboys. It was a hard and routine job. For a scanty fee, they had to go around the territory every day, repair the fence, graze and water the cattle, find a cow strayed from the herd, or treat it for illness, brand the young and do much more. And in the winter, it happened that only for food and shelter. Therefore, it was easy to get a job at the ranch. After all, the West did not have enough hands. Everyone was welcome here, not delving into the vicissitudes of his past life. And if in big cities there was a danger that they would find you, identify or arrest you, then here, in the wilderness, it was completely safe. And because of this, many outspoken thugs, thieves, and adventurers took refuge in this environment from persecution. Although at that time this was not treated as severely as later. In many places they were even chosen by the sheriffs, believing that only such people – cruel and desperate, are able to curb the overreaching hooligans. This went on for decades.