Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vaquero, Californio, Buckaroo ......They all mean Cowboy!

Cowboys of the old west were referred to as "Vaquero's", ( spanish word, "Vaca" means cow), "Californio's", "hands", or "cowhands". The term "Cowboy" was rarely used back in the old west. It is more commonly used today.
The word Vaquero pronounced by American Cowboys, was "bukera" and finally "Buckaroo". For a time anyone working cattle, whether in Texas, CA or elsewhere was known as a "Buckaroo". It wasn't until the late 1860's when the Texans began to drive their cattle north to the new railroads in Kansas, that the term "Cowboy" came into widespread use.

Vaqueros were poor, owned no land, probably not even a horse, but he began the noble tradition of the working cowboy that spread from Mexico into the US.

Vaquero's felt superior to farmer's. They were proud of their work, had courage, fortitude, physical endurance, patient, long suffering, and uncomplaining. The Vaquero's worked in bad weather and with aches and pains. They went without food and tracked down stray animals at all costs. They had courage, riding into the midst of a milling herd.

The Vaquero and cowboys expected and valued these qualities. Virtuous actions would not bring praise, but failing to measure up to the Vaquero's standard could bring criticism censure or ridicule.

Jo Mora (cartoonist, illustrator, and Cowboy in the 1800's, pictured here) described the appearance of the Vaquero or Californio, (from the book "Cowboys of the America's" by Richard W Slarta)

"A kerchief was bound about his head, atop which, at a very rakish, arrogant angle sat a trail-worn weather beaten hat wide of brim, low of crown, held in place by a barbiquejo (chin strap) that extended just below the lower lip. His unkempt black beard straggled over his jowls and his long black hair dangled down his back to a little below the line of his shoulders. His ample colonial shirt was soiled and torn and a flash of brown shoulder could usually be seen through a recent tear. The typical wide red Spanish sash encircled his lean midriff. His short pants reaching to his knees, buttoned up the sides and were open for 6 inches or so at the bottom. Long drawers (which were once white) showed wrinkles at the knees and were folded into wrapped leather botas (leggings). He wore a rough pair of buckskin shoes with leather soles and low heels to which were strapped a pair of large and rusty iron spurs. This costume was finished off by a tirador ( a heavy wide at the hips belt) that helped him to snub with the reata (rawhide rope) when lassoing on foot. The ever present long knife in its scabbard was thrust inside the garter on his right leg."

Much of the dress, language, Vaquero horse tack and values of the Mexican and Californio Vaquero's passed to the Anglo American Cowboy. The Vaquero gear, the La reata became the Cowboys Larait (a rope in the form of a lasso). Chaparejos became chaps and the term "Dar la Vuelta" (take a turn) became "dally". Meaning to twist the end of a Lariat around the saddle horn rather than tying it down.

Vaquero Tack offered from Buckaroo Leather.......

Complete Hackamore/Mecate Set

Complete Hackamore Set includes an all natural beautifully hand braided 14 plait 5/8" rawhide bosal w/ Hermann Oak harness head piece attached with Cowboy knot adjustment and a 1/2" cotton 23' Mecate w/braided rawhide button. This Hackamore features our best quality all rawhide core bosal; a beautiful piece of "Old Style" rawhide braiding.

Once you use this Full Grain Leather Chap you will use no other! Batwing Chap in Full Grain Leather in Brown Earth Tones. This Hand Crafted Chap has an amazing extra special Glovey Feel! for that Broke in Feel. This 3 snap Shotgun Style Chap is Straight Edge and has Hand Tooled plaque. You have a choice of Tooling Designs Basket, Wild Rose/Basket, and Acorn/Basket. Fully adjustable waist belt and leg straps.

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Western Horseman the safest most durable
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BillyZergling said...

Thanks for the great pictures, i have been looking a getting some equine tack for a present what measurements would i need to get to get one of these made? Also how long would it take to make one of these i have got about a month before my managers birthday.

Unknown said...


thank you for your comments. To answer your question- unless you have a large horse, the measurements described on the product are pretty standard. For a larger horse a bigger bosal would be ordered. It would take a week to 10 days to finish...if you have any more questions or to order your tack please feel free to call me on my cell at 530-545-0139..thanks again Ride American!!