Western Heritage

Sandy Valley Ranch is a private ranch devoted to raising cattle, boarding and training horses, and preserving and teaching American and Hispanic cultural riding traditions and horsemanship. On occasion the ranch permits the use of its facilities for horse and cattle events to promote and preserve the above multi-cultural traditions.

There are two flags flying on the pole at Sandy Valley Ranch. We are proud to respect, protect and nurture the horse culture of the Mexican Vaquero and the American Cowboy. Both played a vital role in the development of the traditional horse culture of the American Southwest. Sandy Valley Ranch is a proud repository dedicated to preserving these two great horsemanship traditions.

The vaquero (the Spanish or Mexican cowboy who worked with young, untrained horses), arrived in the 18th century and flourished in the Southwest during the Spanish Colonial period.
Settlers from the United States did not enter the Southwest until after the Mexican-American War, and most early settlers were miners rather than livestock ranchers, leaving Vaqueros were skilled cowboys from Mexico.livestock-raising largely to the Spanish and Mexican people who chose to remain in the Southwest.

The Southwest vaquero or buckaroo, unlike the Texas cowboy, was considered a highly-skilled worker, who usually stayed on the same ranch where he was born or had grown up and raised his own family there. In addition, the geography and climate of much of the Southwest was dramatically different from that of Texas, allowing more intensive grazing with less open range, plus cattle in the Southwest were marketed primarily at a regional level, without the need to be driven hundreds of miles to railroad lines. Thus, the horse and livestock-handling culture that remained in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest retained a stronger direct Spanish influence than that of Texas.

The modern distinction between vaquero and buckaroo within American English may also reflect the parallel differences between the the Southwest and Texas traditions of western horsemanship.

Some cowboys of the the Southwest tradition were dubbed buckaroos by English-speaking settlers. The words “buckaroo” and vaquero are still used on occasion in the Great Basin, parts of the Southwest and, less often, in the Pacific Northwest. Elsewhere, the term “cowboy” is more common.

“The Charros” is a respected Mexican equestrian organization whose goals are to preserve ancient horsemanship traditions. A Charro must earn his title with his skill, demeanor, and character. They must continue to display their required skill, humility, and dignity or they are removed from membership. The foundation of the horse traditions of the American West derive directly from the Charro traditions.

The sport began in the 16th century soon after the Spanish imported the first cattle herds to Mexico. After roundups, the hired hands of each hacienda would meet to show off their fanciest tricks, as they had done for centuries in Spain. Charro Day, September 14th, is an eagerly awaited and celebrated National holiday in Mexico. Charros are sung about in the Mexican National Anthem.

Charros are skilled horseman who preserve ancient horsemanship traditions.Charrerias (a specialized form of rodeo) are hugely popular athletic events in Mexico and in the Western United States. You must be a Charro to compete in a Charreria. Participants are well-known, respected athletes who enjoy fame similar to American professional football and basketball players with one big difference. Charros are not paid. They compete in teams for the tradition and honor of the sport. Unlike rodeo, events are not timed, but judged and scored based on the finesse and grace of the team.

Don’t confuse Charros with Mexican cowboys. A hallmark of being a Charro is respect for animals. Charros are superb horse trainers, known for an unusually close partnership bond with their horses. Charros do not trip horses. The official rules of the Asociación Nacional de Charros USA state that if a Charro deliberately trips a horse he is penalized and banned from any and all competition for a full year.

Sandy Valley Ranch is proud to be the sponsor of its own Charro and Escaramuza teams. Escaramuzas are girls and women in elaborate long traditional dresses and hats who perform intricate horseback drills sidesaddle at a full gallop. The Escaramuza routines were developed during the Mexican Revolution. Legend has it that the outnumbered Mexican army depended on the Escaramuzas to create distractions and dust, which convinced the Spanish that the Mexican army was coming from one direction, when in fact they surprised the Spanish from the opposite direction. Escaramuzas are widely respected.

Charreria is an important tradition for Hispanics living in the United States. It is a deeply loved element of Hispanic culture and history. It is a family affair. Everyone comes to support their Charro and join in the fiesta of music, friendship and food that are part of every Charreada.

The charreada or charrería is a competitive event similar to rodeo and was developed from animal husbandry practices used on the haciendas of old Mexico. The sport has been described as “living history,” or as an art form drawn from the demands of working life. Evolving from the traditions brought from Spain in the 16th century, the first charreadas were ranch work competitions between haciendas.

The modern Charreada developed after the Mexican Revolution when charro traditions were disappearing. The competing charros often came from families with a tradition of Charreria, and teams today are often made up from extended families who have been performing for up to five generations. The charreada consists of nine events for men plus one for women, all of which involve horses, cattle or both. Those events are:

Cala de Caballo (Reining)
Piales en Lienzo (Heeling)
Colas en el Lienzo or Coleadero (Steer Tailing)
Jineteo de Toro (Bull riding)
Terna en el Ruedo (Team Roping)
Jineteo de Yegua (Bareback on a wild mare)
Manganas a Pie (Forefooting)
Manganas a Caballo or (Forefooting on Horseback)
El Paso de la Muerte (The pass of death)
Escaramuza (a precision display of equestrian skill for women)
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of American cowboys were rough animal herders.northern Mexico and became a figure of special significance and legend. A subtype, called a wrangler, specifically tends the horses used to work cattle. In addition to ranch work, some cowboys work for or participate in rodeos.
Exhibitions such as Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show helped to popularize the image of the cowboy as an idealized representative of the tradition of chivalry. In fact, Buffalo Bill Cody is considered the first person to be known as a true celebrity. He traveled across Europe with his show introducing the image of the Cowboy and wild west to the world. Achieving international notoriety and stardom, he would draw crowds of people seeking autographs, something that was fairly new for that time, at least of that magnitude.

At the turn of the 20th century Buffalo Bill Cody was the most recognizable celebrity on earth, achieving the status and stardom comparable to that of any modern day rock star. Buffalo Bill Cody was instrumental in making the North American “Cowboy” one of the most popular and recognized cultural icons in the world.

Rodeo is a competitive sport which arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. It was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros and later, cowboys, in what today is the western United States, western Canada, and northern Mexico.

Today it is a sporting event that consists of events that involve horses and other livestock, designed to test the skill and speed of the human cowboy and cowgirl athletes who participate. The events are divided into two basic categories: the rough stock events and the timed events. Professional rodeos generally comprise the following events:

Tie-down roping
Team roping
Steer wrestling
Saddle bronc riding
Bareback bronc riding
Bull riding
Barrel racing


No Comments

    Leave a Reply