The cowboy and his horse, few pairings have ever produced a more perfect partnership between man and beast. As a hardworking and loyal companion, the horse was as big a part of the West’s history as the people who lived in it. Originally brought to the West by Spanish explorers, the horse would later be developed by Native Americans and other Europeans as they migrated into the West.
Not just used for transportation, early farming and ranching operations put the horse to work. They were used to pull plows, as well as work cattle. It was in the latter that the horse truly became a part of the West. The image of the cowboy and his horse has become an American icon.
Still as valuable today as they’ve been in the past, working horses remain a vital tool for the cowboy on modern cattle operations.
For more information on how the horse has been used in the West, visit the American Cowboy Gallery.