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Cowboy Roundup  home


Horses made travel easier and faster when getting from A to Z in Arizona, back before the days of planes, trains, and automobiles. Some people even had fun in the process.  But what do you know about a horse's needs? Today, you might even find a "Bed and Breakfast" that caters to the horse, as well as its rider.

A blacksmith, horseshoe master or "farrier' was usually known as a person of strength and expertise, especially when a horse's best interests were concerned.

Sometimes a horse reluctantly took to man and saddle. And how many overloaded backpacks would you want to tote across the hot desert, day after day, after day, after day?

Horses probably never have taken to the task of being "beasts of burden." That is where the mule became useful, if not appreciated fully. And the cowboy thought his days were tough!

A siesta may be part of a man's daily routine, but even a horse knows when it's time to travel or chow down.
Arizona ranching continues to feed many in the meat eater crowd amongst us.  And dude ranches provide entertainment and relaxation for the city slicker who yearns for fresh air and open spaces.

Yes, a horse was and still is a partner for fun, excitement, and a nice quiet ride off into the sunset.

The following article might have been "must reading" prior to any ride in a stage coach in years past.  Our short ride in 1995 gave us a taste of what it would be like on a longer journey!

Riding In A Stage Coach
Advice from George Frederick Ruxton: 1847

An American stage coach has often been described: it is a huge lumbering affair with leather springs, and it creaks and groans over the corduroy roads and unmacadamized causeways, thumping, bumping, and dislocating the limbs of its "insides," whose smothered shrieks and exclamations of despair often cause the woodsman to pause from his work, and, leaning upon his axe, listen with astonishment to the din which proceeds from its convulsed interior.

The coach contains three seats, each of which accommodates three passengers; those on the centre, and the three with their backs to the horses, face each other, and, from the confined space, the arrangement and mutual convenience of leg-placing not infrequently leads to fierce outbreaks of ire. A fat old lady got into the coach at Peoria, whose uncompromising rotundity and snappishness of temper, combined with a most unaccommodating pair of "limbs" (legs, on this side the Atlantic), rendered her the most undesirable vis-a-vis a traveler could possibly be inflicted with. The victim happened to be an exceedingly mild Hoosier, whose modest bashfulness prevented his remonstrating against the injustice of the proceeding: but, after unmitigated sufferings for fifty miles, borne with Christian resignation, he disappeared from the scene of his martyrdom, and his place was occupied by a hard-featured New Yorker, the captain of one of the Lake steamboats, whose sternness of feature and apparent determination of purpose assured us that he had been warned of the purgatory in store for him, and was resolved to grapple gallantly with the difficulty. As he took his seat, and bent his head to the right and left over his knees, looking, as it were, for some place to bestow his legs, an ominous silence prevailed in the rocking coach, and we all anxiously awaited the result of the attack which this bold man was evidently meditating; the speculations being as to whether the assault would be made in the shape of a mild rebuke, or a softly-spoken remonstrance and request for a change of posture.

Our skipper evidently imagined that his pantomimic indications of discomfort would have had a slight effect, but when the contrary was the result, and the uncompromising knees wedged him into the corner, his face turned purple with emotion, and, bending towards his tormentor, he solemnly exclaimed,"I guess, marm, it's got to be done anyhow sooner or later, so you and I, marm, must jist 'dovetail.' "
The lady bounded from her seat, aghast at the mysterious proposal.
"Must what, sir-r?"
"Dovetail, marm; you and I have got to dovetail, and no two ways about it."
"Dovetail me, you inhuman savage"' she roared out, shaking her fist in the face of the skipper, who shrank, alarmed, into his corner; "dovetail a lone woman in a Christian country! if thar's law on airth, sir-r, and in the state of Illinoy, I'll have you hanged!
Driver, stop the coach," she shrieked from the window; "I go no farther with this man. I believe I ar' a free 'ooman, and my name is Peck. Young man," she pathetically exclaimed to the driver, who sought to explain matters, whilst we, inside, were literally convulsed with laughter, "my husband shall larn of this, as shiure as shiooting. Open the door, I say, and let me out!" And, spite of all our expostulations, she actually left the coach and sought shelter in a house at the road-side; and we heard her, as we drove off, muttering "Dovetail me, will they? the Injine savages if ther's law in Illinoy, I'll have him hanged!"

It is unnecessary to say that "dovetailing" is the process of mutually accommodating each other's legs followed by stage coach and onmibus passengers; but the term--certainly the first time I had ever heard it used in that sense--shocked and alarmed the modesty of the worthy Mrs. Peck of Illinoy.

Taken From Wild Life In The Rocky Mountains
The MacMillan Company, New York, copyright 1916


American Cowboy Lingo  Jerry England's home page

Cowboy Com, Cowboy Heritage, History & Heroes  (Cowboy Handbook, possibly a book to buy?)

Cowboy Encyclopedia  Another book to buy?

Cowboys Excellent content. Check out those "Trail Rides."

Cowpokin' Fun  Just fun stuff from an old cowgirl

History Buff's Home Page  Good stuff, devoted to press coverage in American history

Home of The Silver Screen Cowboys "Silver Screen Legends" Those interested in Sedona movie locations might want to check this out.

National Cowboy Hall of Fame, The  It looks to be a neat place to visit in Oklahoma City, OK. It has an Internet virtual tour that keeps one around. It listed results of their voting for five all time favorite Westerns. They are: 1. Tombstone; 2. Dances With Wolves; 3. The Searchers; 4. High Noon; and 5. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.

Old West History Articles I wish I could find more of these.

Overland Trail: The Concord  Everything you might want to know about the Concord Stage travel and more.  This is where I found the article "Riding in a Stage Coach."

Prescott Frontier Days, the World's Oldest Rodeo June 29-July 7  Cowboys up close and personal!

TV Westerns  Lots of interesting information, mostly topics from the fifties.

Yanky Heaven's Western Americana  A personal web site apparently, with huge quantities and varieties of information