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Introduction<br />In All The Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy reflects the life of a “Cowboy” through his character John Grady. John Grady loved the ranch life as do many cowboys and did not want his mother to sell their family ranch. Grady and his bud Rawlins found another life on a ranch in Mexico.<br />
What is a Cowboy?<br />According to Merriam Webster, A cowboy is one who tends cattle or horses and are strong, independent individuals.<br />How does society perceive a cowboy?<br /><ul><li>Many people see a cowboy based on what they have seen in the movies and read in books, but should that define what a cowboy really is? A number of historical gunslingers, actors, and lawmen have been given the title “Cowboy”.</li></li></ul><li>Cowboy or Not?<br />John Chisum<br />A wealthy cattle baron who<br /> settled in NM<br />Johnny Ringo<br />Outlaw, known as the deadliest pistolier. <br />John Wayne<br />(Popular Hollywood character) Ranch operator and gunman.<br />Wyatt Earp<br />Law man, U.S Marshal<br />
John Grady<br /><ul><li> John Grady shows his love of ranch work and true desire of being a working man.
He did not want to see his family ranch be sold, so he took off to Mexico to find work. Although Grady was an American, he was fluent in Spanish and the Mexican men wanted to know all about the Northern country.</li></li></ul><li>Cowboy Life<br />In All the Pretty Horses John Grady shows a deep love for his work as a cowboy. This trait is perhaps the most important of all to living the cowboy life. <br />“This is how it was with the old waddies, aint it?”<br />“Yeah.”<br />“How long do you think you’d like to stay here?”<br />“About a hundred years. Go to sleep.” (p.96)<br />John Grady and Rawlins talk before bed after finding work in Mexico<br />
Cowboy Life cont…<br />“Reckless and tireless, untamable as a prairie chicken, brave as proudest knight in storied tourney, the Cowboy is the dauntless hero of new chivalry, even more strange and romantic than that of the middle ages.”<br />“In speaking to a comrade he calls him waddy; when talking of one he refers to him as puncher”<br />N. K. Griggs <br />
A cowboy’s horse<br />“It was a time, when, as they used to say, “a man afoot is no man a’tall.” The cowboy’s favorite was the Quarter Horse, and he called them all “Steeldusts,” after the great stallion whose racing triumphs were known throughout cow country.”<br />"They Rode Good Horses: The First Fifty Years of the American Quarter Horse Association" <br />
To be a cowboy you have to have a true desire to want to be close to nature and to animals<br />It is most important to have a strong bond between a man and his horse.<br />When Grady first arrives on the ranch in Mexico, he and Rawlins help herd some cattle back to the ranch. <br />Being a cattleman is a full days work. Being horse back for 10-12 hours in a day takes a toll on you and your horses body.<br />Your horse relies on you to take care of them and they will do the same for you.<br />A Cowboy always see’s to his horses needs first. Fed, watered, and bedded down. Then he will tend to his own needs.<br />
Cowboy Tools & Attire<br />One of the biggest factors giving John Grady’s character a sense of authenticity as a cowboy in All the Pretty Horses was his use of real, working cowboy tools and clothing. Some specialized, less well known items are mentioned in the book from time to time.<br />
Hobbles are mentioned in the book more than once. Hobbles are leather, rope or chain cuffs which are placed around the lower legs of horses while they are turned out to limit there ability to wander off while grazing. <br />Hobbles can be very useful to a cowboy needing to let his horse feed while camping in the backcountry. <br /> Other types of hobbles can also be used during training as restraints or in teaching a horse to “give” or yield to pressure. <br />Photo from craigcameron.com. <br />
John Grady and Rawlins use a hackamore during there work with horses. Hackamores are frequently used by cowboys on young horses that are not ready for a bit. Hackamores apply pressure to the nose and face but are easier on the young horses mouths. <br />The bosal (bosalea in spanish) as mentioned in All the Pretty Horses is typically the noseband region of the hackamore and is usually constructed of rawhide. <br />Photo from horsearoundtack.com<br />
Other common tools and attire<br />Knife-used for common chores, hunting and eating. (Your knife should be sharp enough to cut through a rope).<br />Boots-protect lower legs, smooth bottoms slip in and out of saddle stirrups easily, and heel keeps the foot from slipping all the way through stirrup to keep from getting hung up. <br />Chaps- (long) Protect the legs while riding<br />Chinks- (short knee length) also serve as leg protection. Cowboys used as preferred. <br />
tools and attire continued…<br />Wild Rag- bandana used for warmth, sun protection, to wipe sweat, tourniquet for wounds, can even be used to lead a horse when no lead rope is available. <br />Another common use for a wild rag is the sacking out of a horse. This is a method of desensitizing a horse by rubbing it with a soft, loose object in order to calm when being touched. The item is also shaken around the horses body to desensitize them to the noises and movements. <br />"No such thing as a mean colt." John Grady floats a gunnysack over the horse's face and rubs the sack over it, all the while talking to the horse. <br />Spurs- used by rider to initiate movement in horses while mounted. <br />Rope- (lariat or spanishreata) is used for catching livestock. <br />Mecate-used with a hackamore and bosal, traditional Spanish reins for controlling a horses movements.<br />
Perhaps one the most defining features of a cowboy’s outfit is his hat.<br />Cowboy hats come in all shapes and sizes that can vary depending on the region a cowboy is from. <br />Hats provide shade, warmth, and protection from rain and can be used by cowboys in many different creative ways.<br />Vintage poster from stetson.com<br />“By late afternoon the horses were stumbling. They watered them out of their hats and drank the other canteen dry themselves and mounted again and rode. on” (p. 87)<br />
Anatomy of a western saddle<br />Picture from cochilseleather.com<br />
A cowboy’s work<br />-Gathering, feeding, and doctoring of live stock.<br />-Riding fence- making repairs and checking for strays.<br />-Range riding-capturing any unbranded calves for branding.<br />-De-worming –treating for parasites in livestock<br />-Roundup- gathering of cattle for sale and any branding that needs to be done.<br />-Watering- keeping up with available water sources for cattle.<br />-Horse training-starting of colts and training for stock work.<br />-Equipment maintenance – leatherwork and upkeep of ones own tools and equipment. <br />
The Cowboy Code<br />1. Live each day with courage<br />2. Take pride in your work<br />3. Always finish what you start<br />4. Do what has to be done<br />5. Be tough, but fair<br />6. When you make a promise, keep it<br />7. Ride for the brand<br />8. Talk less and say more<br />9. Remember that some things aren't for sale<br />10. Know where to draw the line<br />From Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn From the Code of The West<br />
THE LEGEND<br />The old man sat quietly in the corner of the bar. As the young men talked of exploits they had, <br />Of rivers they'd crossed and wells gone dry,<br /> And good days fewer than bad. They yipped and howled about their lives as cowboys on the range And slapped each other on the back,<br /> Out-telling one another with stories of their fame, Of tall tales there was no lack. The old man, tired of listening, rose to take his leave, <br />When one young brag eyed him as he passed, He tipped his hat in salute for he knew what he had seen, <br />A legend in this time that would not last: He rangered down in Texas, drove cattle to the north, Wagon bossed a train across the Great Divide, <br />He brought law to the west, bucked all that nature gave,<br /> And in the hearts of cowboys never died. The young man raised his glass as he stood up from his chair, "Here's to all who came before, may they live forever in our minds, They're the best that ever were, 'Cause good cowboys are mighty hard to find.”<br />-Norman Edward Rourke<br />
Works Cited<br />Craig Cameron Complete Horsemanship From Beginning to Winning. Web. 11 Sept. 2011. <http://www.craigcameron.com>.<br />Hats, Boots, Apparel, Eyeware, Fragrance - Stetson Official Site - Home. Web. 11 Sept. 2011. <http://stetson.com>.<br />Hedgpeth, Don. They Rode Good Horses: the First Fifty Years of the American Quarter Horse Association. Amarillo, TX: American Quarter Horse Association, 1990. Print.<br />HorseAround Tack Home. Web. 11 Sept. 2011. <http://horsearoundtack.com>.<br />McCarthy, Cormac. All the Pretty Horses. New York: Knopf, 2009. Print<br />
Owen, James P., David R. Stoecklein, and Brigitte Leblanc. Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West. Ketchum, ID: Stoecklein & Photography, 2004. Print.<br />Pettit, Michael. Riding for the Brand: 150 Years of Cowden Ranching : Being an Account of the Adventures and Growth in Texas and New Mexico of the Cowden Land & Cattle Company. Norman: University of Oklahoma, 2006. Print.<br />Ward, Fay E. The Cowboy at Work: All about His Job and How He Does It. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2003. Print.<br />Western Leather Gun Holsters, Western Gun Leather, Gun Holsters and Leather Goods. Web. 11 Sept. 2011. <http://www.cochiseleather.com>.<br />Wyman Meinzer and Henry Chappell. Under One Fence The Waggoner Ranch Legacy<br /> Badlands Design and Production, 2010. Print<br />