CD015 Mounted Mexican Vaquero
Turning in the saddle to survey the herd this proud vaquero is dressed in typical ‘Mexican’ style with the short, embroidered jacket and the close-fitting and studded trousers (copied from Napoleonic Cavalry overalls). On his head he wears a large sombrero and around his neck a colourful red bandanna.
Behind him, on his black & white ‘Pinto’, rests a folded native blanket and around his waist a gunbelt and a holstered a .44 Navy Colt pistol.
The Spanish word ‘Vaquero’ or the Portuguese ‘Vaqueiro’ is literally translated as a ‘horse-mounted livestock herder’ whose roots go all the way back to the Iberian Peninsula and then some time later to the one-time Spanish colony of Mexico. The Vaquero with his skills and practical knowledge of handling and herding cattle was to become the foundation for the North American cowboy.
By the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the great Cattle Drives many experienced ‘vaqueros’ found their services in high demand with the top trail bosses putting together teams of cowboys to drive the huge herds of Texas ‘Longhorns’ all the way up to the railheads in Kansas and beyond.