I have just been watching an old black and white movie called ‘Red River’ starring John Wayne. The story is par for the course, but obviously there are lots of cowboys filmed riding working horses herding beef.
The horses look to be about 15 hands and they are very active, with sliding stops and all that business.
Now in real life did those guys really gallop up and slide stop dead on the spot?
In my opinion most of the actor/riders would not pass a modern Western dressage/ riding test. The horse’s noses are up in the air and they are reacting against some pretty heavy handed bits by shaking their heads. There is no subtleness in the way of riding of the actors.
Now, was this the way things really were or was it the way some film director wanted to display the scene?
A young Clint Eastwood was a Western rider who’s style of riding I would have loved to follow. He sits tall, his hands are quiet and he gallops sitting upright and firm in the saddle.
Is he or was he an exception to the rule?
How does the standard of the modern day cowboy riding compare?