Cows and horses

When whites came to Texas in the early 19th century, thousands of Spanish cattle roamed wild. Some were probably the early Texas longhorns. Longhorns were the result of crossing Anglo and Spanish stock. The Mexican rebellion caused many whites to abandon their ranches and their herds scattered. This is how the cows got mixed. After Mexican independence was won, white ranchers went back and tried to rebuild their herds. There had also been British longhorn cattle that had been brought to the U.S. at various times, and some in Texas could have been those. There were other British breeds mixed in too.
Longhorns could be any color, but pale red ,yellow, and dun were the most common. It was used to ranging a long ways for food and water. It had very hard hoofs that stood up to a long drive. They gained weight on the way and were less likely to scatter. A few were always the instinctive leaders and some outfits felt the leaders were so valuable in leading the herd they never sold them. The leaders could go farther without water and were tougher. Longhorn hides were more valuble than other cowhides. They were also immune to tick fever that killed other breeds.
Once they got to market many were sold to feed lot operators. Others went to beef contracts with Indian agencies. Many also supplied new ranches opening up all over the northern plains. They fattened up good on grass but not on corn, and corn fed cows were bringing the most money. So they began cross-breeding the longhorn with Herefords and other breeds to get a cow with the hardiness of the longhorn but the diet of the Herefords. By the mid-1880s, the longhorn as a pure breed, began to disappear.
Mustangs were small horses that averaged about 14 hands high and weighed about 900 pounds. They descended from Spanish horses brought by the conquistadors. They are quick, active, and spirited. There were several horse ranches. Thomas A. Dwyer established a horse and mule ranch in 1847, where he crossbred mustang mares and blooded stallions and jacks. Wild herds frequently had to be driven off to keep them from stampeding cattle. The mustang had a good sense of direction and was always alert to signs of danger. They were hard to break but once broken were adaptable and versatile. They were used by the Pony Express, Texas Rangers, and the U.S. Cavalry. After the 1860s many were driven north with the cattle because they had become a hot commodity too. The horses were excellent around cattle and were often depended on to round-up a herd stampeding after dark. Others were used to win countless races. By the 1880s, the mustangs had also started to disappear, in the crossbreeding with Morgans and other types.

-Copyright 2000 by Beth Gibson