California Riding Magazine • August, 2013

Cowboy Culture Honored
Agoura Hills recognizes local horsemen and the cowboy way of life.

Agoura Hills Mayor Denis Weber recognized the "Day-of-the-Horse" by presenting well-known long time horse activist and ETI Corral 36 member Ruth Gerson, horseman and saddlemaker Dave Thornbury and local businessman/horseman Buck Wicall with a proclamation from the City of Agoura Hills.  

"This is an honor for the entire horse community as the proclamation recognizes the importance and contributions of horses to our communities and our economy," explains Don Wallace, Corral 36's legislative director.

Speaking on behalf of many like-spirited individuals, recipient Ruth Gerson made the following acceptance speech during the
July 10 presentation.

"Cowboys and cowgirls are a major factor in remembering how America was developed. Their individualism is probably their most outstanding characteristic that contributes to the Cowboy Culture. They have a chosen lifestyle where the chief rewards are priceless—being on a horse and in open country. They have pride in who and what they are, confidence in their identities, mainly following traditions, and evolving to preserve their historic ways while also embracing modern life to a degree.

"Many a working cowboy knows how sage smells early on a cool morning, knows the sound of a rope as it circles towards a steer, feels the tension when his skittish colt is about to buck, and longs for the bedroll unrolled on the ground after a long day in the saddle.

"The cowboy code of ethics is a role model for people and corporations—live each day with courage, finish what you start, take pride in your work, do what has to be done, ride for the brand, keep your promises, and remember that some things are not for sale.

"Some of today's cowboys might use cell phones, websites and pay fortunes for great horses; and they may market their training clinics and fly to rodeos around the country to compete in events that began on ranches and still are a way of life there. But there are many that don't change from the old ways—they don't own a necktie or a suit or have e-mail; and some only travel to a stock show or a stock auction. Even today they live on ranches far from towns and gather with other cowboys and their families just for brandings, rodeos and cattle drives. Ranch kids grow up with a deep appreciation for nature and animals.
"The cowgirls are a breed to be reckoned with also. Many own and run ranches with thousands of cows, train colts, rope and doctor cattle, take care of the children and the financial books, and ride in the rodeos. Some do it alone, and some beside their cowboy.

"The old ranches that were kept intact are today some of our treasured open spaces and parklands; and some are subdivisions. As you look at our local hills you can see small trails going across the face of the hills that show where the cattle traveled in the old days.

"Dave and Buck and I are here tonight to humbly represent the undying spirit of the American cowboy, and many in the audience are representatives also; "And we are all proud to be a part of the historic American Cowboy Culture."

Thanks to Stephanie Abronson for this submission and for the photos.