VAQUERO SERIES REVIEW
Contemporary Cowboy and stock-horse culture was shaped hundreds of year ago, predominantly by the Spanish. As their influence spread throughout the West, a colorful tapestry of traditions evolved that are still vibrant today. Husband and wife filmmakers Susan Jensen and Paul Singer are racing the historical roots of the cowboy and revealing the connection between regional cowboy cultures in the Vaquero Series of high definition DVDs.
The first DVD in the series, Tapadero features horsemen from California who train bridle horses and work cattle using the ways of the Californio Vaquero. Then came The Remuda, about the great Basin buckaroos: Holo Holo Paniolo, connection the vaquero to Hawaiian cowboys; Houlihan, featuring the Northern Range Cowboys; Los Primeros, discussing the original vaqueros; Tierra Encantado, about New Mexican cowboys and Mula, tracing the influence of mules on the Old Spanish Trail.
The eighth DVD in the series is titled Texas Cowpuncher. It is the first of two DVDs that will chronicle the influences of Mexico, California and the Deep South on some of the most noted ranches in the West, including the Matador, Pitchfork and XIT.
The DVD also includes a segment in which Texas Cowpuncher Buster McLaury and Nevada Buckaroo and Poet Waddie Mitchell debate their particular styles of cowboying. The cowboys from the different regions poke fun at each other and argue about why their ways are better, but in in the end they have a mutual respect for each other,” says Jensen.
Originally from New York, Jensen and Singer both grew up with an interest in horses, cowboys and the West. They ran a successful advertising agency for many years before moving to Santa Barbara, California and getting horses of their own.
Jensen and Singer did all the filming and production with the occasional help of assistants. The project has taken them to Spain, Mexico, and Hawaii and throughout the West. The couple is currently editing the second part of Texas Cowpuncher, which will be available later this year.
A comprehensive documentary on how the American cowboy evolved, the DVD collection is being incorporated in school curricula and is popular not only in the United States, but also in Europe and South America. Jensen and Singer do a wonderful job of taking audiences off the highway and onto remote ranches, bringing out the personalities of the cowboys and showing that the cowboy spirit and family values are still thriving – just not always where the general public can see them.
—Jennifer Denison, March 2012 Western Horseman Magazine