An open letter to three urban cowboys:

Dear “Three guys in beanies and parkas riding horses on the southeast corner of Imperial and Broadway in South LA at 7:45 pm”,

I was heading home, trying to get there in time for dinner, when I saw you in the shadows, riding tall in the saddle. I thought I was hallucinating. No: you were sitting there on your horses; your horses were standing still, waiting for your next command.

One of you looked around, and for a moment I imagined you on a desert plateau, looking out for rustlers or injuns or little doggies.

Thank you for a very surreal moment in the city.

Yours truly,

A Reverse Cowgirl

11 thoughts on “An open letter to three urban cowboys:”

  1. You should drive through the so-called “Equestrian Area” of Burbank cresting Riverside Drive sometime. Men and women astride horses suddenly appear in crosswalks and the bike lanes. Very odd.

  2. Indeed, while growing up in Burbank, it was not uncommon to see horses on the street. And not just in what is now the Equestrian Area (ie Riverside Dr). They’re still there, but far fewer, and almost exclusively down by the River.

    But South LA? In beanies and parkas? That I would like to see.

  3. In Gardena, where we have a warehouse in a light industrial area, –and tucked away down an alley, behind a long factory driveway, unobstrusive and so ramshackle and low- key and out of context that your mind can’t believe your eyes — is a large stable housing some of the most gorgeous, pampered horses I have ever seen. The owners ride at dusk, after work. Their pickups are amazing works of art in themselves. Yet another fascinating ‘secret’ aspect of LA life.

  4. I think the term “vaqueros urbanos” would be more appopriate for those gentlemen, at least on imperial. I would guess they used the compton creek horse trail, when I was working inthe creek there was alot of horsey action. I also saw a guy parking a horse down an apartment driveway on Wilmington, we had bet the stable was a bunck of old baby cribs tied to a chevy.

    I just went on a tour of the Pico rivera stables and rodeo, cool place.

  5. So funny you should post this … saw a gang of latinos on horses at night in Long Beach, on the freeway ramp. Seemed bizarre. That doesn’t scare the horses?

  6. You gotta love the randomness that you encounter in LA. I grew up in West Covina, next door to Walnut. The tract homes there were built with equestrian trails surrounding them. The last time I saw a horse on those trails was probably around ’02. People actually stabled their horses on their property back in the day.

    So, with the exception of Burbank, when I see people riding horses, it throws me. I was in Inglewood visiting a friend one night and saw 8 black guys on horses over near the Ralphs. I almost hit the car in front of me for staring. My friend was like, “Oh yeah, they’re always around.” I’m like, “You’ve lived here for 8 months, actually in LA for a total of 2 of those months and you’re trying to act nonchalant. Please.”

  7. I lived in Walnut from 97-06 and while the trails weren’t full of horses I did see them often. Walnut has a good size park next the high school which contains an exercise area/ring for the locals to use. A horse park but no dog park and sadly those open yards with a horse tied up in the back became more rare with each year.

    I’ve seen horses in Compton many times too.

  8. My mom used to live in La puente and we would see a ton of folks on horses riding down the street, and the area was totally urban. My wife went to Mountain View HS in El Monte and says that kids were picked up on horseback from school numerous times. I also had a girlfriend who lived agains the SG river in El Monte and we fooled around the horse stables and glued up cholos a lot back in 94.

    I dunno, I love the whole urban vaquero scene. Especially as the paisanos grew huevos and began confronting the cholos with the whole “I’ll mess you up with my bullwhip and ostrich skin boots” steez which totally threw the eastside cultural landscape upside down. Next thing you know cholos are jocking chalino jr. and you gotta be careful about guys you used to call mojados pulling out the cuernos de chivos on ya. anyone remember when chalino jr. died and they attacked his hearse in Southgate?

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