Along with a trail of dust, piles of empty bottles, and the inevitable litany of unbelievable tales, there is yet another thing that follows cowboys wherever they go. I speak here of the song, and in particular, songs about horses and riding. From the earliest days of the American cowboy, history has been recorded, nerves have been calmed, and women have been wooed with a ballad of the trail, to the point that a song is perceived to be as much a part of western life as anything else. The cowboy’s one consistent companion, the horse, gets much of the lyrical press, and probably has had as many songs sung to them over a lonely campfire as any senorita has in town.
It’s only fair with as many modern songs talk about the singer’s “ride” with engines and tailgates and headlights and such, that we pay tribute to the “rides” of the trail, and all the accouterments that adorn them. Here are some great songs about, of all things, horse tack!
Back In The Saddle (Gene Autry)
From one of America’s first famous singing cowboys came one of the all-time classic cowboy songs. Simple in structure, and easily singable, Autry described the lonely, but fulfilling nature of trail life. This is easily the most iconic song about horses, and put this piece of tack into household vocabulary all across the country!
I’ve Got Spurs That Jingle Jangle Jingle (Riders In The Sky)
This is another Autry song, but covered in this version by one of the greatest western singing groups of all time – Riders In The Sky. Anyone who has spent much time around riders quickly becomes accustomed to the most familiar song of the rancher, played on their heels. There are even plenty of folks who claim their horses recognize them unseen, just from the distinct sound of their spurs. I’m skeptical on that one, but that doesn’t stop me from loving this classic.
No Reins (Rascal Flatts)
From the modern country department, here is an example of how the terminology of traditional western music affects the genre currently. Western music has gone through substantial change to get to today’s style, but some things never change, as this song well demonstrates. The metaphor of giving a horse its head, and going with the freedom of unbridled freedom simply will never get old.
Horseshoe (Mike McClure Band)
For fans of Red Dirt, this song by Oklahoma’s own Mike McClure reflects the balance between the life and travails of a modern-day cowboy with the same classic ideals that cowfolk to their horses.
Between The Stirrup And The Ground (Ian Siegal)
Even the blue get in on the fun of singing about horse tack, and this British wailer just further proves the universality of the concept. Hey, though, not every rider who loves horses and gear dresses like me!
Lasso (The Band Perry)
Things wind up with a little more country music, with a western piece that everyone refers to at some point or another. Even the most citified folk knows what it means to lasso something-or-other, to the point that it has become a common reference to reeling in a potential love.
Finally, because I know it’s been rolling around in your brain this entire time, I double-dip on the first piece of gear and offer you… Aerosmith: