New Book Explores the History and Culture of Modern Vaquero Horsemanship

Fine Horses and Fair-Minded Riders: Modern Vaquero Horsemanship will be published as part of the Purdue University Press New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond series on April 15, 2024. Published in collaboration with Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond expands our knowledge of the interrelationships between people, animals, and their environment.

About the Book

Fine Horses and Fair-Minded Riders: Modern Vaquero Horsemanship documents the learning and practice of Vaquero horsemanship. What we currently call “horse whispering” has roots in a form of western horsemanship that traveled from Europe to Mexico and the United States and was then transformed by Native Americans and working cowboys into Vaquero horsemanship, which has survived as a vibrant part of horse culture. 

Influenced by New Literacies scholarship and employing a sociocultural theoretical framework, Ávila explores self-directed learning journeys; the flexibility of apprentice and expert positions; the influence of consumer culture; the philosophy and significance of the cultural roots of Vaquero horsemanship; the role of technology; and what the future of this continually evolving horsemanship might include. At the heart of this volume are personal stories and firsthand accounts from those who have studied modern Vaquero horsemanship, which can help to create exceptional and powerful bonds between horses and humans.

If you’d like to know more, check out “A Lived Literacy: A Q & A with author JuliAnna Ávila”.

About the Author

JuliAnna Ávila is an associate professor in the English Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in education in language, literacy, and sociocultural studies. In addition to five edited and coedited collections, she has published in Irish Educational StudiesJournal of Adolescent & Adult LiteracyTeaching EducationEnglish JournalLiteracyTheory Into Practice, and Pedagogies. She is the recipient of the American Educational Research Association Steve Cahir Award for Research on Writing, the Edward B. Fry Book Award, and the Divergent Publication Award for Excellence in Literacy in a Digital Age Research.

Advanced Praise

Fine Horses and Fair-Minded Riders is a love song to horses, those who ride them, and truly learners everywhere.” —Judith Dunkerly, Associate Professor of Literacy, Language, and Culture, Old Dominion University

“For the time I spent with Fine Horses and Fair-Minded Riders: Modern Vaquero Horsemanship, I gained insight and a sense of the peacefulness of living with horses. Avila’s unique book on horsemanship has much to teach humankind about living in a time of duress, short tempers, and upheavals the world over.” —Donna E Alvermann, Omer Clyde and Elizabeth Parr Aderhold Professor in Education Emeritus, University of Georgia

Read the Book

You can receive a 30% discount on Fine Horses and Fair-Minded Riders: Modern Vaquero Horsemanship and any other Purdue University Press book by ordering directly from our website and using the code PURDUE30 at checkout. Our books are also available through your favorite hometown bookstore, preferred online retailer, or your local library.

Note for Media and Book Reviewers

A digital review copy of this book is available via Edelweiss for librarians, book review bloggers, and journalists. Additional questions about this book may be directed to sales and marketing manager Bryan Shaffer.

About Purdue University Press

Founded in 1960, Purdue University Press is dedicated to the dissemination of scholarly and professional information. We publish books in several key subject areas, including Purdue and Indiana history, aeronautics/astronautics, the human-animal bond, Central European studies, Jewish studies, and other select disciplines.

Learn more about Purdue University Press at