We have the oldest ranching story in the United States.
It begins almost 500 years ago when the earliest Spanish explorers and seven Andalusia cattle arrived on Florida’s sandy shores. Ponce De Leon was their leader, and the year was 1521. Most people believe these cattle are the first domesticated cattle in the United States. They also believe they are the original ancestors of the hearty scrub cattle we still have in Florida today.
Later Spanish settlers brought more herds of cattle with them. As they moved throughout the state many of the cattle strayed and were left behind. The native Seminole tribe domesticated and bred some of this cattle marking the beginning of cattle ranching in America. The remaining cattle were left to roam freely and multiply. They became the herds of the early family ranchers who came to Florida as pioneer settlers in the mid 1800’s. At first ranching was a means of survival for the settlers. Over time it became a livelihood. Ranching has existed in Florida ever since.
This is our heritage, the heritage of the Florida Cattle Ranchers. And, those strong, persevering and tenacious Seminoles and early settlers are our ancestors. We are proud to call them our forefathers and to carry on their legacy today for our families, the citizens of our magnificent state, and future generations to come.
The Cowboy Prayer
““May your horse never stumble, your cinch never break, your belly never grumble, your heart never ache.””