On Tuesday, October 5th at 1PM, UL's public radio station KRVS will present 'Horse Play,' exploring the long traditions of Cajun and Creole ranching, which may have been the first in the country.

From professional sports to community rituals, the numerous equine practices in Acadiana suggest a long history and close familiarity between Cajuns and Creoles and the horses they raise.

Ranching in south Louisiana dates back more than 250 years, pre-dating the arrival of the Acadians, and the romanticism of the wild, wild, west. Given the inherent ethos of Cajun and Creole culture, it was just a matter of time before equine culture went beyond ranch work, and themes of horses and mules made its way into their music. The need to act crazy and pass a good time, birthed past-times like bush-track racing, trail rides, sulky racing, jousting-like competitions, and many other recreational activities requiring heightened horsemanship skills.

In this one-hour radio show we look at the historical context with the help of Dr. Ray Brassieur to answer, 'What's with the horse-thing?' where we find that Louisiana Creoles may have been the first American cowboys. Then, we hear bush-track stories from three-time Kentucky Derby winner and Catahoula native Calvin Borel. We hang out with the courir on their annual Elton Mardi Gras run, and trot over to the Le Tounoi in Ville Platte. Eighty-one year old Orelia and Laurence Bellows talk about their long Creole history with trail rides, and share horse-stories of their youth. Through Creole musician and rancher Geno Delafose we introduce the many lyrics in Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco tunes that talk about, and some literally sound like, horses and mules.

This radio documentary was funded in part by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts through its Decentralized Arts Fund administered through the Acadiana Center for the Arts, and the support from UL Cinematic Arts Workshop.

A podcast will be available after broadcast.

Producer and Writer: Conni Castille
Technical Production: Allison Bohl
Music Archivist: Kristi Guillory

Field Assistants: Kristie Cornell, Rachel Nedervald, Brian Richard

Special thanks to John Broussard, Ray Brassieur, and Nick Spitzer.


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