Riding With Styles
I met Sam Styles a few years ago at the annual Black Joy Parade. Little did I know a Portrait of a Black Cowboy on Telegraph Avenue would give way to the opportunity to watch a man share his passion with others so freely. Sam Styles has been in love with horses since he first saw the annual Black Cowboy Parade marching through the streets of Oakland California. From the day he saw people that look like him move with a grace and confidence that he had never seen before and he was moved to follow suit. Fast forward years later and I had some of the same feelings as I witness him composed calmly during a parade in downtown Oakland. I was invited to come to his ranch and learn what it is like to be a Black Cowboy in America. Sam not only rides for his own benefit but welcomes any and all youth to come learn horsemanship. If you step foot on his ranch you instantly feel as if you are apart of a family. I learned that Cowboys are given nicknames upon learning how to take care of the horses. There is Cowboy Styles, the leader of the Horses with Styles crew, Cowgirl haze, young but can command a horse like it’s her second nature, and Cowboy Chill, who is always composed and acts as an older brother to many of the young men and women who set foot on the ranch. These three are inseparable and can always be found at the ranch. They all tend to their horses and have built a bond with them. These Cowboys and Cowgirls don’t just ride their horses but they take care of them because they are apart of the family as well. I learned how each horse had their own personality and likes and dislikes. On Sundays you can catch Styles, Haze, or Chill giving the horses a bath that entails brushing from head to toe along with making sure their hooves are clean of unnecessary dirt. The act of horsemanship is exemplified with the Horses With Styles crew along with what it looks like to have passion connect different people.