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"cavvy yard"?

From: Ed

Hi Jessica, thanks for answering so many questions. I've been a subscriber for two years and it amazes me how many different subjects you know about. Here's one that I hope you know more about than I do! Have you ever heard the term "cavvy yard" or "cavy yard" or maybe "cavyard"? My Great-grandaddy was a cowboy, and he used to tell all kinds of stories about the old days. My Granddaddy told me a lot of those stories that he had heard, and he said that Great-grandaddy always called his own horses his "cavvy yard", so my Grandaddy did the same. He had mostly pinto horses if that makes any difference. My Grandaddy never knew exactly what it meant. I can't tell you why, but I just really want to know this. I never knew my Great-grandaddy, but I heard a lot of stories. But I wish somebody had asked Great-grandaddy what a "cavvy yard" or "cavyard" was! It seems to me that "cav" would have to have something to do with the cavalry, which would make sense because Great-grandaddy was a young man just at the turn of the century.

Sorry if this is sort of long and rambly. I just would really like to know what a "cavvy yard" is! Even if you can't answer, I am thankful that you answer so many questions for all of us.

Sincerely, Ed

Hi Ed! You're in luck, I do happen to know the answer to this question. A lot of old-time cowboys would use the term "cavvy" or "cavvy yard" to describe their horse-herd or remuda. It's an old term, from the Spanish, "cavallada" -- which means "herd of horses."

You were on the right track with "cavalry" -- the root of both words is the same: "caval" or "cavallo", "caballo": horse.

Your great-grandfather must have had an interesting life! If you ever have time to do it, I hope you write down some of the stories that you remember. I'll bet that your own children would like to hear them someday.


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