If you watch a cowboy at work today, forget that it’s 2018, and skip back in time to catch a glimpse of a working cowboy in the 1870s, they would look surprisingly similar. They would be doing basically the same cattle management tasks, be dressed in similar clothing, have similar core skills, and be thriving with the same horsemanship abilities that have made cowboying one of the most enduring careers for centuries.
In the late 1800s, a German high school mathematics instructor and amateur horse trainer, Wilhelm von Osten, had a horse that he claimed was able to perform arithmetic and other intellectual tasks. Clever Hans, an Orlov Trotter, was said to have been taught to add, subtract, multiply, divide, work with fractions, tell time, spell, read, and understand German. Questions were asked orally and in writing, and the horse answered by tapping his foot.